Candidates looking to grab St. Vital council seat from long-time incumbent

With less than two weeks until Winnipeg’s municipal election, two candidates in the St. Vital ward are looking to steal the seat from the well-known incumbent.

Finishing his eleventh year as the city councillor for St. Vital, Brian Mayes is looking to add another four.

“I think I still have the passion for it,” said Mayes. “I have the experience now, and I think the qualifications.”

“I kind of feel energized with a new mayor coming, so there will be some new challenges. There’s still work to be done in St. Vital.”

Mayes said he’s proud of the renovations he’s helped get done in St. Vital Park and the other recreation projects he’s worked on during his tenure at city hall.

This time around, Mayes is looking to get a community centre built in the Sage Creek-Bonavista area and focus on several community issues.

“We’ve increased the roads budget by 500 per cent since my first election, but we need to put more of that into potholes,” he said. “Lots more people are talking about homelessness this election. I think we have to cooperate with the province on that.”

With two other candidates running, Mayes isn’t without competition.

“The city needs a big time change and some austerity measures,” said Baljeet Sharma, another candidate running in the St. Vital ward. “The way the city is spending money is always not good.”

Sharma ran for council in the last election and has also run in provincial and federal politics.

His platform centres around addressing homelessness in Winnipeg and drastically changing the city’s photo radar program.

“Right now, as we all see, one is homelessness, crime, public safety and poverty, so these ones,” listed Shama.

Also running in the ward is red seal journeymen Derrick Dujlovic.

Dujlovic said he was inspired to run by his children.

“You know, you start to see the way the city is going direction-wise or directionless, and I decided it is time to get off the sidelines and do something about it.”

Dujlovic said if elected, he’ll fix issues around infill housing in Old St. Vital, public safety concerns and increase communication if elected.

Chris Adams, an adjunct professor of political studies at the University of Manitoba, believes it will be a big challenge for the two candidates to take the seat from Mayes.

“With just less than two weeks to go, you never know what can happen during a campaign,” he said, “But right now, I would say all the indicators are looking that it is fairly safe for Brian Mayes.”

Winnipeg’s election is on Oct. 26.

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