Fresh faces, former and current councillors sign up as registration opens in Winnipeg city council race

What do you get when you have three fresh faces, one former councillor and five incumbents?

The makings of a busy election season for Winnipeg.

Thursday marked the first day candidates could register to run in the Oct. 26 election for city council, and nine people wasted no time.

The only open ward race is in St. James, as Scott Gillingham, the current councillor, is vying to replace Mayor Brian Bowman, who will not run for re-election.

Retired businessman Kelly Ryback, who was also previously the Winnipeg Blue Bombers mascot Buzz, is making a play for the St. James position.

“I know that I’m bringing a different perspective in because I come from a different area than a lot of councillors,” said Ryback, who said he has worked with companies like Bell MTS and on the Pan Am Games.

He would bring “vast, successful, corporate experience and community involvement and service experience” to the job, he said.

Ryback also said he hopes the election of a new mayor will spur change at city hall.

The race for Winnipeg city council is underway

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Duration 2:41

What do you get when you have two fresh faces, one former councillor and five incumbents? The makings of a busy election season at Winnipeg city hall.

The other person registered for St. James as of Thursday is Shawn Dobson, who was elected city councillor for the now-defunct ward of St. Charles in 2014.

In 2017, the city announced new ward boundaries, sweeping away St. Charles. Dobson ran against Gillingham in St. James in 2018, but lost.

“I am not going to go into detail yet because it’s a little too soon for the campaign, but I will say that I am going to endorse Scott [Gillingham]” in the mayoral race, Dobson said in an interview Thursday.

“I think he’d make a great mayor, so I will support him 100 per cent.”

Two other candidates are challenging sitting councillors.

Steve Snyder, a member of the Seven Oaks Residents’ Association who recently fought to keep West Kildonan Library in its current location, has registered to run in Mynarski.

“I did not live in the city for the last five years,” before 2020, said Snyder, who was working as a civil servant in Australia, primarily in recreation in city of Brisbane.

“Since coming back, I walk around and I see businesses closed. I see trash on the street, heaving sidewalks,” he said in an interview.

“We need somebody with good leadership to move us forward in this ward because it isn’t coming from our current councillor.”

That councillor, Ross Eadie, told CBC he intends to run again.

St. Boniface ‘a different ward,’ says candidate

Nicholas Douklias, who owns and runs the restaurant Helios, has registered to run against incumbent Matt Allard in St. Boniface.

Douklias said people in the neighbourhood supported his business during the pandemic, and he ended up meeting a lot of new people.

Those new friends encouraged him to run for council, he said. He feels Allard isn’t acting as a true spokesperson for the ward right now.

“We’re a separate ward. A different ward. We’re a heavy francophone ward as well. We’re a little bit different than all other wards,” he said in an interview.

“I think that’s why so many people were happy when I said I was running, because that’s what they were looking for: someone that would actually listen to them.”

Though Allard hasn’t registered yet, he told CBC he intends to run again.

The following incumbents registered Thursday to run for re-election:

  • Brian Mayes (St. Vital).
  • Cindy Gilroy (Daniel McIntyre).
  • Shawn Nason (Transcona).
  • Devi Sharma (Old Kildonan).
  • Markus Chambers (St. Norbert-Seine River).

Several other councillors have also confirmed they plan to run for re-election:

  • John Orlikow (River Heights).
  • Sherri Rollins (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry).
  • Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan).
  • Markus Chambers (St. Norbert-Seine River).
  • Janice Lukes (Waverley West).
  • Jason Schreyer (Elmwood-East Kildonan).
  • Vivian Santos (Point Douglas).