St. Vital ward report
Brian Mayes is the city councillor for St. Vital.
Recent articles of Brian Mayes
Things looking up in Sage Creek and Bonavista3 minute read Preview Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023
In recent weeks, there have been two significant announcements for the southeast corner of the city, for residents of Sage Creek and Bonavista (which are both part of the St. Vital ward).
The ‘pulvimixer’ lane solution2 minute read Preview Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022
One of the ongoing challenges of serving as city councillor of St. Vital is working to improve the state of the many gravel lanes in the northern part of the ward (there are no gravel lanes in Royalwood, Bonavista or Sage Creek).
To go boldly – light rail transit on St. Mary’s Road3 minute read Preview Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022
The opening words of Star Trek are often cited as the example of a split infinitive — “to boldly go.” And yet, there is something stirring about the idea – even if you have to rephrase it as “to go boldly.”
Let’s talk about traffic on St. Mary’s Road3 minute read Preview Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021
During my 10 years as councillor, morning and afternoon traffic congestion on St. Mary’s Road north of its intersection St. Anne’s Road has been a consistent source of complaint.
The afternoon rush-hour parking restrictions for south-bound traffic have been extended to 6 p.m. on both St Mary’s and St Anne’s, which has helped ease congestion to some extent. The city is now consulting with the public on a new transportation master plan, and I want to ensure that concerns specific to St. Mary’s Road are heard.
The 2011 city transportation master plan (approved just prior to my election) called for St. Mary’s to be widened by a northbound lane north of St. Anne’s to Marion at a cost of $60 million (this was projected to be done by 2021). By 2016 the infrastructure plan for this same project had grown to an estimated $78 million. A year or two later, city staff informally estimated the cost at $100 million. However, in December, 2019, the new infrastructure plan decreased the estimate to $65.5 million.
In short, no one seems to have a handle on the cost, nor is there money allocated in the city budget for the project.
An update on infill development in St. Vital3 minute read Preview Tuesday, Jul. 6, 2021
On June 24, after a two-year process, Winnipeg city council approved new guidelines for the future of infill residential development in the city’s “mature communities” (areas built before 1950).
The clumsy and unregulated approach to infill construction in St. Vital’s Glenwood area (lot-splits; where one home on a 50-foot-wide lot is demolished and replaced with two new homes, each with two units) has dominated this term of office, resulting in hundreds of complaints from area residents.
There can be cost savings to a city from infill (such as more people using existing community centres), but shoddy developments in Glenwood have led to streets, lanes and sidewalks constantly being blocked, builders destroying the property of neighbours without taking responsibility for these damages, new builds often ignoring the rules for demolition and constructing homes that differ from submitted plans.
When the matter came to council, I supported the guidelines, in part because two changes that were incorporated, after months of effort from my office and from the residents of St. Vital.
Province should not eliminate school trustees3 minute read Preview Wednesday, Jun. 2, 2021
In previous years on city council, I have commented on the actions of the provincial government. Sometimes people agree with this, and sometimes people tell me my job is not to meddle in provincial affairs. I understand both points of view.
However, because I was once a school trustee in Brandon, I do want to publicly state my view that the provincial government should not proceed with its plan (Bill 64) to get rid of all the province’s elected school trustees.
I cannot speak to the work of trustees in other parts of the city but in my experience the trustees of the Louis Riel School Division have been terrific to work with. LRSD has had a “can do” attitude when it comes to building projects in conjunction with my office over the past 10 years.
The school division has worked with me for the benefit of the community as a whole by collaborating on recreation projects (sports fields, a running track, tennis courts, etc.), arts spaces (outdoor theatre at Collège Jeanne-Sauvé) and play structures.
Supporting the importance of play2 minute read Preview Wednesday, May. 5, 2021
As I approach the 10th anniversary of my election as city councillor, there is a natural urge to list out the various projects that have been completed.
I was pleasantly surprised to count up almost 20 playground improvements in the ward over those years. These improvements have variously benefitted area schools, community centres (such as the new accessible structure at Norberry-Glenlee, opened last fall) and parks.
In 2021 work is planned on a variety of projects, ranging from a replacement of the swing set at St. Vital Park, to play structure safety upgrades at Pulberry (Cabot) Park.
In addition to the Norberry-Glenlee project, upgrades in 2020 included a new bench addition at Ecole Guyot, and a new structure in the city park outside of Dr. D.W. Penner School. Unfortunately, funding is sometimes delayed (for example, modernizing the play structure at Dean Finlay Park has been pushed back to 2023).
The billion‐dollar question2 minute read Preview Monday, Apr. 5, 2021
There is much to like in the newly announced Transit Master Plan, which will come to city council for a vote on April 30.
For example, the increased use of electric buses and more frequent north/south bus service for St. Vital. However, the TMP also presents major cost questions.
The TMP outlines a plan, ending in the year 2045, for new dedicated bus lanes and other new Rapid Transit infrastructure (such as a bus bridge from St. Vital, over the Red River to the University of Manitoba) at an estimated price tag of $1.08 billion.
Unfortunately, city staff have provided almost no details of these plans and have stated that they really don’t know what the whole package would cost. The various projects are presented as Class 5 cost estimates, which are “rough estimates based on very limited information”.
Traffic flow and safety improvements coming to St. Vital3 minute read Preview Wednesday, Mar. 10, 2021
This spring, residents of the St. Vital ward can expect a series of long-awaited projects from the public works department at city hall, on various traffic initiatives I have requested.
As recently reported in The Lance, an advance flashing yellow light has been installed on eastbound Bishop Grandin Boulevard (eastbound) at St. Mary’s Road. I had first requested this warning system of impending light change back in the summer of 2018. While I am pleased to see the light installed, I would also like to get one at the other end of this mile-long stretch (westbound) on Bishop Grandin Boulevard at River Road. That intersection will soon be getting a separate improvement.
A new apartment block is to be constructed at the southwest corner of Bishop Grandin and River Road. Many residents opposed this building, due to ongoing traffic concerns. This construction project provided the much-needed dynamite to break a log jam at city hall concerning traffic at the intersection. As a result, there will be a new green turning arrow installed, for the afternoon rush hour, allowing northbound traffic on River Road to make a left turn onto Bishop Grandin with more ease. The present “stacking” problems for northbound traffic should be much reduced. There will also be a “phasing” improvement for morning traffic allowing for a longer green light for north and southbound traffic.
I am also pleased to have staff approve two new paint-and-sign style pedestrian crosswalks. One of these is across Novavista Drive near École Julie-Riel, a joint project with Coun. Markus Chambers (St. Norbert - Seine River) who represents the more southern part of St. Vital, past Novavista. More on this at a later date.
South of the Perimeter not forgotten3 minute read Preview Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021
In 2018, city council ward boundaries changed, and St. Vital ward lost its southern quarter while adding Royalwood, Bonavista and Sage Creek. I regretted losing some familiar parts of the ward but the reasoning for this was sound — Coun. Janice Lukes and I had fought for new boundaries that accurately reflected the growth of the city’s population in the south end.
As a result, the new St. Norbert- Seine River ward was created in 2018, with Markus Chambers being elected as its new councillor.
Since 2018 we have obtained some real gains for St. Vital, particularly in the area south of the Perimeter Highway and east of the Red River. St. Vital south of the Perimeter contains about 600 homes that are within city boundaries but which have no city water or sewer connections, no city transit and no community centres. The area used to be in my ward, and is now with Coun. Chambers.
I have been very pleased to support Coun. Chambers in making these breakthroughs, some of which were projects which I had worked on for years:
Online city ‘surveys’ fundamentally flawed3 minute read Preview Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020
The City of Winnipeg has released its draft 2021 budget, which I anticipate supporting at the council vote in mid-December.
One aspect of the budget, however, leaves me frustrated — the City’s habit of asking for online input prior to the budget, and then announcing the results as a “survey”. Any public opinion survey should try to ensure that the sample of respondents is representative of the larger population. The City has many smart, professional people doing public engagement, but unfortunately there seems to be no effort to make clear that their online questionnaires are NOT statistically valid surveys.
This year’s online “budget survey” contains the startling revelation that Winnipegers view the police as the third-least important service delivered by the City, trailing only golf and parking in unimportance.
So, what was the population sample that provided that result?