Winnipeg City Councillor, Kevin Klein
A small portion of the Wellington riverbank failed in 2011, which forced the partial closure of the "Bike Path." Public Works began reviewing the stabilization of the riverbank that year and developing a potential long-term strategy.
Mayor Bowman and his EPC, over the last five years, have reduced the Riverbank management budget by 50%. These cuts resulted in delays all across our City to stabilization work needed on our riverbanks.
The new leadership's approach has been and continues to be to push cut ongoing maintenance to City streets, boulevards, parks, arena's, and even our riverbanks. The budget is now $500,000 per year to maintain riverbanks throughout Winnipeg. It is impossible to perform necessary ongoing care of our riverbanks, and the longer it's put off, the more expensive the damage will be in the future.
Last year I attended my first City of Winnipeg Public Works engagement meetings since taking office in November 2019. The Office of Public Engagement did not inform me of the meeting, but thankfully an insider provided me the details. Public Works presented plans to address the riverbank along Wellington Crescent between Doncaster and Park Boulevard.
The City plans included the removal of some of our most beautiful trees, the destruction of green space, and moving the road closer to homes. There was a fourth option that suggested closing a specific section of the road and turning the area into a beautiful ATR and park area with benches to enjoy the riverbank. Residents immediately supported that option even though it would impact access to their homes.
I have been meeting with residents over the last several months, listening to what they would support. I have had several meetings with different divisions of the Public Works advocating for the less expensive and more environmental solution.
Fast forward to today, Public Works made the decision, despite resident concerns, to kill many of the trees, move the road closer to people's homes and increase the traffic along the crescent.
The Office of Public Engagement provides details on their project here. The link below is the presentation to stakeholders.
My office has learned that the Public Works Division responsible for this project is not going to consider an alternative solution; they were moving ahead. The meetings are for information, not discussion or debate.
Residents are angry that the Office of Public Engagement did not allow area residents to participate in a recent June 1 meeting. We have learned of another online engagement session on June 9, click here for details.