St. Boniface ward report
Matt Allard is the city councillor for St. Boniface.
Recent articles of Matt Allard
Many constituents have been contacting me in recent months with concerns about excessive noise on Winnipeg’s major roads.
While illegal modifications, racing, or engine revving has been a problem for decades in various areas of the city, residents report growing concern in particular along our major highways and roads.
Residents along Bishop Grandin Boulevard, Fermor Avenue, Lagimodiere Boulevard, and other major roadways have been raising the longstanding issue again, and I’m committed to tackling it.
On Nov. 5, the public works committee, which I chair, adopted a new motion asking for city staff recommendations on how to tackle this problem by May 2022.
This is going to be another record breaking year for St. Boniface roadwork.
At over $150 million, the 2021 City of Winnipeg budget calls for its fourth record year-over-year spending on local and regional roadwork investment since 2014.
I often get calls to my office, especially after the snow melts, inquiring about when one road or another (usually a local residential street) is going to get its turn for rehabilitation.
What we say every time is that we appreciate your patience, and we’re chipping our way steadily through the infrastructure deficit, rehabilitating more streest every year.
At the Jan. 4 Riel community committee meeting, I moved a motion calling for a secondary plan in the Central St. Boniface neighbourhood.
For the last two years, I have been lobbying for the creation of new, detailed neighbourhood plans which will help us guide and build public support for sustainable, context-sensitive infill development in St. Boniface ward and across Winnipeg.
A secondary plan is like a micro-neighbourhood version of the City of Winnipeg’s overall planning guidelines. It can provide detailed recommendations for density, design and other zoning decisions on a street-by-street, even property-by-property basis. A thorough community consultation process is undertaken to create one, which helps secure a high degree of certainty and consent from existing residents and property owners for future infill development.
For many years, we have had a secondary plan in the North St. Boniface neighbourhood, and my office participated in the modernization of it in 2016 with the help of the urban planning division and Old St. Boniface Residents’ Association.
In 2020, the City of Winnipeg has invested more many than ever before in local and regional road infrastructure.
The 2020-2023 multi-year budget allocated over $130 million toward road infrastructure, setting a record for the third time in the last six years. Since 2014, council has directed over $600 million to road repair, making huge progress in cutting down our infrastructure deficit. We are on track, by the end of the multi-year budget period, to have invested over $1 billion in our roads, which is an amount forecast to virtually eliminate a backlog of road repair which took decades to accumulate.
In St. Boniface ward, this has meant numerous long-awaited projects — either full rehabilitations or modest preservation works —either already underway or beginning this year. These include:
• Fermor Avenue — between St. Anne’s Road/Rue Archibald;
I wanted to touch base to let you know about three of the initiatives I’ve been working on at City Hall since April.
Thank you first to the City Clerks department, community members, advocates and others whose hard work and creativity has allowed the business of government and policy to continue amid COVID-19 measures.
• Amber light times - At the May public works committee meeting, I moved a motion asking the public service to report back on Winnipeg’s “four-second amber” timing at traffic lights.
Some time ago, I met with traffic reform advocate Chris Sweryda, with whom my office has maintained a dialogue for the past couple of years. We have worked together in the past to bring forward proposals for reform on issues such as alleged missing traffic signage, low-mounted lights for pedestrian corridors and now this. I believe this is a good time to take this issue on, given the City’s steady progress on the related matter of advance-warning flashing lights in high-speed areas.
As of May 4, we have headed into what I believe is the second phase of this pandemic.
Beginning in mid-March, Winnipeg entered a period of lockdown the likes of which we’ve never seen. It does appear as of this writing that we have “flattened the curve.” After rising throughout March and early April, they began to slow, then mostly plateau. We are now seeing days go by with no new cases announced by provincial officials. This is very encouraging. It’s a testament to the widespread uptake and compliance with social distancing recommendations. Thank you, Dr. Brent Roussin for your ongoing work and leadership.
With the curve flattened for now, some of the economy has begun to reopen. While this situation is at its heart a healthcare issue, it has huge implications for all areas of society, including municipal government.
In the past few weeks and ongoing, the City of Winnipeg has made a number of major changes in its jurisdiction.
I am writing to you from my house in St. Boniface. I want to touch base personally and provide an update to let you know about some big steps the City is taking around COVID-19, including tax deferral, state of emergency, safe walking and cycling routes, and other information.I’ll start by saying I’m getting used to working remotely and with kids around, just like many others. I am working to help create a process for virtual council and committee meetings and I am wondering if many of the changes happening in society may be with us long after we’re through this.I’m also always thinking of those whose jobs don’t allow this, including thousands of our front line City of Winnipeg staff. Healthcare workers, grocery store clerks, and everyone else whose jobs are essential and can’t be done from the kitchen table also deserve our utmost recognition and support.I’d like to let you know about a few major steps the City has taken or is about to take. For a more comprehensive list, check out www.winnipeg.ca/emergweb/covid-19/Business and property taxesWinnipeggers will have the option to defer payment of 2020 business and property taxes without being assessed penalties or other fees.Find out more here: http://www.winnipegassessment.com/AsmtTax/English/State of emergencyThe state of emergency declared on April 6 grants new and extraordinary temporary powers to council and the public service, allowing the City to take swift and dramatic actions if and when they are needed.See the declaration from the April 3 agenda of our special meeting of city council.http://clkapps.winnipeg.ca/dmis/ViewPdf.asp?SectionId=560679#page=1Sunday cycling routesIn an effort to assist with social distancing requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic, the City has expanded its annual bicycle and active transportation schedule. We have observed many residents using parks and sidewalks with limited space to run essential errands or get exercise during our period of long-term social distancing. We need to reduce the concentration of people walking and cycling by providing more and safer locations for people to move about.From April 6 until May 3, four streets in Winnipeg are designated as bicycle/active transportation routes:• Lyndale Drive, from Cromwell Street to Gauvin Street;• Scotia Street, from Anderson Avenue (at St. Cross Street) to Armstrong Avenue;• Wellington Crescent, from Academy Road to Guelph Street;• Wolseley Avenue, from Raglan Road to Maryland Street.Motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians must respect the rules of the road and each other — not to mention appropriate social distancing — for this measure to be maintained and possibly expanded to other areas.Local resourcesThe City of Winnipeg COVID-19 website is here: www.winnipeg.ca/emergweb/covid-19/The provincial COVID-19 website is here: www.covid19manitoba.ca/By many estimates, we’re going to be in this situation for months. Please consider me a resource to help with any regular concerns you may have with the City, now or outstanding — not to mention regarding the City’s response to COVID-19.Please practise social distancing to the best of your ability, and let’s get through this together.
I am writing to you from my house in St. Boniface. I want to touch base personally and provide an update to let you know about some big steps the City is taking around COVID-19, including tax deferral, state of emergency, safe walking and cycling routes, and other information.
I’ll start by saying I’m getting used to working remotely and with kids around, just like many others. I am working to help create a process for virtual council and committee meetings and I am wondering if many of the changes happening in society may be with us long after we’re through this.
I’m also always thinking of those whose jobs don’t allow this, including thousands of our front line City of Winnipeg staff. Healthcare workers, grocery store clerks, and everyone else whose jobs are essential and can’t be done from the kitchen table also deserve our utmost recognition and support.
I wanted to shed some light on the City of Winnipeg budget situation.
There has been quite a bit of press lately regarding the City of Winnipeg’s departmental budget proposals.
A bit of context. For the first time in memory, the City of Winnipeg is making its departmental submissions in public. In the past, departments submitted their proposals to a group of city councillors and the mayor behind closed doors, and that group had to make the difficult decisions in private, and make a recommendation to council and the public for consideration. Now, that’s all happening in public. Also, the City’s first “four year, multi-year budget,” means that difficult choices previously pushed into “forecasts” for next year, are now being dealt with.
Committees have now heard delegations from the public on all forecasts. It flows next to executive policy council, then council. Finally, a draft City budget will be tabled and a final balanced budget needs to be approved by law, no later than March 31, 2020.
Big things are happening for St. Boniface recreation this year and next.
With some projects near completion, about to begin, or in the planning stages, I wanted to give the community a mid summer roundup of some of the community level parks and recreational investments were working on! In particular, I’ll be focusing today on our plans for PREP, the Parks and Recreation Enhancement Program, which each ward is allocated roughly $200,000 per year.
Burmac Park: $102,000
The playground and park at the corner of Capston Road and Burmac Road in Southdale is scheduled for a complete rehabilitation. At about $102,000 out of the 2019 PREP budget it will be the signature major park upgrade of this round. The project was to take place at the end of the year, but due to a large number of playground projects bid on in 2019, it will happen early 2020.
Winnipeg faces a choice about its future. That choice will depend on our urban planning.
Our city is in a bad fiscal situation. Against the march of inflation; years of tax freezes, and still more years of outward growth of our urban footprint, have left our city struggling to provide the public services and investments that Winnipeggers want, and deserve.
Recently, we have seen more and more examples of our city’s budget becoming strained. We are having to choose between multiple important priorities. Maintenance and upkeep of City facilities is being pushed further and further back. Much-needed new investments like improved transit frequency are largely out of financial reach.
On top of this, we have a provincial government which is willing and able to walk away from signed financial agreements, retroactively cut funding for a program at the end of a fiscal year, and overall is simply not a reliable partner.
On Oct. 24, I was honoured to be re-elected as your city councillor in St Boniface.
It’s been a thrilling and productive four years serving this community at 510 Main St.
With a strong new mandate, I intend to work with Mayor Brian Bowman to pursue an ambitious agenda to guide our growth as we move towards being a city of one million people.
During the last term and during my election campaign, I heard from residents about their desires and dreams for the city, their concerns and ideas.