December 17, 2018

Winnipeg
-15° C, A few clouds

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Mayoral candidates snipe over Portage & Main

Bowman dismisses Motkaluk's accusations about maintenance

The courtyard at the Bank of Montreal corner of Portage and Main is showing its age with surging concrete pavement and awkwardly patched cracks. 

181012 - Friday, October 12, 2018

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

The courtyard at the Bank of Montreal corner of Portage and Main is showing its age with surging concrete pavement and awkwardly patched cracks. 181012 - Friday, October 12, 2018

The underground concourse at Portage Avenue and Main Street was mostly quiet Saturday morning as rain fell across the city, aside from the barely audible drip-drop of water trickling through a small leak in the ceiling into a pair of buckets outside one of the businesses in Winnipeg Square.

While the leak was tiny and under control, the conversation about Portage and Main reached yet another head this weekend, as private landowners at the intersection revealed the dilapidated waterproofing membrane running above the concourse must be replaced, and that doing so would require the removal of all concrete and other structures at street-level.

A city-commissioned engineering report on the state of the underground concourse, the membrane, and other drainage infrastructure originally due Oct. 12 has yet to be released, leading mayoral candidate Jenny Motkaluk to accuse Mayor Brian Bowman of withholding information to influence voters.

“The mayor’s office is very clearly trying to withhold information from voters,” Motkaluk said Saturday.

Get the full story.
No credit card required. Cancel anytime.

Join free for 30 days

After that, pay as little as $0.99 per month for the best local news coverage in Manitoba.

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Join free for 30 days

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

The underground concourse at Portage Avenue and Main Street was mostly quiet Saturday morning as rain fell across the city, aside from the barely audible drip-drop of water trickling through a small leak in the ceiling into a pair of buckets outside one of the businesses in Winnipeg Square.

While the leak was tiny and under control, the conversation about Portage and Main reached yet another head this weekend, as private landowners at the intersection revealed the dilapidated waterproofing membrane running above the concourse must be replaced, and that doing so would require the removal of all concrete and other structures at street-level.

A city-commissioned engineering report on the state of the underground concourse, the membrane, and other drainage infrastructure originally due Oct. 12 has yet to be released, leading mayoral candidate Jenny Motkaluk to accuse Mayor Brian Bowman of withholding information to influence voters.

"The mayor’s office is very clearly trying to withhold information from voters," Motkaluk said Saturday.

The city’s corporate communications office says the final report is not yet complete, and that SMS Engineering Ltd., the contracted firm, is still studying the concourse. "The dates listed in the critical stages section of the (request for proposal) were targets based on the date the city had originally anticipated awarding the contract." The corporate communications office said it’s expected the final report will be presented to City Council in 2019.

When reached Saturday, Bowman called Motkaluk’s statement "baseless" and an example of what he called a string of personal attacks and "old-school" politics that he didn’t appreciate.

"This has become a common trend with candidate Motkaluk," Bowman said. "The reality is this technical report hasn’t been finalized nor has it been provided to my office."

Later in the day, when informed that Bowman had yet to receive a report, Motkaluk took a different stance, saying that the lack of clarity surrounding the report was an example of Bowman "trying to confuse and muddle the issues." Bowman dismissed this suggestion as well.

Preliminary engineering studies conducted by the owners of two properties at Portage and Main show conclusively that damage to the membrane is far more significant than first thought.

Preliminary engineering studies conducted by the owners of two properties at Portage and Main show conclusively that damage to the membrane is far more significant than first thought.

Bowman and Motkaluk reiterated the question of pedestrians crossing and the repair of the concourse and membrane were separate issues, and agreed the current infrastructure was in dire need of upgrades.

"I don’t believe there’s anybody who thinks we should allow our infrastructure to crumble," Motkaluk said. "I think all Winnipeggers would appreciate it if we could start prioritizing the infrastructure that needs to be repaired."

"All you need to do is go on a walk in the underground to see that the infrastructure has been neglected (for 40 years)," Bowman said. The SMS report is intended to give future city councillors a better idea of what’s broken, regardless of the pedestrian referendum, he added.

"Repairing the existing infrastructure does not necessarily mean that we have to allow pedestrians to cross that road," Motkaluk said. "(What it means is) there’s an opportunity to ask a better question about what we want our iconic intersection in Winnipeg to look like."

"It doesn’t have to include crossing at street level," she added, echoing the sentiments of Coun. Jeff Browaty — who opposes pedestrian access at the intersection — that new, more aesthetically pleasing barricades could be built.

Bowman said before dealing with replacement barricades, it’s important to see how Winnipeggers vote on Oct. 24.

"Step one is we need to hear from Winnipeggers before we get into theoreticals like that," Bowman said Saturday. "Ultimately the question of pedestrians will be decided by the plebiscite," continued the mayor, who reiterated that he’d honour the referendum regardless of the outcome.

With less than two weeks to go until the election, Motkaluk said her reasons for opposing the opening of the intersection to pedestrians remain the same as the day she launched her campaign.

"I believe Winnipeg has more important things to do. It isn’t our top priority and we have spent entirely too much time and effort and money thinking about it, arguing about it, talking about it, considering the majority of Winnipeggers oppose the idea," she said.

"Ultimately, Winnipeggers will decide the outcome," Bowman said.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us