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This article was published 5/10/2018 (1106 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Josh Brandon wants to make Winnipeg a more socially just and environmentally sustainable city. He is one of three councillor candidates running in Daniel McIntyre.
"I bring the right experience, I have strong connections in the community and I think that I can help bring about positive change," Brandon said.
The 46-year-old moved to Winnipeg from Surrey, B.C., in 2007 and lives in Wolseley with his partner of 16 years and one cat. He has held positions with a number of local non-profits, including the Manitoba Eco Network, the Green Action Centre and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. He currently works as a community animator at the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg.
Brandon is an advocate for poverty reduction and, if elected, would implement a $15 an hour living wage for all City employees and contract workers.
"They should be paid enough to live with dignity in our community, they’re doing essential community services," he said. "We live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world… and yet we still have great poverty and that concerns me."
He would also like to see the City partner with the provincial and federal governments to develop a city-wide poverty strategy.
According to Winnipeg Police Service data, the Daniel McIntyre ward has seen a two per cent rise in overall crime since 2017. Brandon believes a dedicated community safety fund for social service organizations would help address the root causes of crime in the neighbourhood.
"We know the police can’t be everywhere at once," he said. "(Community organizations) have people on the ground working with people who have experience with poverty, addiction, homelessness. They are best placed to be able to tell us what programs will be successful."
In addition to developing more 24-hour safe spaces for youth, gang awareness programs and cold weather shelters, Brandon wants to see vacant houses in the ward that are magnets for crime brought up to code and turned into affordable housing.
When it comes to sustainability, he says there are gains to be made with better transit services and more protected bike lanes. Brandon — who cycles nine months a year and rides the bus in the winter — says he would increase transit’s operating budget, reverse the recent .25 cent fare hike and create a low income bus pass to make transportation more accessible.
Infrastructure is also on his radar and Brandon would like to see crumbling sidewalks, pothole and backlanes repaired — especially for seniors and those with mobility issues.
"Residents want to be able to get around safely and have access to their community."
Eva Wasney is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.