Mayor Brian Bowman wants city hall to consider ending its ties with the Winnipeg Football Club and the public agency that owns its stadium.
Bowman brought a motion to the executive policy committee Tuesday, calling on the administration to review all agreements with the CFL team and Triple B Stadium Inc.
The mayor told reporters he doesn’t believe city hall should have a representative on the WFC board, adding it doesn’t have a similar arrangement with either the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets or the Winnipeg Goldeyes baseball team.
He also wants to distance city property taxpayers from any liabilities to IG Field.
"I’m not sure having political appointments on the board of a professional sports team makes sense at this stage," Bowman said. "If we can mitigate the financial risks of taxpayers going forward, that’s something I’d like to look at."
The City of Winnipeg is one of three shareholders of Triple B Stadium Inc., along with the Winnipeg Football Club and University of Manitoba.
Bowman cited the provincial auditor general’s investigation of the stadium deal, and the fact the provincial government had written off a $200-million loan related to it.
EPC unanimously supported the proposal, directing the administration to prepare a report in 120 days reviewing all current agreements with the team and Triple B; and identifying steps to terminate representations with both and "steps necessary to potentially divest the City of Winnipeg of its membership interest in Triple B."
EPC approved a request from the Assiniboine Park Conservancy for a $3-million increase in its loan guarantee (up to $20 million), and for a three-year extension to the expiration date, which would push the deadline to the end of 2023.
The conservancy, a public trust responsible for the maintenance and operations of the Assiniboine park and zoo, said the change is needed to facilitate its Diversity Gardens project, which has climbed in price to $98 million.
An administrative report to EPC noted while the conservancy has a history of following through on its financial commitments, the loan guarantee would make the city liable if the agency defaults on its loans.
Pressure on city hall to lower the residential speed limit to 30 km/h continues.
Nine individuals were among the delegations Tuesday, asking EPC to drop the speed limit to make the streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
However, the issue wasn’t on the agenda. EPC was dealing with a bylaw that will maintain all current speed limits at their posted rate, in anticipation of the province ending its authority to set street speed limits.
Previously, road speeds were regulated by the Highway Traffic Board.
City staff have proposed maintaining all current speed limits as they were March 1 — with the exception of a stretch of Marion Street, which will be reduced to 50 km/h from 60 km/h. The new bylaw, once approved by city council, will take effect Sept. 1.
The clock is ticking on the former Public Safety Building and civic centre parkade.
EPC endorsed the awarding of a $6.8-million contract for the yearlong demolition of both structures, which will clear site for a major mixed-used development on the 2.4-acre site, now dubbed the Marketlands.
In keeping with the terms of the original land transfer to the city in the 1880s, the PSB section must be used for public services, while the parkade section will be developed with private-sector partners.
If approved by council, demolition is expected to begin in the fall.
EPC gave its endorsement to a move that will facilitate a major redevelopment of the exterior and ground floor of the office tower at 201 Portage Ave.
Councillors approved terminating a provision of a development agreement that required a covered walkway along the Main Street side of the city’s tallest building. The owner of the building, Harvard Developments, said no one uses the covered walkway and it’s blocking a major renovation of the tower’s ground floor.
— Aldo Santin
Aldo Santin is a veteran newspaper reporter who first carried a pen and notepad in 1978 and joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1986, where he has covered a variety of beats and specialty areas including education, aboriginal issues, urban and downtown development. Santin has been covering city hall since 2013.