Candidates in Winnipeg’s westernmost city electoral ward are trying to break a pattern — single-term councillors.
“It feels like there’s a lot of changeover,” said Evan Duncan, one of five people running to become the next city councillor in Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood.
“I’m not going to be chasing other jobs. I want to make sure they have consistent representation here.”
This month’s civic election brings the fourth consecutive wide-open council race in Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood.
The first was in 2010, after the death of longtime councillor Bill Clement, who had represented the ward for 27 years. Paula Havixbeck won the seat in 2010, but served only a single term, choosing to run for mayor in 2014.
Marty Morantz was elected that year, but jumped to the federal level in 2018 after his first term. He’s now the Conservative member of Parliament for Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley.
The ward elected Kevin Klein in 2018, but he’s now among 11 people running to become mayor.
Duncan, an employee with Manitoba Justice, lives in the ward and says if elected, he isn’t going anywhere.
“I’m going to be accountable to this community because I’m a neighbour, I’m a friend and I’m a family member to people here.”
Duncan said he wants to see city council’s executive policy committee scrapped so all councillors have an equal voice. He also said homelessness is a “Winnipeg-wide” issue that he wants to address.
Rival candidate Gordon Penner, who has also lived in Charleswood since childhood, also promises consistency if elected, saying he wants to follow in Bill Clement’s footsteps.
“I’m in it for more than one term because I believe it takes more than one term to actually get anything accomplished,” he said.
Penner said a long-term councillor can connect with constituents.
“We’re all old-school here.”
City needs to get ‘back to basics’
Longtime radio host Hal Anderson, who is also in the council race, said he’s the right person to give Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood a strong voice at city hall. That starts, he said, with addressing complex issues like crime, homelessness and the quality of city streets.
“We have to get back to basics before we have a vision for the city, and a vision for Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood,” said Anderson.
The council candidate believes Klein was a strong voice for the ward because he was “on the outside looking in.”
Anderson, who has stepped back from his role as a talk-show host with CJOB to run for the council seat, said he’s proud he can work with anyone, and he wants to listen, too.
He has listed his personal cellphone number on the city’s candidate website, in part because he believes the city’s 311 service isn’t adequate for Winnipeggers.
He’s already getting dozens of calls every day, Anderson said.
“They’re excited to be able to pick up the phone and call somebody, because they’re not getting action with 311.”
Anderson lives in south Winnipeg, but said he’s moving to Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood “win or lose.”
“My wife grew up in Charleswood. I lived in Tuxedo for many years,” he said. “You don’t have to be a lifelong resident to be the right person for the job.”
When asked why he didn’t run where he lives, Anderson said he and his wife discussed “do we run where we want to be, or do we run where we’re at?”
“We decided to run where we want to be.”
Safety cited as top priority
Candidate Brad Gross is also pledging to move to the ward, regardless of election results.
The real estate agent lives in Inkster Gardens, but has family in Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood.
Gross, like other candidates, cited safety as a concern for the entire city.
The violent crime rate is relatively low in the Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood, but the rate of non-violent crime has gradually risen since 2018, according to the Winnipeg Police Service’s crime map, which details calls for service.
“It’s the fear of crime, because it can happen to anybody,” said Gross.
Many people in the west Winnipeg ward avoid core areas, he said.
“Nobody wants to go downtown. You can tell downtown is hurting. When I moved to Calgary, the downtown was horrible. Sort of like ours is today,” he said.
“They just cleaned it up, and that’s what we have to do today.”
Gross said he’d vote in favour of policies to have people removed from bus shelters if they’re using the structure as a living space.
Earlier this year, a city councillor proposed removing the glass, seating and heating from some shelters.
That idea was shot down by community members, and wasn’t pursued by council.
Candidate Steven Minion, born and raised in the ward, said he hopes the city can adopt more environmentally sustainable practices, such as composting grey water.
“We can be an experiment for sustainability by getting creative, by doing everything with the planet and the people, the profit from our shared dedication to beautifying ourselves,” Minion said.
Advance polls in Winnipeg are open until Oct. 21. Election day is Oct. 26.
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