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."
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.
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.
Issues dealt with at Thursday's meeting included:
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.