Winnipeg City Councillor Kevin Klein
The Wellington Crescent Riverbank, Path, and Roadway Project has created more division in our City and frustrated residents and other community stakeholders.
And after several attempts to collaborate with Public Works, the Civic Administration, and the Mayor's Majority EPC Government, all to no avail, I will now take alternative action on behalf of the people I serve.
Monday, June 22nd, during the Assiniboia Committee meeting, I am moving a motion to press pause on this $11 million project.
Over the last few months, hundreds of residents have contacted our office and that of Councillor Orlikow's to share their opposition with the City of Winnipeg's current riverbank plan.
Turn back the clock to 2011 when the Bike Path began to fail and was ultimately closed after a portion of the riverbank was claimed by the river. The City has ignored the issue for several years. Why? The Mayor's majority EPC Government has reduced the investment into all riverbanks in the City. The budget allocated to the hundreds of hundreds of kilometers of riverbanks, just $500,000 per year.
The City of Winnipeg has budgeted $11 million to stabilize the riverbank. Now some facts, the $11 million includes money from various departments at the City, that's how they play the financial shell game.
For example, Water and Waste want to update some exit draining pipes. A project that they would apply for Provincial or Federal assistance, but this route could allow them to keep the funding granted by other levels of Government, still your money.
At one, invitation-only, community meeting hosted by the Public Service, they present three options for residents, all very similar. People were visibly upset, the City then suggested closing that portion of the road for an enhanced pedestrian and cyclists’ path.
This option, although more economical, is not being considered and was told its due to a traffic study. We asked, did the study considered traffic volumes over ten years from Wellington Crescent and Academy to Wellington Crescent and Park Blvd North.
Did the study consider potential dangers? The current plan creates a 5 KM stretch of residential road with NO calming traffic measures, no stop signs, no visible crosswalks, a safety hazard for all residents, pedestrians, and cyclists'. Image the potential impact on speeding and noise for residents. We asked for the study. The Public Service denied the request.
Not allowing all residents to participate is where I'm taking a firm stand. Residents were denied attendance at the meetings "they didn't qualify" according to the public engagement, and EPC Government department. Residents believe the City of Winnipeg is ignoring their concerns, issues, and suggestions.
I will move a motion Monday to ask the Standing Policy on Infrastructure Renewal, and Public Works be requested to direct the Public Service to pause the Wellington Crescent Riverbank, Path, and Roadway Project and schedule more community meetings and consider more economical and alternative solutions.
You can watch the meeting live on YouTube Monday June 22 at 9:30a.m. by clicking here.