July 21, 2019

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It's all about debate... over cycling strategy

Ross Eadie (left) and cycling activist John Wilmot square off Monday.

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Ross Eadie (left) and cycling activist John Wilmot square off Monday.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/7/2015 (1467 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

IF you're a member of city council, you probably shouldn't make any dinner plans on Wednesday.

Opponents of Winnipeg's bike-and-pedestrian strategy intend to bring dozens of amendments to the 20-year plan to city hall Wednesday, when council gathers for the final meeting before the six-week summer break.

The July meeting is often the longest of the year, as councillors attempt to deal with as many reports as possible before council is prorogued. In 2009, for example, council sat until 10:30 p.m.

A lengthy meeting is possible, if not a certainty, as Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt intends to bring 15 or more amendments to the bike-and-pedestrian strategy four other councillors have panned for several weeks.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/7/2015 (1467 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

IF you're a member of city council, you probably shouldn't make any dinner plans on Wednesday.

Opponents of Winnipeg's bike-and-pedestrian strategy intend to bring dozens of amendments to the 20-year plan to city hall Wednesday, when council gathers for the final meeting before the six-week summer break.

The July meeting is often the longest of the year, as councillors attempt to deal with as many reports as possible before council is prorogued. In 2009, for example, council sat until 10:30 p.m.

A lengthy meeting is possible, if not a certainty, as Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt intends to bring 15 or more amendments to the bike-and-pedestrian strategy four other councillors have panned for several weeks.

Mynarski Coun. Ross Eadie plans to bring 20 amendments of his own to council, after previously pledging only to bring them before tonight's Lord Selkirk-West Kildonan community meeting.

"I don't know how else you're going to get change," Wyatt said Monday.

He intends to issue each amendment as a separate item before council. If city clerk Richard Kachur allows the filibuster-like manoeuvre, council could wind up making a series of votes about the strategy instead of a single vote.

It is unlikely, however, there will be separate debates about each amendment, as council tends to discuss all matters pertaining to a report just once. But if each member of council speaks for her or his allotted 10 minutes, the bike-and-pedestrian debate alone will take the better part of three hours.

Wyatt said he would rather see Mayor Brian Bowman agree to lay over the report until the fall to allow changes to be made to the document. Wyatt said he asked Bowman to do so at a meeting between the two on Friday.

"The mayor is requesting we adopt policy, so it has to be done right at the outset," Wyatt said. "I'm hoping amendments will be approved."

Wyatt and Eadie are among five city councillors who've spent weeks criticizing the strategy, which advocates spending $334 million over 20 years on active transportation.

That amounts to $16.7 million a year. The city currently spends $2.4 million on bike paths, sidewalks and walking trails each year.

Couns. Eadie, Wyatt, Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan), Shawn Dobson (St. Charles) and Jason Schreyer (Elmwood-East Kildonan) took out radio ads decrying the plan, which they describe as flawed, imprecise and financially irresponsible.

Bowman called the radio ads fear-mongering and said the bike-and-pedestrian strategy is not set in stone.

Supporters of the strategy did not seem perturbed by the prospect of a lengthy council meeting.

"I'm happy to have a long discussion about active transportation. It doesn't concern me at all," said Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry Coun. Jenny Gerbasi.

Also Monday, Eadie held a news conference to reiterate his opposition to the cycling plan. He wound up in a 30-minute debate with two cycling activists who live in his ward.

bartley.kives@freepress.mb.ca

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History

Updated on Tuesday, July 14, 2015 at 7:08 AM CDT: Replaces photo

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