Feeling re-energized after election
This is my blog since my re-election on Oct. 24, and I want to thank the voters of St. Vital ward for once again placing their faith in me.
I feel re-energized with the challenge of representing areas that are new to the St. Vital ward, namely Royalwood, Bonavista and Sage Creek. I am also re-energized the new role to which Mayor Bowman appointed me, chair of the property and development, heritage and downtown committee. There are many important matters that will come before this committee in the coming years, such as the infill housing guidelines, affordable housing options and redevelopment of the old police headquarters. I am committed to improving the dialogue between the suburbs and the inner-city in Winnipeg, a commitment shared by the mayor, who often points out in meetings "we are one city."
When asked my political philosophy in a recent interview I offered "I grew up in the suburbs, and I turned out OK." I have been amazed over the years at City Hall at the lack of understanding of how the suburbs like St. Vital have evolved in recent decades. New suburban developments like Sage Creek or Bonavista feature a variety of housing types, with different levels of density, not just the single family homes on big lots that some people still visualize as "the suburbs". Similarly, the linguistic, ethnic and religious diversity in St. Vital is far greater than when I was growing up — an evolution that many people at city hall overlook when discussing suburban issues.
My priorities for this coming term include: increase funding to improve roads; modernize our sewer system to protect Lake Winnipeg; reduce traffic congestion and improve transit; and work for expanded recreational facilities and a second school in the new southeast section of the word.
On the night I was first elected to council in November, 2011 I told the Winnipeg Free Press "I finally got my dream job." Over the years, there have been days when it no longer felt that way. But after knocking on an estimated 17,000 doors with my volunteer team during the recent campaign, I feel more than ever that it is a great honour to represent the area where I grew up and where my wife and I are raising our sons, and I look forward to another four years of being able to use the title "St. Vital City Councillor.