There are many questions surrounding the purpose of selling John Blumberg Golf Course, which is why I moved at the Jan. 17 meeting of the property and development, heritage, and downtown development committee to oppose the City of Winnipeg’s proposed sale of the golf course.
I’m pleased that the motion passed three to one, with support from councillors Cindy Gilroy (Daniel McIntyre) and Janice Lukes (Waverley West). However, two-thirds of council must support the recommendation for the decision to be final.
(I feel it’s important to pull the curtain back on my decision and provide you some details on plans for the land made public by the R.M. of Headingley. They are available on my personal website at www.kevinklein.ca)
It would appear there is a sense of desperation for this sale and many other taxpayer-owned assets. Why? It is because of a series of bad budget decisions? Are we now in a position where we are forced to accept a bad deal out desperation for money?
If this is true, one could argue the land should be sold at a much higher price. The price of property in Winnipeg has risen more than 20 per cent in some cases.
The City of Winnipeg is preparing to sell more taxpayer-owned assets in the coming months and years, and this proposal is nothing more than yard-sale economics. Once assets are gone, they’re gone.
Social media posts indicate that this council is quick to stand on the environmental platform. However, is it not hypocritical to sell significant green space for a one-time payoff of $13 million given the calls for action to fight climate change? What about protecting our greenspaces? Let’s not forget my motion to have the city add 1,000 acres of additional green space that passed.
To view all the offers received for the sale of John Blumberg Golf Course, I would be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement to ensure I don’t share that information with residents. I would not be able to tell the people I work for and represent. I didn’t put my name on a ballot to keep secrets from residents. We have too much of that in city politics.
The backroom politics at City Hall need to be changed. The old ways are not acceptable to residents, nor is there any evidence that they benefit our community. I have attempted to change the antiquated system with no support from the inner circle or the old guard.
This council constantly talks about collaboration. Because of those claims, I asked if the public service had consulted with the RM of Headingley. The answer was no.
I spoke with John Mauseth, the mayor of Headingley, personally. He said he had the door shut on him when he offered the idea of working together.
However, he has made public some sample drawings of what the R.M. would do to improve on this valuable greenspace. You will find the images on my personal website.
Why is it so hard to look at the long-term benefits of the land?
Imagine what could be done if Winnipeg and the R.M. worked together as partners in the capital region. That’s what we are missing — leaders who can see a bigger picture, have new ideas, and who will change the status quo.
City council will decide on the proposed sale of the John Blumberg Golf Course on Jan. 27. Email your councillor and the mayor to let them know how you want them to vote.
Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood ward report
Kevin Klein is the city councillor for Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood.