WINNIPEG – Entering his third year as mayor, Brian Bowman’s state of the city address hammered on what will be one of the defining pillars of his administration.
For months, Bowman has reiterated that ‘growth needs to pay for growth,’ and this year’s address to a pro-business crowd spent a good deal of time focusing on why he thinks growth fees are necessary.
The opening of Portage and Main again came up, as the mayor announced he’s received letters of support from property owners about the intersection. It’s an issue that Bowman has been a vocal supporter of despite the desire of a lot of Winnipeggers to keep it closed.
Bowman talked a lot about technology and innovation, and expressed support for ride-sharing services like Uber. He says he wants to work with the province and the Taxicab Board (which has been a harsh opponent of allowing Uber in the city) to make it a reality.
Many anticipated that the mayor would announce the city’s first Chief Innovation Officer today, and he did, naming Michael Legary as the CIO. Legary has been a big part of Winnipeg’s so-called ‘innovation alley.’
A logistics desk will be set up at the Chamber of Commerce to help ‘cut red tape.’ He also instructed business leaders in attendance to look at the city’s bylaws and advise the city on which bylaws are outdated and unnecessary.