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City delays hiring new CAO until after Oct. 22 civic vote

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 1/5/2014 (1207 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The October civic election is being given as the reason for postponing the hiring of a new chief administrative officer for the City of Winnipeg.

A spokeswoman for the city's hiring committee said it decided Thursday to postpone the recruitment process until after the Oct. 22 election.

Ross Eadie

Ross Eadie

Winnipeg has been without a permanent CAO since Phil Sheegl resigned Oct. 17, 2013, amid controversy.

Chief operating officer Deepak Joshi was appointed acting CAO on condition he not apply for the permanent position.

The spokeswoman said the nine-member committee believed "the time constraints of delivering a suitable candidate prior to the election" warranted postponing the process.

The announcement comes as a surprise to city hall observers because Mayor Sam Katz told council Wednesday the hiring committee had received more than 80 applicants for the vacant position and it expected to create a short list in coming weeks.

Photo radar needed at crosswalks: Eadie

A city councillor is unhappy with the Winnipeg Police Service's opposition to photo-radar cameras at pedestrian corridors.

Coun. Ross Eadie (Mynarski) said he remains convinced measures have to be taken to make pedestrian corridors safe for pedestrians.

"If we're not going to have cameras (at pedestrian corridors), then we better have more enforcement," Eadie said. "We've just been lucky there haven't been more fatalities."

A WPS report to the Winnipeg police board recommends no action be taken on Eadie's suggestion, citing a lack of pedestrian fatalities, the expense involved and the unwillingness of the provincial government to expand the use of photo radar cameras.

The report found only one pedestrian fatality at a pedestrian corridor -- on Henderson Highway in 2011.

"We don't measure the near-misses, and there are a lot of them," said Eadie, who is legally blind.

"I take my life into my hands every time I cross at a pedestrian corridor on Main Street because drivers are not obeying the rules. The residents in my ward want something done about it."

The report, which will be presented to the police board at its meeting today, says only one community in North America -- Washington, D.C . -- employs photo-radar cameras at crosswalks.

The D.C. cameras went into operation in November and the report says no conclusive data exist at this time to support a claim they are effective at improving pedestrian safety.


PSB, parkade advice for $275,000 urged

City hall wants to hire a consultant to study what to do with the Public Safety Building and the adjoining parkade.

An administrative report recommends $275,000 be allocated for the consultant, who will look at downtown market conditions and assess how other civic departments might use the Princess Street property.

Winnipeg police move into new headquarters on Smith Street later this year.

It's possible the city will move other civic departments into the PSB and the parkade will be demolished and the property sold.

The parkade was closed in August 2012 when found to be structurally unsound.

Police are moving out of the PSB because it was thought it would be cheaper to buy and renovate the old Canada Post building on Smith Street rather than reclad the exterior of the PSB. The exterior siding has been secured to the walls to prevent it from falling off.

The PSB property cannot be sold for development. The land was deeded to the city on the condition it be used for civic purposes and if not, ownership reverts to the descendants of the family who originally donated the property.

The report recommends council spend $150,000 to further secure and shore up both the parkade and the PSB.

The report, which will be presented to the downtown development committee Monday, presents several other options for both parcels of land, including:

-- Demolishing both structures and using the sites for downtown green space.

-- Putting the parkade property up for sale. The parkade would likely be demolished and the site redeveloped.


Wyatt, Havixbeck make light-rail move

Support is growing on council to upgrade the bus corridor to a light-rail rapid-transit system.

Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt was the first to promote the transit upgrade and now Coun. Paula Havixbeck said she thinks the city is ready for it.

Wyatt and Havixbeck moved a motion this week calling for the Southwest Transitway to be converted to a light-rail system. The motion will be referred to a council committee for consideration.

Wyatt and Havixbeck said the sprawling nature of Winnipeg and its population will support light rail.

While conceding light rail is more expensive than the bus corridor, Wyatt likened it to the city's decision's to build the Shoal Lake aqueduct 100 years ago and the Red River Floodway 50 years ago.

Wyatt said both were considered unnecessary, extravagant and wasteful when proposed, but today they are recognized as visionary initiatives vital to Winnipeg.

"We're at a crossroads as a city," Wyatt told reporters. "It's the debate of our generation, and I think we should make the decision now.

"If we build LRT, it will ensure the city will continue to grow and prosper and we can compete against other cities in this country that are doing the same thing."


Read more by Aldo Santin.


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