When Brian Bowman was elected mayor of our fair city there was much hope and optimism, a kind of hope and change feeling. Gone would be the backroom deals and dysfunction between the elected representatives, the administration and the unions at 510 Main Street. We were entering a new era. Reconciliation, ending racism, bridging gaps, you name it we were going to get it. What we should have been promised, or rather what we should have demanded, was a greater level of competence. We’re not getting it. With a bevy of tax hikes (yes, Council, a frontage levy is a tax) including hiking our water bills to pay for infrastructure the people of Winnipeg are paying plenty these days. There’s ample of ambition to go around when it comes to more bike paths , an extended bus route, which they call Bus Rapid Transit, opening up Portage and Main to pedestrian traffic and an underpass at Waverly and Taylor. The trouble, as everyone in Winnipeg knows without being told, is that our current roads are in such deplorable condition that every penny the City takes in ought to be used for basic services and repairing the years of neglect on our streets.
Instead, the mayor and Council are committing us to building a bus corridor to the tune of some $700 million and to rub salt in our open wounds, they’re going to hand over more than $20 million to manitoba Hydro for a chunk of land that could just as easily have been transferred for nothing. Citizens are displeased and so they should be. Despite promises of change it still doesn’t look like we have anyone in our employ who knows how to negotiate a land deal nor do we have a mayor who is ready to go to battle for us.
Reading to school kids is lovely., Touring all the high schools is a nice touch. Attending every fund raising banquet Pride Parade and event designed to bring about reconciliation are all noble endeavours. But the job of the mayor of this city is first and foremost to be a sound steward of the public purse. It’s not happening.