Support for Winnipeg’s street parties, a plan to transform Portage Place and make the city more environmentally friendly were among the pledges made Wednesday by mayoral candidates.
Jenny Motkaluk wants to give annual grants of $50,000 to each of the city’s four largest parades and street festivals to help them pay for a permanent coordinator.
“When I am mayor, I will provide meaningful support for our biggest parades that bring color to our black and white world and celebrate the things we value,” Motkaluk said at a press conference at Archambault. Performance Pavilion at Transcona.
“In return, I expect each show to make their event the best it can be and the result to be spectacular.”
The Santa Claus Parade, Pride Winnipeg, the Filipino Street Festival and the Sikh Community’s Nagar Kirtan Parade would each receive the annual grants.
Motkaluk also wants the city to do more to recognize Cruise Night – the weekly car show along Portage Avenue every Sunday during the warmer months.
“I’ve spoken to a number of the Night Cruise attendees…and generally speaking they feel like they’re not welcome. And that’s the bottom line, we have to welcome them and be grateful let them be here.”
If elected mayor, Motkaluk said she would also allow professional wrestling shows at community centers.
Portage Place Transformation Support Plan: Bokhari
Rana Bokhari has announced her support for a Portage Place transformation project.
Last week, a coalition of non-profit organizations released a proposal, based on recommendations from the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives’ State of Downtown report, that would see the mall converted into a community center offering affordable housing and other services.
“We recognize that this has already been a gathering space for so many years for indigenous people and newcomers, so let’s make it a reality,” Bokhari said, speaking outside the mall on Portage Avenue. .
“Let’s incorporate all the other aspects that will contribute to the well-being of people in this same building.”
Taking the example of the acquisition of the Hudson’s Bay Building by the Southern Chiefs’ Organization, the redevelopment plan would give Aboriginal people the first opportunity to own the Portage Place property. If no Aboriginal developer expresses an interest, the building would become public property.
The city, provincial and federal governments all need to get involved to support the plan, Bokhari said.
“It has to be a community, all levels of jurisdiction coming to the table and I believe they will, because it’s in [their] best interest,” Bokhari said.
“They did it for Hudson’s Bay and I would encourage them to follow the same reasoning.”
The organizations began work on the mall plan after Toronto’s Starlight Investments pulled out of a deal to buy it last September.
Green infrastructure, energy
Two mayoral candidates have released plans to make the city more environmentally friendly.
Scott Gillingham and Rick Shone have both released plans to upgrade the city’s existing building portfolio.
Shone’s plan also called on the city to require, where possible, the construction of new buildings to LEED-Gold standards.
“We wouldn’t do it all at once, but when it made sense to do it for every building, it would happen for sure,” Shone said in an interview in downtown Winnipeg.
Gillingham proposed to convert the city’s municipal housing department into Winnipeg Green Properties and Green Power, with a focus on upgrading city properties. It would also seek external funding for the addition of solar panels and geothermal heating to city buildings.
Shone has also pledged to start a citywide composting program.
A report on a recently concluded pilot project in five neighborhoods is expected early next year, but Shone said the city should engage now.
“We’ve been talking about composting for over a decade and the pilot project was just a way, in my opinion, to block the process and get the box on the road,” he said.
At a city environmental forum on Monday, Gillingham said he would wait to see the results of the pilot project before committing to the program.
Motkaluk, Bokhari, Shone and Gillingham are among the 11 mayoral candidates. Idris Adelakun, Chris Clacio, Kevin Klein, Shaun Loney, Glen Murray, Robert-Falcon Ouellette and Don Woodstock were the other candidates for the forum.
Advance voting begins October 3 and election day is October 26.