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Questions for Candidates from Designers

[2022] On October 26, the citizens of Winnipeg will be electing our next Mayor. Storefront Manitoba and Building Equality in Architecture: Prairies have asked three local design professionals to weigh in on key questions we should be asking mayoral candidates to help us make informed decisions on election day.

 

In the next month leading up to the municipal election, Storefront will be featuring these questions in our Instagram stories. Full questions and context will be posted here, along with any responses we receive from candidates who have been forwarded these questions in advance.

Somia Sadiq: Principal Partner and Founder at Narratives Inc.

Somia Sadiq

Principal Partner and Founder at Narratives Inc.

Evan Tremblay: Founder of Atelier 617, Artist/Landscape Designer with Atelier Anonymous Global Landscape Foundation

Evan Tremblay

Founder of Atelier 617, Artist/Landscape Designer with Atelier Anonymous Global Landscape Foundation

Johanna Johanna Hurme: Principal Architect and Founder at 5468796 Architecture.jpg

Johanna Hurme

Principal Architect and Founder at 5468796 Architecture

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Somia
Somia Sadiq: Principal Partner and Founder at Narratives Inc.

1. Municipalities across the country are increasingly being delegated the Crown's Duty to Consult Indigenous communities. What steps would you take as Mayor to not just accommodate the Duty to Consult in Winnipeg's administration of lands and resources but do better?

Chris Clacio: The steps I vowed to make as I ran for the Office of the Mayor to not just accommodate the Crown's Duty to Consult in Winnipeg's administration of city resources and lands for urban indigenous people but to do better and improve upon in a post-covid world is the formal creation of a Provincial Constitution. Similar to the Province of British Columbia which is the only province in Canada that has its own established Provincial Constitution or a State Constitution like some states in the United States. The creation of a provincial constitution would redefine the city of Winnipeg relationship within the Winnipeg Metro Region aka the future Capital Planning Region with the collaboration with First Nations and Metis leadership from the Southern Chief Organization, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, and Manitoba Metis Federation. I believe the next mayor needs to think about the future not 4, 10, or 25 years into the future but for the next 10,000 years. Regional Agencies and Governments will replace the need for Federal and Provincial Governments.

Scott Gillingham: I had the privilege of working with the Winnipeg Metro Region as city council’s representative. Through this important work, I became involved in the Collaborative Leadership Initiative (CLI) in conjunction with the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources with works with elected leaders from 11 Indigenous governments and 16 municipalities to sign a historic intergovernmental agreement that has encouraged numerous joint initiatives across the Manitoba landscape. CLI Manitoba advanced the development of a reconciliation framework while building a co-governance table where government-to-government decisions are made. Having elected decision-makers at the table was a critical factor in its success. This meant consultation with Indigenous leaders on land and resources before decisions were made. I believe that should be a template for what we can achieve at city hall when I am mayor. 

Shaun Loney: Please see our Reconciliation Action Plan.

Glen Murray: This past July, I announced my five campaign priorities. One of those five commitments was “a bold new partnership in shared governance with Indigenous Peoples”. I will do much more than just “adequate consultation”. My vision is, by 2040, to see an urban Indigenous renaissance that is fueling a new energy in Winnipeg. I want to build on the foundation of the original land treaties and First Nations expressions of sovereignty over 20 years ago, and achieve new agreements between First Nations, urban Indigenous people, and the city government. I want Winnipeg to be driving a new partnership with First Nations, urban Indigenous peoples, and municipal governments. And I will ensure these efforts are properly funded.

 

2. There are many proven policy options that show great promise for fixing many of Winnipeg's biggest problems and which would result in net savings for taxpayers, such as Housing First, safe injection sites, and comprehensive Rapid Transit. The problem is that the results are long-term and aren't attractive to politicians on the municipal election cycle. As Mayor, would you pursue long-term objectives that are not likely to bear fruit until after your tenure? If so, which are your biggest priorities?

CC: I believe my response to your first question answers this second question. Back in 2014 I made a vow that I would run for public office for 2014, 2018, 2022, 2026, and 2030. I ran as a school trustee in 2014 for the 7 oaks school division ward 2, I was able to register my mayoral campaign back in 2018, and in 2022 I have finally made it onto the ballot for the 2022 mayoral election. Win or lose this election I will once again plan to run for the office of the mayor in 2026 to hold both citizens and the next mayor accountable for what they have committed to do. And when the 2030 municipal election happens I plan to support all citizens who want to run for public office as a supporter and helper of their campaigns. I call myself a civic practitioner and a policy entrepreneur and so my biggest priorities in this 2022 election is engaging all citizens about what Civics is and why it's an important asset for any citizen who is interested in running for public office when they plan to run.

SG: As mayor, I am advocating for many of these ideas, and I think many of them will bear fruit immediately and in the future.  As mayor, I am proposing a rapid housing program similar to Toronto, Vancouver and Surrey.  I would secure preapproval for six modular housing site on city land that would provide 270 units of safe housing for homeless people struggling with mental health and addiction challenges.

I had already helped to secure federal funding for 136 units and those are being built now.  I also want to accelerate a pipeline of housing sites – to access $1.5 billion in rapid housing funds from the federal government and then look for follow up funding as well.

SL: I am not a career politician. I am running for Mayor precisely to have a long term impact. I would argue that the population is interested in acting long term, we just haven't had candidates willing to show some courage to act in everyone's long term interest. I have proposed supportive housing and helping those who are currently experiencing homelessness in Winnipeg. I am in favor of supervised consumption sites. Homelessness is very complex. It will no doubt take some time to ensure those experiencing homelessness are supported and housed appropriately, but the alternative is business as usual… which is not acceptable. Please see our homeless plan.

GM: My five campaign priorities are anchored to one long-term objective: what kind of Winnipeg do we all want in 2040? 

 

I’ve committed to full electrification of Winnipeg Transit by 2030. I’ve committed to make Winnipeg Canada’s leading green, innovation economy. I’ve committed to invest the upfront funding required to break the cycle of addictions and poverty that will both save lives and reduce costs in the long run. I’ve committed to putting Winnipeg back on a financially sustainable track, where government investments build the tax base, not the tax burden. 

 

And I’ve also committed to short-term objectives:

“I will introduce a quick-start program for our first 100 days in office, and lay out the first of four, five-year planning targets. We will be more than 50% of the way to our 20-year goals within 10 years.”

Leadership means doing the right thing in the long run, even if it’s hard at first. We need to get Winnipeg back on track, and I’ll get the job done.

3. As the Mayor of this City, what specific steps will you take to advance Reconciliation beyond what any of the current administrations have done to date?

CC: Steps - Beyond Truth and Reconciliation towards Justice and Healing

  1. Complete restructuring of civic governance and public administration based on reallocating and applying city resources to increase access to local economic development moving away from talking about reconciliation in terms of politics and pivot towards discussing reconciliation in terms of good economics that balances western ways of knowing/being with indigenous ways of being/knowing.

  • Move a motion at Executive Policy Committee to direct the Office of the CAO to restructure the 6 Standing Policy Committees into 4 committees before renewing the multi-year 2024-2027 budget process.

    • Standing Policy Committee on Civic Innovation Finance (Formerly Finance and Innovation/Economics)

      • Mayor's Office, Chief Administrative Officer, Board of (Directors) Commissioners

    • Standing Policy Committee on Water and Ecosystems Services (Formerly Water, Waste and Riverbanks)

      • Transit-Oriented Development Agency (Department of Transit-Oriented Planning, Property & Development)

    • Standing Policy Committee on Local Economic Development (Formerly Protection, Community Services and Parks)

      • Department of Local Economic Development

    • Standing Policy Committee on Asset Planning and Project Management (Formerly Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works, Property/Heritage Development)

      • Department of Crisis Management (Emergency Preparedness)

 
2. Creation of Formal Elders Council of Knowledge Keepers and Policy their role...
  • Similar to the Governance Committee of Council.

    • Create a partnership with Circle of Life Thunderbird House for city funding.

    • Convert the governance committee into a committee of the whole.

    • Funded through the mayor's office.

      • Offer mentorship to the mayor's office and the governance committee.

 
3. Creation of a Matriarch Committee of Council their role...
  • Updating the City-Wide Winnipeg Safe Cities Initiative Strategy.

  • Updating the Winnipeg Indigenous Accord to include a creation of a new fund that new and old partners must contribute a certain level of funds as part of being a signatory.

  • Implementation of the TRC Calls to Action and the Reclaiming Power and Place the final report of MMIWG in a local context.

  • Expanding (rebrand) and funding "The Poverty Reduction Strategy" towards "Abolishing Poverty Strategy."

SG: Reconciliation is a daily affirmation in the workplace. As mayor, I would work with our administration to ensure that there is adequate diversity, equity and equality training in place and I would also work with Elders and experts to determine goals that should be set while I am mayor. I will also work to ensure Naawi - Oodena gets built on the lands of the former Kapyong Barracks.

SL: Please see our Reconciliation Action Plan.

GM: I've committed to “a bold new partnership in shared governance with Indigenous Peoples”. 

 

The first step will be to sit down with Indigenous leaders to craft a shared a shared vision and develop a plan. 

 

I have also committed to restoring Thunderbird House. Twenty-two years after it opened ,it now sits fenced, padlocked, and derelict. It is shocking and unacceptable, and a symbol of systemic racism.

 

4. As the Mayor of this City, what specific steps will you take to help promote density, affordability, and accessibility for all?

CC: Steps

  1. Appointment of all 4 Key Executive Policy Committee Members be female-passing elected officials, 

  2. Appointment of a Female-passing elected official to be the chair of the Police Board and to ask all newly and current elected officials to select the mayor to be the second council member on the police board,

  3. The Creation of a Matriarch Committee of Council and Role...

    • Updating the City-Wide Winnipeg Safe Cities Initiative Strategy.

    • Updating the Winnipeg Indigenous Accord to include a creation of a new fund that new and old partners must contribute a certain level of funds as part of being a signatory.

    • Implementation of the TRC Calls to Action and the Reclaiming Power and Place the final report of MMIWG in a local context.

    • Expanding (rebrand) and funding "The Poverty Reduction Strategy" towards "Abolishing Poverty Strategy."

  4. Hiring the city of Winnipegs' very first female police chief through the Police Board. 

SG: There’s much that city hall can do to address the issue of density and one of the areas that this can be addressed is the area along Pembina Highway and Portage avenue. The recent debate over infill housing focused on residential areas, but for me those corridors are “low-hanging fruit” because they are commercial corridors that have an ample supply of surface lots and underbuilt commercial sites that could also support more housing.

Pembina is well served by transit and active transportation routes, while Portage is a major transit corridor. New mixed-use zoning rules for these corridors would allow for taller housing construction, as long as these sites maintained a commercial street front. If successful, the strategy would be applied on other major corridors over time. As mayor, I would also allow residential construction over medium and large retail malls, as-of-right, conditional on setbacks to minimize impacts on nearby residents. These sites already have services, ample parking and transit connectivity, and residential projects are already taking off as a trend in other North American cities. There should also be a new tender for affordable housing construction over Portage Place. A recent effort to build more than 500 new homes over Portage Place faltered amid confusion over affordable housing incentives offered by each government. As Mayor, I would work with other governments, the Forks (as the landowner for the site) and Indigenous partners to tender a common aid package to any qualified bidder.

I will have city staff immediately begin to investigate what can be done to increase office-to-residential conversions in the downtown.

SL: Making infill development easier, and the establishment of a Community housing Land Trust.

GM: I will listen to and consider all ideas that help ensure everyone has the key to a safe home, and can move around the city comfortably on transit. The “sweeping governance review” that I proposed in July included: 

  • Review the role of neighbourhood housing plans, community development agencies, resident and neighbourhood associations, community centre boards and the state of neighbourhood recreation, housing and safety plans. Review successful neighbourhood initiatives, especially neighbourhoods designated under trilateral government housing initiatives, and recommend strategies to strengthen and resource neighbourhood-level renewal and development initiatives, planning and governance.

 

5. As the Mayor of the City, what specific steps will you take to address Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls and Two Spirited Folkx (MMIWG2S) as well as Murdered and Missing Indigenous Men and Boys (MMIMB)?

CC: Steps

  1. Appointment of all 4 Key Executive Policy Committee Members be female-passing elected officials, 

  2. Appointment of a Female-passing elected official to be the chair of the Police Board and to ask all newly and current elected officials to select the mayor to be the second council member on the police board,

  3. The Creation of a Matriarch Committee of Council and Role...

    • Updating the City-Wide Winnipeg Safe Cities Initiative Strategy.

    • Updating the Winnipeg Indigenous Accord to include a creation of a new fund that new and old partners must contribute a certain level of funds as part of being a signatory.

    • Implementation of the TRC Calls to Action and the Reclaiming Power and Place the final report of MMIWG in a local context.

    • Expanding (rebrand) and funding "The Poverty Reduction Strategy" towards "Abolishing Poverty Strategy."

  4. Hiring the city of Winnipegs' very first female police chief through the Police Board. 

SG: This has been a horrible stain on Canadian history that cannot be allowed to continue, and the Tina Fontaine murder was a turning point in Winnipeg’s history. Our policy decisions are informed by the recommendations of Reclaiming Power and Place Calls for Justice and as mayor, I will work to ensure that we maintain the important recommendations from both the inquiry and those calls for justice. We must work with Indigenous elders and community leaders so that marginalized women, girls and boys are kept safe. 

SL: Shaun is proposing support of educational campaigns such as the moosehide campaign and encourages services such as IKWE Safe Ride.

GM: I am committed to transformative change to end systemic racism and violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. I look forward to working with City officials, and Indigenous leaders to develop Winnipeg’s Action Plan, and advance reconciliation.

 

6. As the Mayor of the City, what specific steps will you take to promote development in our downtown core?

CC: Steps

  1. Move a motion at Executive Policy Committee to direct the Office of the CAO, the Office of Civic Engagement, the land use and zoning division of the city planning department to merge or abolish the downtown zoning by-law, removing parking standards, abolishing single family zoning to be replaced by mixed use zoning, including inclusionary zoning like density bonusing and creation of a infill big scale and high rise residential developments guidelines.

  2. Build Partnerships with the non-profit housing sector to convert all surface parking lots in the downtown to mixed use housing developments to put into practice a housing first strategy for the downtown.

  3. Repurposing unused downtown office spaces to be renovated for adaptive reuse to be redesigned to rent geared to income households.

  4. Expand the spirit and the ideas of Innovation Alley into the downtown centre to be the entrepreneurial hub of the world for research, innovation, civic governance, and the arts.

  5. Establishing more active living spaces in downtown with a nightlife strategy and making downtown a complete neighbourhood with a grocery store.

  6. Promote and invest in the technological gig and shared knowledge economies of the future through building and developing a downtown that is welcoming and invites all citizens to play, live, or work no matter the race, country, religion, or gender. Downtown is the starting place.

SG: I will build on the work I’ve done as council finance chair to fund and implement the Downtown Recovery Plan established by the Downtown Winnipeg Biz. COVID has been tough on businesses and in particular the downtown, but the Downtown Winnipeg Biz is best situated to handle and respond to the vagaries of the economic downturn. Its really the champion for the downtown and as mayor I will continue to support the professionals who work for the organization and their goals. My plans include, redevelopment of surface parking lots, office-to-residential conversions, tax increment financing incentives for development of affordable housing, enhanced streetscaping and more frequent/reliable Transit service.  

SL: The future of downtown Winnipeg is very important. To make downtown a place where people actually want to be, first and foremost we need to address public safety, and that starts with homelessness, specifically unsheltered people occupying bus shelters. We have a plan that empowers expert nonprofits to ramp up their capacity and good work. Public safety also increases with the number of people in the area. We will establish a position dubbed the “nightlife mayor” to champion all things fun after 5pm and make sure that happens safely. Think about the vibe during “nuit blanche”, it's like a different city, we could use more of that. Lastly, I would encourage more people to make downtown their home. The more people that live here the safer and more attractive it becomes.

GM: I've released several components on my approach to downtown development:

Commitments from my statement on Portage and Main: 

“There are creative options available for all key parts of downtown that require comprehensive planning, proper community engagement, and a vision for the next chapter in our revitalization.

We need to build a beautiful and exciting city that includes a vibrant downtown, and we need to complete an intensive downtown planning process to make this happen. The current plan has been in place for 20 years, and it’s time for a renewal. I am going to be guided and make sure that City Council is guided by the results of this planning as determined by what Winnipeggers view as the priorities for downtown. It will be my job to make sure that everyone has an unfettered view and understanding of the evidence, the options, and the choices that Winnipeggers can make so that they are fully aware and engaged to best form their opinions.

Our downtown plan has to deal with, among other things, rebuilding the downtown tax base and reversing years of underdevelopment in the central business district in and around Portage and Main. The solution has to achieve three goals:

  1. A healthy environment for street level business and stimulating infill development on excessive amount of underdeveloped properties, including surface parking lots,

  2. Reducing traffic congestion and making the area better connected and more walkable, and

  3. A comprehensive review that will be part of our new downtown planning process.”

Additional commitments from my news release announcing a sweeping review of Winnipeg’s governance:

Undertake a review of CentreVenture with a focus on restoring its past authority, budgets and capacity to deliver redevelopment and residential infill projects in the city centre using the successful precinct approach to downtown renewal, as laid out by Ken Greenberg in the Original Centre Plan Strategy. Also, recommend a renewed mandate for the development agency consistent with the Complete Communities direction strategy in Our Winnipeg. Retool and enhance CentreVenture’s ability relative to best and leading practices in other jurisdictions.


Further review the feasibility of merging the Winnipeg Parking Authority with CentreVenture under the framework of a mobility agency inclusive of parking within a downtown mobility mandate and utilizing CentreVenture’s restored financing authority to further leverage downtown residential infill and mobility, transit, cycling, car share, parking and walkability strategies. Given the Parking Authority operates primarily in the downtown, assess the feasibility of moving its residential permit and non-downtown services to the Public Works Department.

 

Transit commitments in previous news release. 

 

7. As the Mayor of the City, how do you plan on supporting Indigenous communities with rebuilding economies that have been lost all these years?

CC: Through the Department of Local Economic Development and the Office of Civic Engagement the city of Winnipeg will formulate the Creation of the intercultural cities strategy in collaboration for the arts, recreational (Winnipeg Community Sport Policy) and leisure programs

  • More investments in arenas, civic centres, libraries, museums, pools, cemeteries, parks, the archives and the creation of a municipal ID card to access all city services by updating the access without fear policy.

  • Creation of a National Basketball Association team for Winnipeg, MB.

SG: I am fully committed to more seeing more Indigenous-led economic development in the city. I will work with Indigenous leaders pursuing Treaty Land Entitlement opportunities to realize economic development that will transform our city. The benefits will be felt by both Indigenous and nonIndigenous Winnipeggers alike. The recently adopted municipal development service agreement, approved for Naawi Oodena while I was on council, establishes a servicing framework that can be used as a template for future Indigenous-led economic developments. As Mayor, the development of Naawi Oodena will be a priority.

SL: Shaun has listened to many Indigenous people about how colonization has impacted them. He has been endorsed by Mae Louise Cambell. Reconciliation is an ongoing process that Shaun is committed to.

GM: I am committed to transformative change to end systemic racism and violence against Indigenous women and girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. I look forward to working with City officials, and Indigenous leaders to advance Winnipeg’s reconciliation path.

Somia Sadiq

Principal Partner and Founder at Narratives Inc.

Evan
Evan Tremblay: Founder of Atelier 617, Artist/Landscape Designer with Atelier Anonymous Global Landscape Foundation

Evan Tremblay

Founder of Atelier 617, Artist/Landscape Designer with Atelier Anonymous Global Landscape Foundation

1. Winnipeg bylaws prohibit allowing grass on private property to exceed six inches in height, privileging a particular aesthetic ill-suited to our climate. Should this be changed? What is the balance between ecological health and personal aesthetics? If six inches is a reasonable height, would you amend bylaws to speak of ‘ground cover’ rather than ‘turf’?

Chris Clacio: To answer this question I would need to establish a solid logic and foundation of what are the concerns related to allowing grass on private property to exceed 6 inches in height. Is it purely an aesthetic concern that some or all neighbourhood residents disapprove of seeing grass over 6 inches? Are there any benefits to having grass over 6 inches such that it is thought of as green infrastructure that could help the city to save costs related to stormwater management? For me I am a big believer in science, data, research, and talking to subject matter experts to help formulate the proper responses to citizens' concerns to deal with specific city by-laws. I am not an ecologist so it would be unwise for me as a non expert to find the middle ground to the question of ecological health and personal aesthetics or even give a proper response whether 6 inches is a reasonable height. The question of amending the by-law to speak of a "ground cover' rather than 'turf' is a really exciting question. I would love to ask city staff what difference would that definition make within the by-law in terms of interpretation. That would be my first question I would ask when I am elected.

Scott Gillingham: As we move away from traditional conceptions of what we consider acceptable in our neighbourhoods and what is more acceptable to climate change, there’s little doubt that this is an issue that will have to be revisited. I am certainly open to that discussion when I become mayor. 

Shaun Loney: Yes, I would like to see the by-laws which regulate the height of one’s lawn amended to allow thoughtful non-traditional lawns. This is however not intended to permit people from just letting their Kentucky bluegrass go. Those who choose to cultivate a native landscape in their yard should be encouraged to do so, this is both beautiful and beneficial for our pollinators and local biodiversity in general.

Glen Murray: Glen welcomes all conversations but has not developed a position on this issue.

2. More than 1 out 10 residents of Winnipeg are Indigenous. At the municipal level, what can be done to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, in particular ensuring access to Traditional medicines and the ability to practice Traditional forms of spirituality in relation to the land?

CC: As an individual who has worked with many urban indigenous young people within mature neighbourhoods within the inner city for over 7 years. The only way that the municipal level could do better to put into practice the "United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People" or UNDRIP would be to hire and/or include urban indigenous young people and knowledge keepers to be included in civic governance processes and public administration key staffing positions to design, develop, and evaluate accessibility to city services, resources, and civic spaces like citizen gardens, parks, and green spaces. I have also vowed to create a formal elders council of knowledge keepers and policy which would direct the office of the mayor and support a governance committee of council as a whole to help advocate and educate city hall in acknowledging traditional medicines and spirituality within key elected official and city staff.

SG: Reconciliation is an ongoing commitment and when I am mayor it will be part of my job to ensure that this is reflected in the work that we do. It’s important to flag two important institutions in Winnipeg that have been crucial in celebrating the relationship between Indigenous people and the land. The first is The Forks and the Oodena Celebration Circle surrounded by the beautiful Prairie Garden and the newly built Indigenous Peoples Garden in Assiniboine Park. This was designed through a collaborative process involving Indigenous elders, designers, and community leaders. Both of these are supported by the city of Winnipeg and as your mayor, I would work to continue to showcase them as integral to our identity. 

I also would like to point out that Winnipeg has an Indigenous Accord which as councillor I voluntarily signed at the first opportunity. As mayor I will continue to pursue the goals of reconciliation I committed to as laid out in that Accord. (https://winnipeg.ca/indigenous/pdfs/CoW-Indigenous-Accord.pdf). It recognizes the perspectives and understandings of Indigenous Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers of the ethics, concepts, and practices of reconciliation are vital to long-term reconciliation and requires the city to support Indigenous peoples’ cultural revitalization and integrate Indigenous knowledge systems, oral histories, laws, protocols, and connections to the land into the reconciliation process. This is essential.

SL: Many things can be done at a municipal level that can be implemented as part of UNDRIP. We encourage you to read our reconciliation action plan. Before entering politics, I started an organization called BUILD. A majority of the employees at this organization are Indigenous and are encouraged to incorporate some cultural practices into the workplace including smudging. I would continue to encourage cultural practices and support access to harvesting of wild medicines and their cultivation within the city limits.

GM: Glen welcomes all conversations but has not developed a position on this issue.

3. The loss of Winnipeg’s urban forest, which took generations to grow, is accelerating. Its loss represents a rollback in quality-of-life for residents and a decline in many measures of fitness for dealing with extreme weather events. Beyond a commitment to ensuring best-practices in urban forest management are followed and adequately funded, what would you do to transform this loss into an opportunity?

CC: First of all I would excitingly establish that I have vowed to Tree's Please Winnipeg 3 pledges to replace 1 lost tree with 4 new trees, maintain and reduce the 32 year pruning cycle to the standard 7 year pruning cycle for both street and parks trees, and include a tree protection zone within the construction and development process. I have also made a vow to support the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society Manitoba group to hold conversation with higher levels of government to maybe expand the Assiniboine Forest to become a Urban National Park and the possibilities of connecting it to Fort Whyte Alive into a wilderness corridor. One of my platform documents in the election I discuss the possibilities of completely restructuring public administration and civic governance to better coordinate city services with the expansion of water and waste into ecosystem services inside city hall. In another of my documents I vowed to work with the Winnipeg Metro Region aka the future Capital Planning Region to better coordinate the creation of a Regional Ecosystem Services Agency for the region.

SG: This is what Winnipeg is known for and it’s heartbreaking to see our trees disappear. I have made a pledge to plant more trees (the Trees Please Pledge). As councillor, I was proud to help secure federal funding to plan a million trees in Winnipeg. As mayor I would set a seven-year pruning schedule for city-owned trees and establish a policy that for every public tree lost, the city should plant at least two new trees. I would also require tree protection to be incorporated into construction projects and fully implement Winnipeg’s Urban Forest Strategy, which is being developed.

SL: We have announced a very exciting Winnipeg Tree Trust, to really lean into the benefits of trees. Trees have been undervalued for so long, I intend to recognize and treat them as a valuable type of infrastructure, see our green infrastructure plan. One of the focuses is the role of trees in reducing the amount of raw sewage being dumped into Winnipeg's waterways and speeding up the implementation of the CSO masterplan. I am proud to be the first candidate to take the Trees Please Pledge and am fully committed to ensuring revenue is prioritized.

GM: One of my commitments is to protect as much nature as possible. I will meet with all groups looking to advance national urban parks proposals, and will champion as many as possible. I also recently pledged to introduce a Natural Capital Budget to designate trees as essential infrastructure. These are but two of the steps I would take to begin the process of rebuilding Winnipeg's urban forest.

 

4. How would you increase the resiliency of food systems in Winnipeg? What are the current barriers to residents being able to grow their own food, businesses reducing food waste, and the city implementing the long-delayed urban composting program, and how can these be addressed in a reasonable timeframe? 

CC: With the restructuring of public administration to redesign city departments to allocate and coordinate resources in an efficient manner; I have also vowed to restructure civic governance that would better serve city council as a whole is the inclusion of the boards and commissions with the creation of 7 specific committees of council one of which would be the expansion of the Winnipeg Food Council into an Urban Food Committee of Council. Which would be designed to address the implementation of the Manitoba Food Charter; research and  development of best practices for green infrastructure tech, citizen gardens, environmental stewardship, and ecosystem services.

The current barriers for the creation of the long-delated urban composting program in Winnipeg and Manitoba is the lack of capable local composting companies and social enterprises that have the proper staff, equipment, and experts that have the infrastructure to fully implement a city wide mixed use composting program. I believe the only way the city of Winnipeg would be able to address composting in our city in a reasonable timeframe is by contracting out this program to Compost Winnipeg from Green Action Centre to support them by bringing together the Winnipeg Foundation to fund Compost Winnipeg.

SG: There’s been a lot of demand for a composting program in Winnipeg and we just wrapped up a pilot program. I am awaiting the results of that pilot program and I will make an assessment at that time. It’s expected a full report will be going to the new council after the election. 

SL: As inflation has hit a 40 year high, and food prices have jumped it is important that we provide opportunities for more people to be able to grow food right here in the city. The community gardens we have are an ok start, there is lots of opportunity for the city to open up additional plot space along with reviewing the size of the plots and the annual fees charged. On the cities end, division and preparation of allotments on an annual basis is a low cost service that has an outsized positive impact, especially when the allotment is for a low income family. I'm not convinced that charging a fee is necessary or appropriate.

 

5.  Construction is a fact of life in Winnipeg, but all too often necessary repairs are carried out in a sloppy manner which makes it difficult for people with mobility issues to navigate public sidewalks strewn with gravel, rubbish, and confusing signage. What would be your approach to ensuring all residents are able to move around the city with ease and dignity? 

CC: My approach to ensuring all residents are able to move around the city with ease and dignity is by reforming the current city procurement process from RFx or "Request for Proposals" into a "Qualification-Based Selection" or a "Request for Qualification" process. Currently the RFP process does not require the city to ask within the bidding/contracting process for the construction companies to include the city's universal design standard within the construction project. The QBS process would establish requirements for all new road construction and building projects to include the accessibility design standard in the procurement process. One of the biggest changes I have vowed to make is the creation of a special operating agency of the transit-oriented development and department of local economic development. This structural change would move the transit plus away from Winnipeg Transit into community services which would also be expanded into citizen and advocacy services. This paradigm shift will help and support citizens with social mobility to better improve services that have an impact on accessibility concerns for all citizens.

SG: ​This is something of concern not only for those with mobility issues, but for anyone who is pushing a stroller or uses a grocery cart. As mayor, I am committed to push for increased accessibility upgrades across the city. Steps would include identification through public engagement of the worst barriers to access throughout the community, both public and private. As well, my Neighborhood Action Team would help identify areas that are in need of clean up when construction crews have left behind a mess and will also help Winnipeggers with mobility challenges during snowstorms. Through the teams, the city will have more permanent staff available to plow unsafe sidewalks without interrupting other priority clearing operations.

SL: For the overall financial and environmental health of our city it is preferable to have a much more compact urban form. As far as new development goes we should be encouraging density and infill development. Having said that the process of construction can be quite disruptive, we are proposing a carrot and stick approach to construction companies using a considerate contractor program. We want to incentivise good behaviour and ensure we have dedicated enforcement to discourage by-law infractions.

GM: We need to reevaluate how we approach construction and street repair with regard to how we we help people navigate public sidewalks. I agree that this is an issue and I would examine ways to address these challenges if elected Mayor.

 

6.  What strategies would you employ to address growing problems of sound and light pollution? Are there specific cities whose success in addressing these issues can be emulated? Would you support a phase-out of gas-powered lawn equipment? 

CC: Strategies that I would try and employ to address growing problems of sound and light pollution in our city would be the creation of a data governance structure similar to the First Nations Governance and Information Centre and OCAP that would help promote data analysis for the city's current open data portal, digital infrastructure like open-contracting standards; smart contracts, smart city technology like blockchain that would work with local tech startups to help the city study and research reduction of sound and light pollution. The specific city I would be looking at as the epitome that is already doing research in Canada is the city of Ottawa which created its own smart city strategy back in November of 2017. I fully support the phasing-out of gas-powered lawn equipment. This is why I believe the city needs to work in collaboration with local tech startups and promote the sector.

SG: This is a global issue and certainly one that bears watching. As mayor, I am interested in monitoring what’s being done in other municipalities. As for phasing out gas-powered lawn equipment, I don’t see that as being feasible at this time. 

SL: A review of the noise pollution in our city is well overdue. Given improvements in technology and widespread availability of battery powered lawn equipment I would be open to discussions about phasing out residential versions of this equipment. Furthermore, I hope to resource our traffic police with updated equipment to be able to enforce and ticket vehicles intentionally modified to be loud.

GM: Glen welcomes all conversations but has not developed a position on this issue.

Johanna Hurme: Principal Architect and Founder at 5468796 Architectureedited.jpg
Johanna

Johanna Hurme

Principal Architect and Founder at 5468796 Architecture

1. Winnipeg is one of the least dense major cities in the World and over 70% of the City of Winnipeg’s annual budget is spent on items directly linked to distance – KMs driven, length of road, meters of utility pipe etc. Our infrastructure deficit is in the billions. 

 

Between 1971-2019 WPG’s population increased by 37%, while its land area increased by 96%. From 1971 – 2011, Winnipeg as a whole grew by 129,000 people, but population in Mature Communities declined by 88,000 people – hollowing our city at its core. This growth trend results in every Winnipeg citizen receiving less and less quality and service in exchange for their tax dollars.

 

Good urban design vision and specific planning strategies provide key solution to the issue, economically, environmentally and socially. 

 

What specific policies would you would you as a Mayor advocate for and put in place to address Winnipeg’s unsustainable footprint and to reverse its growth pattern?

Chris Clacio: The creation of the Regional Light Rail Transit System for the Winnipeg Metro Region aka the Capital Planning Region. In my platform document that I released on September I discuss the idea of the city of Winnipeg would work with the 17 other municipalities in the region to work in collaboration with the Province of Manitoba, Southern Chiefs Organizations, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), and the Association of Manitoba Municipalities to create a Regional Transportation Development Corporation Act. Which would be a supplement to "The Planning Act and the City of Winnipeg Charter Amendment Act.

Scott Gillingham: Portage Avenue and Pembina Highway are two opportunities for densification that need to be captured, as I mentioned in a previous answer. New mixed-use zoning rules for these (transit) corridors would allow for taller housing construction, with no required parking minimums, as long as these sites maintained a commercial street front. If successful, the strategy would be applied on other major corridors over time. As mayor, I would also allow residential construction over medium and large retail malls, as-of-right, conditional on setbacks to minimize impacts on nearby residents. These sites already have services, ample parking and transit connectivity, and residential projects are already taking off as a trend in other North American cities. There should also be a new tender for affordable housing construction over Portage Place. A recent effort to build more than 500 new homes over Portage Place faltered amid confusion over affordable housing incentives offered by each government. As Mayor, I would work with other governments, the Forks (as the landowner for the site) and Indigenous partners to tender a common aid package to any qualified bidder.​ And I will task city staff to look at what needs to be done to enable more office-to-residential conversations in the downtown.

Shaun Loney: Shaun wants to reduce urban sprawl because of the many environmental impacts of urban sprawl. Please see our infill strategy and our “fix it first” infrastructure plan.

Glen Murray: I think we have to take steps to make living in Winnipeg's downtown more attractive. We need more varied and more affordable housing options in the downtown, and I would work with other levels of government to help facilitate this. We need to incentivize business to locate in our core again. I've also mentioned improvements to Winnipeg Transit that would greatly reduce the inconvenience many people experience with transit and encourage them to not only abandon their vehicles, but consider living closer to downtown.

 

 

City of Winnipeg famously lost its court case on impact fees to Developers in 2020. Development charges or levies offset the cost of new infrastructure, enabling municipalities to use their limited capital funds to pay for the maintenance and upgrading of existing infrastructure. Properly structured, impact fees could have been used as a planning tool to direct development in desired areas. 

 

As Aaron Moore, an associate professor in political science at the University of Winnipeg, an adjunct professor in city planning at the University of Manitoba, and a fellow at the Institute on Municipal Finance and Government, University of Toronto, points out, the City of Winnipeg lack the clear authority to levy such a charge in the first place. Unlike other municipalities across MB and Canada — big and small — who enjoy such authority almost uniformly, the City of Winnipeg is exempt from most of The MB Planning Act, including Section 143 that would grant the authority to charge levies and the Winnipeg charter provides no similar option. Moore further speculates ''that the province omitted such a tool from the charter as a result of lobbying from the city's powerful development industry’.

 

It’s not a secret that sprawl is expensive, and regardless of the developer lobby slogan, 'development pays for itself’, multiple peer reviewed studies have proven otherwise. In a 2015 report for the Victoria Transport Policy Institute and London School of Economics, transportation scholar Todd Litman analyzed the total cost of suburban sprawl in the US. On average, Litman estimates the annual, per capita cost of sprawl is “approximately $4,556, of which $2,568 is internal (borne directly by sprawl location residents) and $1,988 is external (borne by other people).” As Litman points out, the costs are not equitably distributed, and in the long term, the negative impacts leave everyone worse off. 

 

2. As Mayor, would you be willing to take on the suburban development lobby to curb sprawl and to ensure that the every other Winnipegger is not going to be left holding the bag? If so, what would you do specifically to address the economic, social and environmental impact of further greenfield development?

CC: Move a motion at Executive Policy Committee to direct the Office of the CAO, the Office of Civic Engagement, the land use and zoning division of the city planning department to merge or abolish the downtown zoning by-law, removing parking standards, abolishing single family zoning to be replaced by mixed use zoning, including inclusionary zoning like density bonusing and creation of a infill big scale and high rise residential developments guidelines.

 

Reforming the current procurement or purchasing process from a "request for proposal" (RFx) into a "request for qualification" or a "qualification-based selection process." 

SG:  I think there needs to be a balanced approach – both diversification and new greenfield development. Again, I am going to point to my promise to focus on infill development in mature neighbourhoods and densifying Portage avenue and Pembina with new mixed-use zoning rules for these corridors would allow for taller housing construction, as long as these sites maintained a commercial street front. If successful, the strategy would be applied on other major corridors over time. As mayor, I would also allow residential construction over medium and large retail malls, as-of-right, conditional on setbacks to minimize impacts on nearby residents. These sites already have services, ample parking and transit connectivity, and residential projects are already taking off as a trend in other North American cities. There should also be a new tender for affordable housing construction over Portage Place. A recent effort to build more than 500 new homes over Portage Place faltered amid confusion over affordable housing incentives offered by each government. As Mayor, I would work with other governments, the Forks (as the landowner for the site) and Indigenous partners to tender a common aid package to any qualified bidder.

GM: Rather than being in constant conflict with the so-called suburban development lobby, I would like to engage them in a broader discussion of development in Winnipeg. We need to reset the relationship. It does not have to be antagonistic. I don't want to punish suburban development - I would much rather make it more desirable for people to choose to live downtown.

 

 

3. Winnipeg is projected to grow by 160,000 residents by 2040 and requires about 82,000 new residential units. The Halifax Regional Municipality calculated that annual services of an suburban household cost over $2,000 more to taxpayers than an urban household. If we apply the same math to Winnipeg, and if we directed all of the new growth expected over the next 25 years into our mature city, we would save about 4 billion dollars in just municipal service costs.

 

The newly adopted Our Winnipeg 2045 + Complete Communities Secondary Plan identifies "Targeting at least 50% of all new dwelling units to be built in the existing built-up area of the city.” This target exceeds the current practice by mere 5% – and leaves 50% of all future development to be located in greenfield areas, further exacerbating sprawl.   

 

Do you think this target should be amended? As Mayor, what percentage of infill would you support?

CC: Yes I would amend that to targeting at least 100% of all new dwelling units to be built in the existing built-up area of the city.” I would love to see the 20% of the city ownership of surface parking lots of the downtown area be developed into multi-family rent geared to income home before the city allocates more development on greenfield areas of the suburban areas.

SG: I support the 50% target established. This is an issue of market demand, and while I appreciate the question, I also appreciate the homeowners who are making the choice to buy homes in those communities. If we don’t provide this opportunity, we risk losing them to the bedroom markets outside of Winnipeg and then we lose our tax base. 

GM: I think, first of all, that it's commendable that the Plan proposes targeting a greater percentage of new units to be built in the existing built-up area of the City. But, yes, I would support and encourage efforts to increase this number. I think we should be aiming for closer to 60% of future development to be built in existing built-up areas of the City.

 

4. One of the key deterrents of increasing infill development [aside from fear of change by existing residents] is lack of City wide Utility Assessment that would determine the capacity of existing utility lines in mature and existing built-up areas. 

 

As Mayor, would you be willing to commit the necessary budget for conducting such a study and to create data base that would serve to inform future development and guide much needed upgrades? 

CC: The answer is unequivocally Yes.

SG: Yes, as council Finance Chair I introduced the budget that committed money ($3 million in the last budget) for an analysis of the capacity of the services in the established neighbourhoods to determine what can be built and where. As mayor, I will ensure that this information will be used to guide city planning to enhance infill. 

GM: Yes, as Mayor I would be willing to commit the necessary budget for conducting this study and to create a database that would serve to guide future development and upgrades.

 

5. City of Winnipeg is governed by 15 city councillors elected through a ward system with district representation. Many other cities have an at-large electoral system, or a hybrid system, where voters choose city councillors and the mayor from an exhaustive list of candidates. It’s understood that councillors elected at-large will promote policies generally in line with the average voters preferences, whereas policies advocated by ward-based councillors will be more closely tied with particular interest groups in their districts. As a result, ward councillors will be more focused on their districts whereas at-large representatives will be more attuned to the general interests of the city. Number of sources accuse the ward-system of being responsible for fragmenting the city, leading to vote-trading, and standing in the way of a unified vision. 

 

Do you think any at-large or hybrid system would result in more sustainable, unified or ambitious outcome for the City of Winnipeg? If yes, why? If no, why?

CC: Depends on what the purpose of the new system would be. I believe the city should move a motion for the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer and the office of civic engagement to partner up with a post-secondary institution to do a study and an administrative report on replacing the ward system with an at-large or hybrid system.

SG: These are questions that come up regularly during elections and they are always important for the debate on democracy. However, while there may be pros to the at-large system there are also cons to the system and one of them is that it’s very difficult for individuals who do not have a great deal of money to mount that kind of campaign. It’s easier to door knock and campaign and get feedback in one smaller ward than to try and blanket an entire city with campaign signs. I personally value a variety of candidates from an array of backgrounds making it possible to have a diversity of voices on council. That said, it is important the voters elect councillors who can understand their role as both city builder and local representative.

GM: There are merits to both systems. Certainly, as you mention, an at-large system would be better at encouraging a "unified vision" in terms of the best interests of Winnipeg as a whole. But our current system, on the other hand, ensures that each area of the City is represented at Winnipeg City Council. Prior to Unicity we had thirteen separate cities that made up the greater Winnipeg area. It would be difficult to take local representation out of the hands of citizens.

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