A campaign of hotly contested opinions
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This article was published 22/10/2018 (1498 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Winnipeg had a brisk start to fall this year, but the cool weather and October snow didn’t slow down campaign efforts or the civic election on Oct. 24.
In addition to the mayoral election, which has been a hotly contested race between eight candidates, there is the referendum on opening Portage and Main, which seems to face widespread opposition throughout the city.
Candidates in St. Vital have been making the rounds to talk with residents and to get their signs out. In St. Vital, there are two candidates running for the St. Vital city council seat — Brian Mayes, the incumbent since 2011, and Baljeet Sharma.
Mayes and Sharma and their teams, have been braving the cold and going door to door, to talk to residents in person, hear their concerns, and hopefully to get their vote. There is more ground for candidates to cover this year, too, as the St. Vital ward was recently expanded to include Royalwood and Sage Creek.
The top reported issues for St. Vital voters are roads and public transit, while the opening of Portage and Main also prompts strong opinions. Opening the intersection would have a major impact on St. Vital residents, as Main Street turns into St. Mary’s Road, which is already a heavily travelled commuter route through St. Vital.
It is likely the referendum will fail, and both Mayes and Sharma oppose the opening of Portage and Main, saying there are other more compelling issues.
Yet, despite common local concerns about traffic delays and pedestrian safety and a lack of support from local politicians, the impact studies on opening Portage and Main do not find any major increased delays and report that the intersection is no more dangerous than any other in the downtown. In fact, safety would be improved by better sightlines and accessibility once the barriers are removed.
As part of his platform, Mayes has advocated for improving the infrastructure on St. Mary’s to improve traffic flow on both St. Mary’s and St. Anne’s Road, as well as for better Handi-Transit service throughout the city. Top priorities for Sharma include paving back lanes in St. Vital and moderating increasing ambulance costs, because high ambulance costs are an issue for many seniors.
In Louis Riel School Division Ward 2 there are four candidates for trustee — Chris Sigurdson and Robert Page, who are the incumbents, and Rodger Salm and Mark Olfert, who are running for the first time.
Salm, Olfert, and Sigurdson have priorities that range from increasing inclusivity and diversity to improving safety for students.
Whatever the result, this has been a race of strong opinions throughout Winnipeg.
Abigail Byle is a community correspondent for St Vital. Follow her on Twitter, @abbyinitio or email her, email@example.com