July 21, 2019

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Six seek St. Charles seat

Incumbent taking some heat over handling of scandals

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/10/2014 (1739 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

St. Charles is usually among the sleepiest races in a civic election, but this time a huge slate of candidates, an incumbent vulnerable to criticism and one nasty dog bite have made it anything but.

Several people are waging well-organized and credible campaigns against Coun. Grant Nordman, who they say was silent during round after round of real estate and construction scandals at city hall. Those scandals so offended Eric Holland, who works for the Government of Manitoba's procurement branch and knows about proper tendering and contracting, he decided to jump into politics for the first time.

He called the city's handling of the fire-paramedic station replacement program, the cost overruns on the new police headquarters and dozens of other real estate transactions "a fiasco." Holland noted Nordman voted repeatedly against auditing those problematic deals.

"When that first red flag went up, he should not have only voted for an audit, but demanded one," said Holland.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/10/2014 (1739 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

St. Charles is usually among the sleepiest races in a civic election, but this time a huge slate of candidates, an incumbent vulnerable to criticism and one nasty dog bite have made it anything but.

Several people are waging well-organized and credible campaigns against Coun. Grant Nordman, who they say was silent during round after round of real estate and construction scandals at city hall. Those scandals so offended Eric Holland, who works for the Government of Manitoba's procurement branch and knows about proper tendering and contracting, he decided to jump into politics for the first time.

He called the city's handling of the fire-paramedic station replacement program, the cost overruns on the new police headquarters and dozens of other real estate transactions "a fiasco." Holland noted Nordman voted repeatedly against auditing those problematic deals.

"When that first red flag went up, he should not have only voted for an audit, but demanded one," said Holland.

Holland has perhaps had the most eventful campaign, thanks to a dog that bit him on the cheek and chin last week. Holland was door-knocking when a family dog lunged at him as he stood in the door. He said the family was very compassionate, helping him with bandages and tissue before he headed to Grace Hospital for stitches.

Dwight Hildebrandt, a business-development manager, raises similar concerns in his campaign literature, saying he's not another "yes" man who will allow backroom deals to pass under his nose. He says it's time to rid the city of the old way of running things and is planning a rare policy announcement in the ward today on community clubs.

Shawn Dobson, who is trying for a fourth time to unseat Nordman, has raised the city's troubled land transactions at the door. "We've got to have more transparency, and more accountability will come hand-in-hand," he said, adding he would freeze taxes and find efficiencies at city hall.

In total, five men are challenging Nordman in the St. Charles ward, which includes Kirkfield Park, Westwood and Crestview. The crowded slate could allow Nordman a third victory, and he's been a feisty campaigner.

"I have five guys throwing grenades at me," he said. He noted none has attended any city hall meetings in the eight years he's been on council and only one — Dwight Hildebrand — ever called directly with a concern.

As for the string of audits on the fire-paramedic land swap, the downtown police station and other deals, Nordman said the city spent thousands on auditors to learn what it already knew — money that could have been better spent elsewhere.

"We got four new fire stations and a police headquarters, and we're still crying about it," he said. "Was it pretty? No. It was a process that could have been better."

Nordman said three different sets of auditors told councillors nothing criminal or illegal occurred. "Let's move on," he said.

maryagnes.welch@freepress.mb.ca

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