Scott Gillingham

Scott Gillingham

St. James ward report

Scott Gillingham is the city councillor for St. James – Brooklands – Weston.

Recent articles of Scott Gillingham

New facilities offer outdoor opportunities for all

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New facilities offer outdoor opportunities for all

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Wednesday, Jul. 20, 2022

While summer is never long enough in Winnipeg, we certainly know how to get outside and enjoy it while it’s here. And I’m happy to see residents of West Winnipeg have been making good use of the new recreation facilities the city has invested in over the past few years.

The pickleball courts at Bourkevale Community Centre have been packed with players this spring and summer. In fact, pickleball has become so big — it’s North America’s fastest-growing sport — the city is investing in another new facility next to the St. James Rods field.

The $415,000 project will include eight new courts, making it large enough to host city or provincial tournaments. A sod-turning was held in early July and work should be completed by the end of the summer.

I’ve been happy to support the Winnipeg West Pickleball Club in their efforts to grow the sport in the St. James ward. Pickleball is a great activity that can be shared by players of all ages and genders, and it’s especially popular among our senior population.

Wednesday, Jul. 20, 2022

While summer is never long enough in Winnipeg, we certainly know how to get outside and enjoy it while it’s here. And I’m happy to see residents of West Winnipeg have been making good use of the new recreation facilities the city has invested in over the past few years.

The pickleball courts at Bourkevale Community Centre have been packed with players this spring and summer. In fact, pickleball has become so big — it’s North America’s fastest-growing sport — the city is investing in another new facility next to the St. James Rods field.

The $415,000 project will include eight new courts, making it large enough to host city or provincial tournaments. A sod-turning was held in early July and work should be completed by the end of the summer.

I’ve been happy to support the Winnipeg West Pickleball Club in their efforts to grow the sport in the St. James ward. Pickleball is a great activity that can be shared by players of all ages and genders, and it’s especially popular among our senior population.

City Hall needs clearer strategies for success

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Preview

City Hall needs clearer strategies for success

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Wednesday, Jun. 1, 2022

I am sometimes asked what I would have done differently to get better results from city council over the last seven-and-a-half years. The agenda for the most recent city council meeting is one good example. The May 26 meeting was held roughly 90 per cent of the way through this council term, and just around the corner from the 2022 city elections. But you’d never know it based on what was discussed.

The agenda included debate on no less than four different initiatives to produce new strategies. Two years and eight months after the mayor set a target of planting a million trees, we debated a staff-written strategy to protect and expand our tree canopy. We also considered a parks strategy, a forthcoming property strategy, and revisions to our crime prevention strategy.

The timing is democratically awkward. City council candidates are just beginning to debate new priorities in front of voters at literally the same time as these papers were debated. It’s also backwards. The time to put a strategy in place is at the beginning of a new mandate, not at the back end of a council term.

There is a better way.

Wednesday, Jun. 1, 2022

I am sometimes asked what I would have done differently to get better results from city council over the last seven-and-a-half years. The agenda for the most recent city council meeting is one good example. The May 26 meeting was held roughly 90 per cent of the way through this council term, and just around the corner from the 2022 city elections. But you’d never know it based on what was discussed.

The agenda included debate on no less than four different initiatives to produce new strategies. Two years and eight months after the mayor set a target of planting a million trees, we debated a staff-written strategy to protect and expand our tree canopy. We also considered a parks strategy, a forthcoming property strategy, and revisions to our crime prevention strategy.

The timing is democratically awkward. City council candidates are just beginning to debate new priorities in front of voters at literally the same time as these papers were debated. It’s also backwards. The time to put a strategy in place is at the beginning of a new mandate, not at the back end of a council term.

There is a better way.

Keeping Winnipeg’s government affordable

Scott Gillingham 2 minute read Preview

Keeping Winnipeg’s government affordable

Scott Gillingham 2 minute read Wednesday, Apr. 13, 2022

This summer, mayoral and city council candidates will be knocking on your door, asking for your vote. Some will make costly promises to win that vote. Or they will promise tax freezes or cuts as if those are easy to deliver. I want to put Winnipeg’s finances into proper context before that happens.

Some critics are quick to claim that Winnipeg is pouring on new spending. The math tells a different story.

As chair of city council’s budget process from late 2016 until early 2022, I delivered seven budgets. Those budgets grew operating spending by less than a half-point more than national inflation rates, on average. With families worried about affordability, we even kept the 2022 budget operating increase to 1.2 per cent when we introduced it in November — while inflation was already much higher, at 4.7 per cent. We controlled operating costs even as we increased capital investment in roads, bridges, sewer upgrades and transit.

Many Winnipeggers dislike property taxes. As affordability challenges grow, I understand that. But the facts are: City Hall’s 2022 property tax increase was below average for Canada’s Top 10 cities. According to a 2020 City of Calgary survey, Winnipeg collects less per capita in property tax than 10 comparable cities.

Wednesday, Apr. 13, 2022

This summer, mayoral and city council candidates will be knocking on your door, asking for your vote. Some will make costly promises to win that vote. Or they will promise tax freezes or cuts as if those are easy to deliver. I want to put Winnipeg’s finances into proper context before that happens.

Some critics are quick to claim that Winnipeg is pouring on new spending. The math tells a different story.

As chair of city council’s budget process from late 2016 until early 2022, I delivered seven budgets. Those budgets grew operating spending by less than a half-point more than national inflation rates, on average. With families worried about affordability, we even kept the 2022 budget operating increase to 1.2 per cent when we introduced it in November — while inflation was already much higher, at 4.7 per cent. We controlled operating costs even as we increased capital investment in roads, bridges, sewer upgrades and transit.

Many Winnipeggers dislike property taxes. As affordability challenges grow, I understand that. But the facts are: City Hall’s 2022 property tax increase was below average for Canada’s Top 10 cities. According to a 2020 City of Calgary survey, Winnipeg collects less per capita in property tax than 10 comparable cities.

Building the jobs to support a million Winnipeggers

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Building the jobs to support a million Winnipeggers

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022

or over a decade there has been discussion about growing Winnipeg to a city of one million people. But achieving that growth will take more foresight and direct action than we have seen to date. If we want a bigger, stronger, more dynamic city, City Hall must make strategic investments and become a more aggressive problem-solver in order to fuel that growth.

If we really want Winnipeg to grow more quickly, we’re going to have to do more to grow jobs. Winnipeg must become a better host to key industries that trade across the nation and around the world.

Fourteen years ago, 20,000 acres were set aside to help Manitoba and Winnipeg firms get as close as they could to critical air, road and rail links to make it inexpensive and efficient to move their products to market. Of course, I am referring to CentrePort.

The land designated for this trade and logistics zone is split between the R.M. of Rosser and the City of Winnipeg, and Rosser has been the bigger winner thus far. In the last year alone, Rosser has attracted $40 million in development permits for its side of CentrePort, generating long-term tax revenues, creating jobs and economic benefits. Winnipeg has seen nothing close to that.

Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022

Winnipeg Free Press file photo
Properly servicing CentrePort with sewer and water will pave the way to future development and growth.

2022 budget update keeps services affordable

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Preview

2022 budget update keeps services affordable

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022

Happy new year!

With a new year comes a new budget for the City of Winnipeg. The city’s 2022 balanced budget update was adopted by council last month, and while residents are paying more for things like groceries and gasoline, (inflation rose to 4.5 per cent in October), the 2022 balanced budget keeps city services affordable for Winnipeggers by limiting the total budget increase from 2021 to 1.2 per cent.

The budget deals with challenges facing our city today, specifically the ongoing financial impacts of COVID-19, but just as importantly, it makes strategic investments in Winnipeg’s future.  

2022 will see another record commitment to road renewal with $164.7 million dedicated to regional thoroughfares and local streets and sidewalks. Investing in transportation infrastructure will move both our people and our economy for years to come, while providing crucial jobs for Winnipeggers.

Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022

Shannon VanRaes / Winnipeg Free
A cyclist crosses the Disraeli active transportation bridge. The city’s 2022 budget update includes $9 million for construction of active transportation pathways, an increase of 55 per cent over 2021.

Matt Jonsson Skatepark officially renamed on Dec. 11

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Matt Jonsson Skatepark officially renamed on Dec. 11

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Friday, Dec. 3, 2021

Skatepark West will be renamed Matt Jonsson Memorial Skatepark in honour of the young St. James resident who passed away in February after a tragic accident. He was just 24 years old.

The process to rename the skatepark was initiated in the spring by Matt’s mother, Tish, brother, Cole, and local community builder Connie Newman. The trio contacted me with the idea to change the name of Skatepark West as a way of honouring and memorializing Matt’s life and his love for the park.

Matt and his brother Cole were avid BMXers and skateboard enthusiasts who helped design the popular park that opened in 2007 at the corner of Sturgeon Road and Silver Avenue. The skate park offers young people a safe place to develop their BMX and skateboarding talents.

Matt loved the sport and spent countless hours honing his BMX skills and teaching young people how to ride. He was trained in first aid and served as a skate park ambassador. Matt was part of a tight-knit BMX community, had a large friendship group and also helped coach basketball at Collège Sturgeon Heights Collegiate.

Friday, Dec. 3, 2021

Supplied photo
Efforts to rename a skate park after Matt Jonsson have come to fruition and the park will be rededicated in his honour on Dec. 11.

Improving traffic safety on Hamilton Avenue

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Improving traffic safety on Hamilton Avenue

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Monday, Nov. 8, 2021

A recently released traffic study on Hamilton Avenue calls for several changes to be made to improve vehicle and pedestrian safety on the street.

In June 2020, a serious traffic collision at the corner of Hamilton Avenue and Crestview Park Drive prompted several calls and emails to my office by area residents expressing concerns about speeding, collisions and near misses along Hamilton Avenue over the past several years.

Within a week of the accident, I requested that the City of Winnipeg public works department conduct a traffic analysis and report publicly with recommendations to improve safety.

The study examined traffic volumes, speed and collision history, taking into account the fact volumes may have been lower than typical due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Highlights of the report include the finding that average daily traffic volumes on Hamilton Avenue is 3,100 to 4,300 vehicles per day. This is lower than other major residential collector streets, which typically see 5,000 to 12,000 vehicles per day.  

Monday, Nov. 8, 2021

Winnipeg Free Press photo archiv
A memorial for 87-year-old Leslie Freudenberg, who was killed while cycling in the area of Hamilton Avenue and Wharton Boulevard in 2016. The City of Winnipeg has conducted a traffic study of Hamilton Avenue and recommended several measures to improve safety.

Branching out in St. James

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Branching out in St. James

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Monday, Oct. 11, 2021

There was a warm, early morning south wind on Sept. 18, making it an ideal day to plant trees along the west bank of Sturgeon Creek.

The planting, north of Hamilton Avenue, was a community event that included the participation of the 1st Crestview Scout Group, residents of the Bruce Oake Recovery Centre, Assiniboia MLA Scott Johnston, and local St. James families.  

The day kicked off with a planting demonstration by Kristin Tuchscherer, the City of Winnipeg’s naturalist education co-ordinator. The 150 trees, of a variety of species, were provided by the city’s naturalist services Branch, whose staff identified and marked out the planting locations in advance.   

As the councillor for St. James I was pleased to be joined by the many participants, including the Scouts.

Monday, Oct. 11, 2021

Photo by Ian McCausland
St. James city councillor Scott Gillingham and Brian Huggard of 1st Crestview Scouts helped plant trees along the west bank of Sturgeon Creek on Sept. 18.

Changes coming to city’s pet ownership bylaw

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Changes coming to city’s pet ownership bylaw

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Tuesday, Sep. 14, 2021

I have knocked on thousands of doors in St. James over several elections. Through that process I have discovered that a lot of people in St. James own pets. Dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, rabbits and more are treated as beloved family members in homes all across our community. But with pet ownership comes responsibility.

The City of Winnipeg has a responsible pet ownership bylaw which regulates the presence of domesticated and wild animals within Winnipeg. The bylaw was enacted in 2013 to ensure people care for and control their pets in a manner that protects both the pets and members of community. The bylaw outlines topics such as licensing, leashing, vaccinating, spay and neutering and prohibiting certain dog breeds.  

Recently, the City of Winnipeg’s Animal Services department published a set of proposed changes to the responsible pet ownership bylaw. The aim of these is to strengthen the bylaw and implement best practices in animal welfare and control.

One change being proposed is to remove breed-specific legislation that currently prohibits ownership of American pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, and predominant mixes. Rather, the focus would shift to the animal’s conduct and making dog owners responsible for their pet’s behaviour, regardless of breed.  

Tuesday, Sep. 14, 2021

I have knocked on thousands of doors in St. James over several elections. Through that process I have discovered that a lot of people in St. James own pets. Dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, rabbits and more are treated as beloved family members in homes all across our community. But with pet ownership comes responsibility.

The City of Winnipeg has a responsible pet ownership bylaw which regulates the presence of domesticated and wild animals within Winnipeg. The bylaw was enacted in 2013 to ensure people care for and control their pets in a manner that protects both the pets and members of community. The bylaw outlines topics such as licensing, leashing, vaccinating, spay and neutering and prohibiting certain dog breeds.  

Recently, the City of Winnipeg’s Animal Services department published a set of proposed changes to the responsible pet ownership bylaw. The aim of these is to strengthen the bylaw and implement best practices in animal welfare and control.

One change being proposed is to remove breed-specific legislation that currently prohibits ownership of American pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, and predominant mixes. Rather, the focus would shift to the animal’s conduct and making dog owners responsible for their pet’s behaviour, regardless of breed.  

Summer’s been busy in St. James

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Preview

Summer’s been busy in St. James

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Monday, Aug. 16, 2021

As summer draws to a close, work continues on several important City of Winnipeg projects and activities in St. James. I’m pleased to share the highlights of these endeavours in the latest St. James roundup.

Funding from all three levels of government is now in place for an expansion of the St. James Civic Centre, with contributions of $5.3 million from the federal government, $4.4 million from the provincial government, and $4.3 million from the City of Winnipeg. This $14 million expansion will be the new home of the St. James

Assiniboia 55-plus Centre. Project timelines have not yet been set but will be made public when available.  

Meanwhile, the St. James Civic Centre is currently undergoing $10 million worth of upgrades and renovations. The project is nearing completion and the building is scheduled to re-open for programming this fall (a date will be publicized in the near future).

Monday, Aug. 16, 2021

As summer draws to a close, work continues on several important City of Winnipeg projects and activities in St. James. I’m pleased to share the highlights of these endeavours in the latest St. James roundup.

Funding from all three levels of government is now in place for an expansion of the St. James Civic Centre, with contributions of $5.3 million from the federal government, $4.4 million from the provincial government, and $4.3 million from the City of Winnipeg. This $14 million expansion will be the new home of the St. James

Assiniboia 55-plus Centre. Project timelines have not yet been set but will be made public when available.  

Meanwhile, the St. James Civic Centre is currently undergoing $10 million worth of upgrades and renovations. The project is nearing completion and the building is scheduled to re-open for programming this fall (a date will be publicized in the near future).

CFB Winnipeg – flying high in St. James

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Preview

CFB Winnipeg – flying high in St. James

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Friday, Jul. 16, 2021

Winnipeg residents will all be familiar with the majestic C-130 Hercules transports that frequent the skies over St. James, but few have witnessed them being tethered to a rope and muscled across the tarmac by straining teams of 20 people… all within sight of several functioning tractors.

Why? Budget cuts? No, nothing of the sort.

The ‘Herc Pull’ is just one of a number of fundraising events CFB Winnipeg hosts in support of the United Way, and one of the many ways CFB Winnipeg supports our community.

Last month, I presented a brief history of the base and its current roles in support of the Royal Canadian Air Force. This time out, I’d like to illustrate how they contribute to our neighbourhood and introduce you to the RCAF’s greatest asset: their people.

Friday, Jul. 16, 2021

Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press
Over sixty teams from workplaces across Winnipeg test their might against a C-130 Hercules and Boeing 727 aircraft at the Red River College - Stevenson Campus in this year’s United Way fundraising Campaign's 14th annual Plane Pull.

CFB Winnipeg – flying high in St. James

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Preview

CFB Winnipeg – flying high in St. James

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Friday, Jun. 25, 2021

The parachute snapped open at 2,500 feet, carrying Master Cpl. Geoff Tallis toward a remote campfire near

Big Trout Lake in northern Ontario, where one of a group of hunters had suffered an accidental but critical gunshot wound.

Both Master Cpl. Tallis and warrant officer Guay, search and rescue technicians with 17 Wing’s 435 Squadron, had plunged into the winter night from a Hercules transport, which would remain on station throughout the rescue, dropping flares and relaying messages.

The temperature aloft was -40c, with 60 knot winds but, according to Master Cp.l Tallis, “Your adrenaline’s going and you don’t even feel the cold.”

Friday, Jun. 25, 2021

Supplied photo by Cpl. Eric Grei
Members of the aeromedical training flight conduct drills utilizing the Aeromedical Bio-Containment System (AEBS) loaded inside of a C-130 Hercules in May at 17 Wing, Winnipeg. Please Credit: Corporal Eric Greico, Canadian Armed Forces Photo

Yes, it’s road construction season in St. James

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Preview

Yes, it’s road construction season in St. James

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Tuesday, Jun. 1, 2021

The warm weather has returned and that means construction season is upon us again. There are several city projects that will see important investments throughout St. James.

This year the city is investing a record $152.2 million in road renewal. The budget includes work on Portage Avenue, which is being rehabilitated in sections this summer.

Work has started on the westbound lanes of Portage from St. James Street to Moorgate Street.

Construction will feature milling the existing asphalt and placing a new asphalt overlay, repairs to the concrete base, new catch basins and curbs. Portions of the sidewalk will also be replaced as needed.When work on the westbound lanes is completed, crews will move to the eastbound lanes. Portage between David Street and St. Charles Street will also receive asphalt renewal with work scheduled to begin in July.

Tuesday, Jun. 1, 2021

The warm weather has returned and that means construction season is upon us again. There are several city projects that will see important investments throughout St. James.

This year the city is investing a record $152.2 million in road renewal. The budget includes work on Portage Avenue, which is being rehabilitated in sections this summer.

Work has started on the westbound lanes of Portage from St. James Street to Moorgate Street.

Construction will feature milling the existing asphalt and placing a new asphalt overlay, repairs to the concrete base, new catch basins and curbs. Portions of the sidewalk will also be replaced as needed.When work on the westbound lanes is completed, crews will move to the eastbound lanes. Portage between David Street and St. Charles Street will also receive asphalt renewal with work scheduled to begin in July.

Many recreation improvements for St. James

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Preview

Many recreation improvements for St. James

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Tuesday, Mar. 30, 2021

If there is a silver lining to be had in the dark cloud of the pandemic it is that it has spurred many of us outdoors over the past year, and this in turn has fostered a greater appreciation for the recreational amenities in our community.

The good news in this regard is that St. James residents will soon see $1.4 million worth of investments in local parks and playgrounds in 2021, with construction on several of these projects set to commence this summer.

Investment in wading pools, playgrounds and pathways is vital to renewing the aging recreational features we value, and many established parks and playgrounds in our community are in need of upgrades. Fortunately, all of the projects listed below have been funded through budgets approved in prior years.

The Yellow Ribbon Greenway Trail active transportation pathway will be extended west from Silver Avenue at Hamilton Avenue, along the east side of Sturgeon Creek to Saskatchewan Avenue. This will close a current gap in the active transportation trail and will mean that cyclists will soon be able to pedal from Saskatchewan Avenue at Cavalier Drive to downtown, ending at St. Matthews Avenueat Maryland Street on a combination of separated and shared bike lanes.

Tuesday, Mar. 30, 2021

Supplied photo
The Yellow Ribbon Greenway Trail, a portion of which is shown here, will be extended west from Silver Avenue at Hamilton Avenue, along the east side of Sturgeon Creek to Saskatchewan Avenue.

Happy centennial, St. James!

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Preview

Happy centennial, St. James!

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Tuesday, Mar. 2, 2021

The Rural Municipality of St. James was incorporated in 1921, so this year St. James celebrates its 100th birthday.

Established on Treaty One territory and the traditional homeland of the Métis Nation, St. James has a rich and interesting history.

Prior to its  incorporation, St. James was part of the larger municipality of Assiniboia, created in 1880. The growth and development of St. James, however, made the establishment of the community as a separate rural municipality inevitable.

Situated along the Portage Trail, now Portage Avenue, St. James was the natural choice for the next residential development contiguous to the city, and the neighbourhood immediately west of the City of Winnipeg began to expand with an influx of European immigrants in the early 1900s.

Tuesday, Mar. 2, 2021

Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press
2021 marks the centennial of the incorporation of St. James as a rural municipality. The Historical Museum of St. James-Assiniboia (above) and many others will be sharing the history of the area in the pages of The Metro throughout the year.

‘Housing first’ best approach to homelessness

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Preview

‘Housing first’ best approach to homelessness

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021

As the temperature plummets, several Winnipeg Transit shelters in St. James have become warm havens for some of the city’s homeless community.

Many of the businesses, malls, coffee shops, libraries and other public spaces that once offered a reprieve from the cold weather have closed or reduced their hours to comply with provincial pandemic restrictions. The sad result is that more of our unsheltered residents have been moving out from Winnipeg’s core to seek alternative shelter across the city.

A few weeks ago I came across a young man who appeared to be living in the heated bus shack on Portage Avenue at Overdale Street. I stopped in to ask his name and find out what he needed. As I handed him some food, Tim (not his real name) explained that he simply wanted a warm safe place to live that wasn’t a temporary shelter. Over the course of several conversations I learned that Tim had come from a broken home, one marked by violence and addiction, and had been living on the street for more than a year.

After my first visit with Tim, I called a City of Winnipeg liaison who is working with Main Street Project and End Homelessness Winnipeg to assist people like Tim.

Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021

As the temperature plummets, several Winnipeg Transit shelters in St. James have become warm havens for some of the city’s homeless community.

Many of the businesses, malls, coffee shops, libraries and other public spaces that once offered a reprieve from the cold weather have closed or reduced their hours to comply with provincial pandemic restrictions. The sad result is that more of our unsheltered residents have been moving out from Winnipeg’s core to seek alternative shelter across the city.

A few weeks ago I came across a young man who appeared to be living in the heated bus shack on Portage Avenue at Overdale Street. I stopped in to ask his name and find out what he needed. As I handed him some food, Tim (not his real name) explained that he simply wanted a warm safe place to live that wasn’t a temporary shelter. Over the course of several conversations I learned that Tim had come from a broken home, one marked by violence and addiction, and had been living on the street for more than a year.

After my first visit with Tim, I called a City of Winnipeg liaison who is working with Main Street Project and End Homelessness Winnipeg to assist people like Tim.

Submit your ideas for Winnipeg Wellness Grant

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Preview

Submit your ideas for Winnipeg Wellness Grant

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Monday, Jan. 4, 2021

Happy New Year!

Several years ago I came across an initiative in Edmonton whereby light therapy lamps had been installed in public libraries to help combat seasonal affective disorder. SAD is a condition associated with a lack of sunlight during prairie winters, and sitting under the lamp’s warm glow can brighten one’s mood and break up the darker days of winter.

I borrowed the idea and subsequently had lamps installed in both the St. James and Millennium libraries. It was a simple concept, copied and pasted from another city, but it helped many people, literally, through a dark time.

As we enter 2021, I invite you to share your own ideas on how to combat the negative effects of COVID-19. The health restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the virus continue to curtail many of our regular activities and there is a concern that these restrictions, coupled with the colder winter months ahead, could result in prolonged periods of isolation and inactivity.

Monday, Jan. 4, 2021

Happy New Year!

Several years ago I came across an initiative in Edmonton whereby light therapy lamps had been installed in public libraries to help combat seasonal affective disorder. SAD is a condition associated with a lack of sunlight during prairie winters, and sitting under the lamp’s warm glow can brighten one’s mood and break up the darker days of winter.

I borrowed the idea and subsequently had lamps installed in both the St. James and Millennium libraries. It was a simple concept, copied and pasted from another city, but it helped many people, literally, through a dark time.

As we enter 2021, I invite you to share your own ideas on how to combat the negative effects of COVID-19. The health restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the virus continue to curtail many of our regular activities and there is a concern that these restrictions, coupled with the colder winter months ahead, could result in prolonged periods of isolation and inactivity.

Balanced budget provides COVID relief, support

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Preview

Balanced budget provides COVID relief, support

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Monday, Dec. 7, 2020

As chairman of the standing policy committee on finance, I was recently privileged to table the City of Winnipeg’s preliminary 2021 balanced budget.

This document builds upon Winnipeg’s first ever multi-year balanced budget and makes investments in roads, recreation, library, and transit services. It will create and sustain jobs, support small businesses, and is responsive to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

First, the budget contains good news for many small businesses struggling due to COVID-19 restrictions, with an increase to the small business tax threshold from $35,700 to $44,200. This change will save qualifying businesses over $1,900 and eliminate business taxes for almost , more businesses, including many in St. James and Charleswood. Approximately 55 per cent of all Winnipeg businesses will receive a full credit on their business taxes in 2021.

The budget will also provide relief to property owners, small businesses, and non-profits by offering $3.75 million to extend the property and business tax deferral program in 2021. This is similar to the extension offered in 2020, waiving penalties on unpaid 2021 property and business taxes for three months beyond their due date.

Monday, Dec. 7, 2020

Supplied photo
St. James city councillor Scott Gillingham, as chair of the City of Winnipeg’s finance committee, tabled the City’s 2021 balanced budget on Nov. 27.

Second World War veteran remembers

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Preview

Second World War veteran remembers

Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020

Reykjavik, Iceland is a long way from Stonewall, Manitoba but for two years during the Second World War, Herb Chanin called a base in Reykjavik home.

Herb left his childhood home in Stonewall soon after his 18th birthday and joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, where he trained to be a flight engineer on the Canso amphibious bomber (a.k.a. “the Flying Boat”). He was stationed with 162 Squadron RCAF in Iceland for the final years of the war at a post affectionately dubbed ‘QUIT UR BELLIAKEN‘, according to a sign they had erected bearing the unofficial name.

Flight Sgt. Chanin and his crew were tasked with patrolling the North Atlantic’s icy waters looking for enemy ships and submarines in an aircraft he described as “sturdy, reliable but not comfortable.” The need to fly low and slow was also hazardous and meant they were, in his words, “sitting ducks against the German subs.”

Though shot at several times, Chanin’s plane never went down, but other Canso crews were not as fortunate.

Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020

rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca
St. James resident Herb Chanin was a flight engineer on a Canso amphibious bomber similar to this one while station in Reykjavik, Iceland, during the Second World War.

Have your say on new infill guidelines

By Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Preview

Have your say on new infill guidelines

By Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020

The City of Winnipeg recently released draft guidelines for infill development. The document, entitled Small-Scale and Low-Rise Residential Development Guidelines for Mature Communities is aimed at promoting new housing in Winnipeg’s older communities while respecting the context of existing neighbourhoods.

St. James is one of the oldest communities in Winnipeg. A mixture of 100-year old homes in mature areas, sub-divisions that were built post-war, such as Birchwood and Silver Heights, and the build-out of Westwood, St. Charles and Crestview in the 1960s makes up the majority of St. James’ current housing stock. By the mid-1970s, most available, serviced residential land had been developed.

This means that for over 40 years, infill construction has been critical to renewing the housing options available to residents of St. James.

In some instances, infill takes the form of multi-unit apartment blocks. Other times it is a straight one-for-one swap of a new home constructed on a sub-divided lot.

Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020

Ken Gigliotti / Winnipeg Free Press photo archives
Residents of Winnipeg’s older neighbourhoods are considered by the proliferation of taller infill homes on split lots.

A roundup of St. James activities

By Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Preview

A roundup of St. James activities

By Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Monday, Sep. 14, 2020

As summer winds down and we turn our attention to the rhythms of fall, I want to provide a few highlights of activity in the west quadrant of Winnipeg.

I recently hosted a virtual meeting for community club presidents of St. James. There are seven community centres in the ward that are governed by great community volunteers. These men and women commit countless hours of their time to make sure a variety of recreation and social programming is offered to residents of all ages.

The meeting provided an opportunity for the presidents to share how COVID-19 has impacted their respective centres. Many spoke of the challenges of lost revenue and the need to cancel much of their regular programming over the past several months.

As clubs look to slowly reopen, all presidents indicated a commitment to comply with public health orders through limiting the numbers of people that can gather and increasing sanitation.

Monday, Sep. 14, 2020

Supplied photo
St. James city councillor Scott Gillingham speaks at the Sept. 3 ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating completion of the renovation and expansion of Optimist Park.

Should we lower residential speed limits?

By Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Preview

Should we lower residential speed limits?

By Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Monday, Aug. 17, 2020

I regularly hear from many residents of St. James concerned about the speeds that vehicles are travelling down their streets. My office receives multiple requests every year for speed humps, slow down signs, stop signs, pedestrian crosswalks, traffic studies and increased police enforcement, all in an effort to make the streets we live on feel safer.

The people of St. James are not alone in their desire. My council colleagues receive similar requests from residents across Winnipeg who are calling for steps to be taken to improve the sense of safety on local streets. This is a trend that is growing across Canada. The cities of Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto are currently engaged in studies examining the reduction of speed limits on residential streets to something less than 50 km/h.

The City of Winnipeg is also considering reducing the default speed limit on residential streets to either 30 km/h or 40 km/h. The speed limit is currently 50 km/h on residential streets.

A recent report from the city’s administration says “(t)here is a strong interest from both Council and the public to investigate a city-wide speed limit reduction for Winnipeg’s residential streets, as reducing speeds is proven to make streets calmer, quieter, and safer for people walking, biking, driving, and enjoying their neighbourhood.”

Monday, Aug. 17, 2020

Supplied photo
St. James city councillor Scott Gillingham is in favour of lowering residential speed limits to 40 km/h. Let him know what you think.

Getting busy as St. James begins to reopen

By Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Preview

Getting busy as St. James begins to reopen

By Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Monday, Jun. 22, 2020

Summer has arrived and there is a lot of activity in St. James. Here are just a few of the highlights:

• Congratulations to the graduating class of 2020. I trust you and your classmates are able to find an alternate way to celebrate your great achievement in the midst of COVID-19. Despite the lack of formal awards ceremonies, I am pleased to once again provide the City Councillor’s award to a graduating student from each of St. James Collegiate, Jameswood Alternative School, College Sturgeon Heights Collegiate and John Taylor Collegiate. Recipients of the City Councillor’s awards will be announced by their respective schools in the next week.

• Road construction season is upon us. This year the City of Winnipeg is making a record investment in road infrastructure with $130 million slated for streets, lanes and active transportation projects. Several residential streets in St. James will see renewal through rehabilitation or reconstruction. The Empress Street reconstruction project, including the new active transportation pathway, is on schedule for completion by mid-summer. Please remember to slow down in construction zones and watch for workers.

• The Ferry Road and Riverbend sewer separation project will continue through the 2020 construction season. This $6 million project is part of the City’s combined sewer overflow relief master plan which focuses on separating the single sewage pipe system found in older neighbourhoods and installing two pipes to prevent sewer backup and diluted sewage from spilling into the river during wet weather events.

Monday, Jun. 22, 2020

Summer has arrived and there is a lot of activity in St. James. Here are just a few of the highlights:

• Congratulations to the graduating class of 2020. I trust you and your classmates are able to find an alternate way to celebrate your great achievement in the midst of COVID-19. Despite the lack of formal awards ceremonies, I am pleased to once again provide the City Councillor’s award to a graduating student from each of St. James Collegiate, Jameswood Alternative School, College Sturgeon Heights Collegiate and John Taylor Collegiate. Recipients of the City Councillor’s awards will be announced by their respective schools in the next week.

• Road construction season is upon us. This year the City of Winnipeg is making a record investment in road infrastructure with $130 million slated for streets, lanes and active transportation projects. Several residential streets in St. James will see renewal through rehabilitation or reconstruction. The Empress Street reconstruction project, including the new active transportation pathway, is on schedule for completion by mid-summer. Please remember to slow down in construction zones and watch for workers.

• The Ferry Road and Riverbend sewer separation project will continue through the 2020 construction season. This $6 million project is part of the City’s combined sewer overflow relief master plan which focuses on separating the single sewage pipe system found in older neighbourhoods and installing two pipes to prevent sewer backup and diluted sewage from spilling into the river during wet weather events.

Enjoy the fruits of your gardening labours

By Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Preview

Enjoy the fruits of your gardening labours

By Scott Gillingham 3 minute read Tuesday, May. 26, 2020

My childhood memories include working in a large vegetable garden that my family grew every year.

Like many of you, I’ve planted countless rows of carrots, peas and corn, hilled potatoes and picked so much portulaca weed that I could still see it when I closed my eyes at the end of the day. But I’m not complaining, as I inevitably enjoyed the fruit of my labour.

There are few things that taste better than new corn and potatoes, boiled just right and covered with melted butter. The vegetables not consumed at harvest time were preserved to be eaten throughout the winter. Gardening was not so much a hobby but rather a pragmatic food-security exercise that put meals on our family table.

Today, gardening remains a popular activity for many residents of St. James. For some, it may be a hobby but for all green thumbs it is a way to supplement produce purchased at the grocery store. Whether it’s raising a few tomatoes in backyard garden boxes or renting a larger plot at the local community garden operated by the St. James Horticultural Society since 1914, our community enjoys growing vegetables.

Tuesday, May. 26, 2020

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It’s gardening season, which has brought memories of his family’s vegetable garden flooding back for St. James city councillor Scott Gillingham.