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This article was published 9/10/2018 (638 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Old Kildonan Coun. Devi Sharma is running for a third term, and she has many plans for improving the ward she’s represented for the past eight years.
Sharma was first elected to represent Old Kildonan when then-councillor Mike O’Shaughnessy announced his retirement after 30 years serving his community. She had worked for three years as his executive assistant in the mid-’90s and saw the difference one can make in advocating for their ward.
Sharma has lived in the ward for more than 30 years. She grew up in The Maples and graduated from Maples Collegiate before getting a Bachelors of Arts degree with a major in sociology from the University of Winnipeg. After she got married, she moved to Garden City where she currently resides with her husband and school-age son.
Sharma said she’s always been involved in the community serving as the vice-president of the Maples Community Centre, volunteering in parent council committees and sitting on the board of the Seven Oaks General Hospital.
The councillor has been advocating for affordable recreational activities for children and seniors, as well as infrastructure improvements such as the Chief Peguis Trail Extension. Since she was elected, she assisted in getting a new hockey arena on Kingsbury Avenue and a state-of-the-art soccer complex on Leila Avenue, and the Seven Oaks Pool is being renovated and will have the only indoor splash pad in Winnipeg.
She was also involved in the creation of the Garden City 55+ seniors program that runs out of the Garden City Community Centre.
"People that go there have told me that they appreciate the affordable programming, the cost is affordable, and it’s close to home. They come to be active there but what’s also occurred is making new friendships," she said.
Over the years Sharma has sat as councillor, she said she has developed relationships with her colleagues and the various departments at city hall, something she considers extremely important to get such projects done and moved up in the city’s priority list. Sharma was elected as the first female speaker on city council in 2013.
"I have a good relationship both with my provincial and federal counterparts. At a recent forum, we had on the Chief Peguis Extension, the MP was in attendance MaryAnn Mihychuk, as well as Minister Ron Schuler.
"They are well aware of the need of the Chief Peguis Trail extension project. I’ve had meetings with them one-on-one on the topic, and again they were at the forum putting their comments on the record for everyone in attendance to hear. We need to prioritize, after the election, infrastructure projects and I’ll be pushing for the Chief Peguis Trail Extension."
Concerning safety, Sharma said there are neighbourhood support groups that she has helped with fundings and her own time. She has a good relationship with the Winnipeg Police Service and meets with the north Winnipeg inspector every month to learn what they are doing and to bring residents concerns to their knowledge.
Old Kildonan is one the fastest-growing communities in Winnipeg. Emerging neighbourhoods such as Castlebury Meadows, Amber Gates and Aurora at North Point will need better public transportation, Sharma explained.
"The city of Winnipeg will be embarking on a transit master plan, it’s something that we approved at a committee I sit on, the Public Works Committee, looking at where the gaps are in transit for emerging neighbourhoods and also looking at where we need to put more frequency at existing routes."
"It’s pretty much our time, and north Winnipeg is growing, and I promise to be a strong advocate at the table."
Community journalist — The Times
Ligia Braidotti is the community journalist for The Times. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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