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This article was published 1/10/2018 (406 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Voters in Fort Richmond had a chance to find out what’s in it for them when they head to the polls this October.
The Fort Richmond-University Heights Neighbourhood Association hosted an all candidates forum on Sept. 26 in the library at Fort Richmond Collegiate for folks running in the St. Norbert-Seine River ward. The event was attended by candidates Markus Chambers, Nancy Cooke, Nikolas Joyal, Chris Davis, and Glenn Churchill, and moderated by Sachit Mehra.
Denise Crosbie, vice-chair of the neighbourhood association, opened questioning and wanted candidates to explain how they plan to represent the community of Fort Richmond at City Hall.
The ward was redrawn following the 2017 Winnipeg Wards Boundaries Commission’s final report. It is split down the middle by the Red River and includes St. Norbert, River Park South, Dakota Crossing, St. Vital
Perimeter South, and a pocket of neighbourhoods surrounding the University of Manitoba.
"Here in Fort Richmond we’re wondering how you can serve this tiny community in this very large community," Crosbie said. "We feel very separate from it because of the river.
"What can you bring to Fort Richmond?"
Churchill, a transportation engineer working with a local consulting firm, said he understands the conflict the natural boundary of the river creates and said addressing rooming houses in Fort Richmond is a priority.
"When I was walking around a few weeks ago delivering flyers I noticed the rooming house situation going on," Churchill said. "It’s something I want to try and clean up. Janice Lukes has done a great job up until now and while I continue work here, she’ll be in the northern part of the university area… so I’ll work with her to try to get the area cleaned up as best we can and get the properties back in respectable looking condition."
Chambers, whose professional CV lists employment in the province’s department of family services and the provincial nominee program, said his work in the neighbourhood will involve the residents’ associations and would begin immediately to tackle issues related to rooming houses.
"I also want to work with Janice Lukes who has done so much good work on this issue already, and work with my other colleagues at council to address bylaws that are enforceable and will eradicate to the degree that we can this issue."
Davis, the lone candidate who lives on the west side of the river in St. Norbert, said his neighbours rely on Fort Richmond heavily.
"So Fort Richmond is key to St. Norbert. You have all of our shopping malls, you have all of our shops right now, as we don’t have a grocery store," he said. "The bottom line is I will treat Fort Richmond the same way I treat all of you: with blinders on, we’re all equal, we’re all part of this city together. There’s no leaving communities and people out."
Joyal, a student at the U of M and the youngest candidates running in the ward, said his neighbourhood of River Park South felt the same way before the ward was realigned.
"Most of the ward was on this side of the river, with a little chunk cut out where we were self contained. We didn’t feel like we had fantastic representation," Joyal said. "So I think it’s important to split my time when I’m meeting with residents and attending community events."
Cooke, an occupational therapist and the only woman candidate running in the ward, said her time on the Investors Group Field event day advisory committee shows her commitment to the area.
"Historically this community around the Red was brought together by the river," she said. "I think this is a unique opportunity in the city to bring us back together again as a community around the river. I don’t see it as a barrier and I’m hoping we can all work together and collaborate."
Other the issues raised by voters included community safety, governing by referendum, and the strong mayor model currently used at City Hall. The civic election is Oct. 24.
Danielle Da Silva
Community journalist — The Sou'wester
Danielle Da Silva is the community journalist for The Sou'wester. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org