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This article was published 1/10/2018 (730 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Kurt Morton wants to add a younger voice to city council.
The 22-year-old university student is running for the seat in St. James on a platform of increased funding for community services, more reliable transit and better urban planning in the ward.
"To me, proper planning for neighbourhoods are a completely non-partisan thing," said Morton. "It doesn’t matter what side of the political spectrum you’re from, everybody should want that."
He’s currently pursuing a degree in geography with goals of getting a master’s in urban planning.
While he lives in the West End just outside the ward boundaries, Morton says six years of working as a lifeguard and building servicer at the St. James Civic Centre and St. James-Assiniboia Centennial Pool have given him perspective on issues facing the area.
"Because I’ve worked there for so long, I know why the buildings are falling apart… it’s a lack of funding towards community services and I’m hoping to change that," he said. "It’s been a huge challenge for people who rely on those facilities every day to get out of the house and exercise."
Among his platform policies, Morton wants to see more City funding for more technology at libraries, lowering user fees at public pools and better maintenance for parks and open spaces.
Lack of adequate road repair is one of the biggest concerns he has heard from residents while door-knocking. He hopes to tackle this issue with a bigger road renewal budget and a focus on designing "complete streets" across the city.
"That would involve making it safer for pedestrians, better bike lanes, without ignoring cars," he said. "Making sure everyone is worked into the hierarchy."
Morton’s ideas to fix transportation issues in Winnipeg include increasing rush hour traffic bans by 30 minutes; adding more electric buses to the City’s fleet and extending service to 2 a.m.; and developing more separated bike lanes and ensuring the sidewalks and bike corridors are accessible throughout the winter.
Another reason he put his name on the ballot in St. James is to make sure the Bruce Oake Recovery Centre gets built.
"I’m concerned that both of the incumbents are a little iffy on the issue."
When asked what he would say to voters who might consider his age a barrier, Morton said: "The leadership skills are a challenge and they are, for sure, developed over age, but I think that the quality of my platform itself and the quality of the ideas I have speak for themselves."
Eva Wasney is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.
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