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This article was published 1/10/2018 (504 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
An anti-poverty and disability advocate is promising to be a voice for constituents at City Hall if elected on Oct. 24.
Harry Wolbert, 57, is running to become councillor in Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry.
The North Kildonan resident said he chose to run in Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry after learning there would be no incumbent in the ward.
"I believe I can make a difference in that community. I grew up in Fort Rouge and my father had a convenience store in the Osborne Village until his retirement. So I do have a connection to the area."
Wolbert, who works as an inclusion aid for the YM-YWCA, said the current city council isn’t listening to Winnipeggers in its decision-making processes, prompting him to run for office.
"I was quite upset with the mayor and city council and the way certain issues were being handled. The 25-cent (transit) fare increase, Portage and Main, to name a few. Our mayor and city council weren’t listening to the citizens of Winnipeg."
Wolbert is also pleased the decision to open Portage Avenue and Main Street to pedestrians was put to a referendum.
"The mayor hadn’t consulted with the citizens on the issue," Wolbert said of the iconic intersection. "He never went before the public and said ‘this is why we have to open Portage and Main.’ He never made his case."
At the ward level, Wolbert said public safety, poverty and homelessness is one of the most pressing issues in the community and a file he would work on diligently.
"About 20 per cent of the residents in Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry live below the poverty line. So that’s definitely an issue I would work on as city councillor for the area. For many years I’ve been an anti-poverty and disability advocate and that’s an issue that’s near and dear to me, and I believe to the residents of Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry as well.
"We have a 10-year plan to end homelessness in our city, we’re about halfway through and instead of the numbers going down, numbers are going up," Wolbert said. "We need to play a more active role in lobbying our provincial government for more social housing in our city."
"I believe that the city has a role to play in ending poverty," he added. "They can train people, hire people that are living in poverty, (offering) a low income bus pass would be another way to help the poor."
Wolbert is also in favour of nixing any future development of bus rapid transit corridors, namely an eastern corridor currently being studied by the city, and putting that money towards electrifying Winnipeg Transit’s entire bus fleet.
"I would complete the southwest rapid transit corridor, however that being said, I would oppose any new construction on any future routes. I think our money can be better spent," Wolbert said. "Before we throw any more money at transit there are other issues that need to be dealt with first."
Wolbert has previously run campaigns in St. Vital during the 2010 election and 2011 byelection. He was also a candidate for the Manitoba Liberal Party in St. Vital in 2007 and 2011.
Wolbert said he hasn’t been affiliated with any political party since 2013.
Danielle Da Silva