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This article was published 9/10/2018 (466 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Lifelong River Heights resident Garth Steek is looking to reclaim his former seat at City Hall.
Steek, 69, is running for city council in the River Heights-Fort Garry ward. The grandfather of two children was the ward councillor from 1995 to 2004. He stepped away from the seat to run for mayor, eventually losing to Sam Katz.
Steek, who has been a regular delegate at City Hall in the years since departing council, said he was inspired to run in part by the "egregious abuse of power" from elected officials and administration.
"I think we need a change and somebody down there who is direct, unambiguous, a leader who isn’t intimidated by bureaucracy, and isn’t beholden to any political party," Steek said. "And most important of all, we need somebody who always goes into council meetings well prepared, factually knowledgeable and puts citizens first."
Steek, who formerly served as the president of the Manitoba Home Builders’ Association, pointed to the implementation of the impact fee (currently challenged in the court of appeal by the MHBA), the City’s handling of the proposed Sterling Lyon Parkway extension through Wilkes South, and the strong mayor governance model used at City Hall, as examples of what he calls an abuse of process and power.
"I was tremendously motivated by what the people of Charleswood did. They stood up for their own right and stood up to City Hall. But you shouldn’t have to," Steek said.
"If the bureaucrats will abuse you in Charleswood, they’ll do it in River Heights, they’ll do it in Elmwood and that’s a key concern of mine: the unfair control that the bureaucracy has here."
Steek said within the ward he wants to see the community working in conjunction with police services and the province to have improved relations relative to methamphetamine addiction; school resource officers in all junior high and high schools; and upgraded community facilities. The opening of Portage and Main and expanding bus rapid transit should not be prioritized over community safety, controlling disease in the urban canopy, and enhanced transit service, Steek added.
"Every ward in the city has a minimum deficiency of $2-million that’s required to upgrade (recreation facilities) and if we can spend money to open Portage and Main we should be spending that money on parks," Steek said. "It’s a quality of life issue."
Across the city, infrastructure investment and the way the City of Winnipeg engages with residents through 311 and other mediums can be improved, Steek said.
However public safety is his biggest priority and Steek said the response from municipal leaders to address violence on Winnipeg’s streets is inadequate.
"If the city is under siege, it’s no different from the way the city was flooding in ’97, you step into the breach and you address it," he said. "That’s a city-wide issue that’s paramount to me."
Steek also says a moratorium should be put on any future bus rapid transit construction pending a demonstrated benefit from the southwest route to the University of Manitoba, once it’s completed.
"I think rapid transit is an idea that has some merit, but I don’t believe for a minute we should be spending $2.5-billion on it when we’ve got the infrastructure deficiencies that we have."