July 4, 2020

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Winnipeg Free Press



Last waltz for members of 2014 city council

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/9/2018 (652 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Group photographs and goodbye speeches dominated the start of Thursday’s city council meeting, the last for members elected in 2014.

While the outcome of the Winnipeg mayoral and ward races is uncertain, four councillors know they won’t be coming back: Jenny Gerbasi, Mike Pagtakhan, Marty Morantz and Russ Wyatt.

Gerbasi has represented Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry since 1998, and has decided 20 years on council is enough. She hasn’t disclosed her future plans.

"It has been an honour and a privilege to serve as a member of Winnipeg city council for these last 20 years," Gerbasi told council. "It has been an incredible journey that I am grateful to have experienced."

After a tumultuous year, Coun. Russ Wyatt won't be returning to council.


After a tumultuous year, Coun. Russ Wyatt won't be returning to council.

Pagtakhan, first elected in 2002, also hasn’t disclosed what he’ll do next.

Morantz, however, has pinned his hopes on winning the federal Conservative nomination in Charleswood for the 2019 election. He is a one-term councillor, elected in 2014.

Wyatt’s future is uncertain. Representing Transcona since 2002, Wyatt is facing a sexual-assault charge from a January incident.

This year, he also admitted to being a recovering drug and alcohol addict, and took a leave from council to spend some time in a rehab facility. He also came out in June as bisexual. He’s not running again, explaining it would hamper his recovery efforts.

Coun. Mike Pagtakhan isn't seeking re-election.


Coun. Mike Pagtakhan isn't seeking re-election.

In addition to those four, it’s also certain one of two incumbent councillors won’t be returning, and possibly neither of them: Scott Gillingham and Shawn Dobson. They’re running against each other in the new ward of St. James, after Dobson’s old St. Charles ward disappeared through a boundary review.

Dobson and Gillingham were first-time councillors, and they’re also being challenged by a civic employee, 22-year-old Kurt Morton, who could send them both packing.

After 20 years, Coun Jenny Gerbasi attended her last council meeting Thursday.


After 20 years, Coun Jenny Gerbasi attended her last council meeting Thursday.

Issues dealt with at Thursday's meeting included:


  • Council will ask the provincial and federal governments to join it in the creation of a task force to develop strategies for the prevention and treatment of methamphetamine addiction. If the other governments don’t agree to participate, city hall will go alone.
  • Council will ask the Manitoba government to include civic employees and members of civic boards and commissions in the provincial whistleblower legislation.
  • Council signed off on the accelerated regional road program, which will result in the federal government contributing $100 million over the next five years for regional road repairs.
  • An attempt to put members of council on a paid leave when they are facing criminal charges was deferred for an administrative report, after concerns were raised the original motion was too broad.
  • Council approved a proposal to allow free bus rides for veterans and active service members, and their companions, and reservists and cadets to attend Remembrance Day services in 2018 and going forward. It’s expected to cost about $21,340 annually.
  • Council approved extending the universal bus pass program to students at Red River College, and renewing the program at the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba, for a four-year term beginning September 2020.



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