Winnipeg mayoral candidates promise infrastructure spending, better vehicle management for savings

Mayoral candidate and outgoing St. James Coun. Scott Gillingham wants to find ways to cut the city’s vehicle costs.

His plan calls for the city to explore alternative vehicle arrangements, like co-ops or vehicle sharing with school boards.

The former finance committee chair said a report given to city council on Thursday supports his plan to reduce the costs of the vehicle fleet.

The audit of the city’s fleet management agency said the municipal government’s decentralized approach had created “autonomous department fleets” and was limiting opportunities to find efficiencies. The report also said 29 per cent of the city’s fleet was driven less than 5,000 kilometres per year.

Gillingham said in a news release that he would delegate authority to the finance committee to approve or reject any single vehicle purchase by a department.

He also promised that by the end of 2023, the city would set a target date for full electrification of the city’s light vehicle fleet.

Gillingham estimates the city can save “millions” from the fleet management agency’s $49-million operating and $16-million capital budget.

Repair existing roads 1st: Loney

Shaun Loney released an infrastructure plan that would prioritize fixing existing roads over building new ones.

He also called for the city to negotiate a new funding arrangement for roads with the federal and provincial governments.

His plan would change the way the city prioritizes infrastructure projects, giving preference to ones that support low-cost, low-carbon transportation options.

On Wednesday, candidate Kevin Klein called for the city to come up with a plan that would ensure the city builds new roads and bridges that are the highest priorities, rather than engaging in what he called ad hoc decision-making driven by political priorities.

Earlier in the campaign, Gillingham promised to do cost benefit analyses for two major infrastructure projects — widening Kenaston Boulevard and extending Chief Peguis Trail west, a project that Jenny Motkaluk has promised to complete.

Motkaluk releases housing plan

Also on Thursday, Motkaluk released her affordable housing plan.

It follows her announcement that she would use the city’s power under the vacant buildings bylaw to seize derelict properties without compensation.

Motkaluk would auction the properties off to developers willing to fix them and turn them into affordable rentals.

She also wants to create a registry where private landlords can list affordable rentals for clients of social service agencies.

Freeze police budget: Shone

Rick Shone released a package of reforms meant to cut down on the cost of police, including a promise not to increase their budget.

His plan calls also for an audit of the city’s emergency dispatch centre to try to reduce high rates of turnover.

He also wants to work with the provincial government to expand the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority’s mobile crisis service and active response to citizens in crisis, to increase the number of wellness checks handled by mental health professionals instead of police.

Earlier in the campaign, Shone called for the city to fire police Chief Danny Smyth, a proposal Motkaluk has also made.

Gillingham, Motkaluk, Loney, and Shone are among 11 candidates running for mayor. Idris Adelakun, Rana Bokhari, Chris Clacio, Kevin Klein, Glen Murray, Robert-Falcon Ouellette and Don Woodstock are also running.

Advance voting starts on Oct. 3 and election day is Oct. 26.