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This article was published 1/10/2018 (406 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
For city council candidate Peter Koroma, the growing meth crisis, safe injection sites, and transportation management will be at the top of his to-do list if elected to City Hall.
Koroma, 68, is running for city council in Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry after three decades working at the provincial level as a case manager for family services, a policy analyst, and as a special assistant to River Heights MLA Jon Gerrard.
The retired grandfather from St. Vital said he is running to help people and get positive results for those living in Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry.
"I chose to run in Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry because it has all the elements of Winnipeg. From homeless people, to people who are big shots, the working poor, the middle class, rich people — they are all in this ward," Koroma said.
Koroma said the No. 1 issue in the city presently is methamphetamine use and is worried the crisis could reach "East Vancouver" levels if left unchecked.
"I’ve watched this thing grow over the years since I was a civil servant," Koroma said. "Some of my clients were dealing with this problem and are still dealing with it today. There seems to be no evident solution brought up by the City, and I just want to be part of the solution.
"I want to make sure there are safe injection sites, I want to make sure that all homeless people are housed in Winnipeg, just as Medicine Hat did.
"If we don’t deal with meth addiction in this city, a lot of people in these affluent areas will be so scared of going downtown, and all of downtown will suffer for this, and nobody will feel safe downtown," he said.
As councillor for Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry, Koroma said he would begin discussions with the Forks North Portage Partnership to re-evaluate parking services at The Forks and eliminate fees.
"When customers come to shop they pay for one or two hours, and they forget that it’s over two hours, and they get a ticket, then they don’t come again," Koroma said. "Some of the shop owners I spoke to are planning to leave because of the parking."
Koroma said he would also be an advocate for Osborne Village, the revitalization of vacant commercial spaces, and residential development that considers parking needs.
"The Gas Station Theatre has deteriorated… it’s time for us to revive the Gas Station Theatre. And The Zoo is dead and I don’t know what’s going on with that hotel.
"It’s right at the centre of the Village. We have to deal with it. There are other local issues that we have to deal with, but we can’t keep on putting more people in the Village with no parking," he said.
Winnipeg’s plan for bus rapid transit can also be improved Koroma said, with the network focused on bringing folks to centre of the city.
"City wide one of the most important things is to have a plan for bus rapid transit," Koroma said. "We can’t be planning a rapid transit system without having a plan that covers the entire city. I’m expecting the City of Winnipeg to have a plan that has a hub downtown where we drop people and pick up people, and go out to the outskirts."
Danielle Da Silva
Community journalist — The Sou'wester
Danielle Da Silva is the community journalist for The Sou'wester. Email her at email@example.com