2016 Approved Budget Impact – South Winnipeg-St. Norbert Ward

Janice approved budget

I am providing an update on how the City of Winnipeg’s 2016 Approved Budget impacts residents in the South Winnipeg–St. Norbert Ward. This is a high level summary presented in the context of the specific ward priorities I am focusing on.  For detailed updates on each priority, please see Ward Priorities

 

2016 Budget Impact on Homeowners 

The average Winnipeg homeowner will see an increase of approximately $185 on their tax bill*, calculated as follows:

  • 2016 property tax increase of 2.33% on an average assessed home ($288,190)  = $38
  • 2016 Frontage Levy increase (based on a 50 ft lot)                                                    = $55
  • Water and Waste Sewer rate increase                                                                          = $92

*Includes increases to budgets of both the Winnipeg Police Service and the Fire & Paramedics departments.

 

2016 INITIATIVES IN SOUTH WINNIPEG-ST. NORBERT WARD 

Age Friendly Community Development

Many of these age-friendly initiatives benefit the entire city, with some having a focused impact in our ward:

  • Upwards of $1.5 Million for a new Handi-Transit Scheduling System
  • $1.6 Million for existing sidewalk repairs (increased from $800,000) with specific projects in our ward to be announced in May
  • $425,000 towards improving accessibility, managed by the Access Advisory Committee (increased from $350,000) with specific projects in our ward to be announced over the coming year

 

Brady Road Resource Management Facility

An extensive list of initiatives are occurring at Brady this year.  For details, please SEE HERE

 

Bridgwater and South Pointe

The City of Winnipeg will be investing $100,000 towards repairing the Bridgwater Forest Fountain and repairing surrounding landscaping (pathways). Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation will also be investing funding towards the fountain’s repair.

Once repairs start in 2016, the City will then have a better idea when the fountain will actually be up and running.  I think a little community celebration will be in order!

 

Communication

Many of these communication initiatives benefit the entire City, with some having a focused impact in our ward:

  • Funding for a full time French language translator position to translate more City materials into Canada’s official second language
  • Funding to support additional information technology positions
  • Funding to support Corporate Communication positions

   

Economic Development

  • Small business tax is reduced from 5.6% to 5.3% for businesses that have an annual rental value (ARV) of $32,220 or less in 2016. This positively impacts many small businesses along Pembina Highway, enabling an average savings of approx. $1,700.
  • A significant number of businesses along Pembina are currently looking at establishing a South Winnipeg Business Improvement Zone (SEE City of Winnipeg BIZ).   City staff and I are supporting them on this initiative.
  • $2.9 million from the Destination Marketing Reserve (DMR) and Special Events Marketing Fund to  Economic Development Winnipeg – Yes Winnipeg. This is more of a City-wide initiative with an overall impact.

 

Parks and Recreation Facilities

The list of parks initiatives is funded through City of Winnipeg budget items and also through Parks funding directly allocated to Ward Councillors

$500,000 La Barriere Park washroom upgrade

  • Details of the much needed washroom upgrade will be announced soon!
  • The City of Winnipeg Naturalists department is overseeing a tall grass prairie restoration project along the south edge of the Park, approx. 300m south of the parking lot. This is a multi-year project that will see the transformation of about 5 acres of weedy, unmaintained grassland into a diverse prairie habitat. When completed, this area will contain 40+ species of grass and wildflowers that will provide valuable habitat for birds, butterflies and other wildlife.

$250,000 Kings Park improvements

  • 2016 Fountain upgrade (a well will be installed vs drawing from the Red River)
  • 2016 Pathway and bench upgrades
  • Over 2015-2016, approximately 500 native trees and shrubs will be planted into the areas that were impacted during the riverbank stabilization work.
  • 2017 $600,000 upgrades to be determined as per consultation results

$200,000 Kirkbridge Park improvements

  • New asphalt pathway, trees and bench upgrades

$250,000 Thelma J. Caul Park (Bonnycastle School)

  • Tennis/Pickleball courts

Grandmont Park

  • 2016 Gravel pathway upgrades – Amount of funding to be determined following spring thaw
  • 2017 Asphalt pathway upgrades

$766,000 Reforestation

  • $766,000 for reforestation in each of 2016, 2017 and 2018 for tree replacement and tree pruning. This is double past year’s investments and will significantly support the replacement of trees infected with Back Knot fungus, a problem that is prolific in our ward.
  • We are awaiting the final list of streets indicating where trees will be removed and new plantings will occur in 2016.

Dakota Park

Bishop Grandin Trail West

  • The City of Winnipeg Naturalists Dept. is continuing on the prairie planting project alongside the Bishop Grandin Trail West (located between Pembina and Waverley).   Wildflowers (black eyed susans, heart leaved alexanders, sunflowers and numerous other vibrant wildflowers) were seeded in this area in 2015, and supplementary seeding will be done this spring (NOTE: I have not yet received a funding value for this project).
  • $7,000 bench installations alongside the trail  (to be located between Red River and Pembina, and near Crampton’s Market)

Parc Charette Park  (located at Grandmont and Pembina)

  • An official opening celebration and new park signage.  Details to be announced soon!

 

Rental Housing around University of Manitoba

  • An additional Zoning Field Officer is identified in the 2016 Budget relating to zoning and conditional uses, ie: enforcement regarding work on a home that has occurred without a permit.
  • Funding towards Winnipeg Block Parents and Neighbourhood Watch (Winnipeg Police Service).  The City provides support to both these programs which will be discussed at the upcoming Community Forum on Public Safety on April 28!  Everyone is welcome to attend this event!

 

South Winnipeg Recreation Campus

There is positive movement in the 2016, 2017 and 2020 budgets on the South Winnipeg Recreation Complex.

Waverley West Library (2016 Budget Volume 3, pg 2-72):

This library is anticipated to be part of the South Winnipeg Recreation Complex:

  • 2017: $100,000 for preliminary planning purposes, site selection, design and architectural plans to provide a Class 3 Estimate. Construction is planned for 2020.
  • 2020: $7,586,000 towards the construction, interior working costs, and the cost of land purchase and servicing costs.

Recreation Facility Replacement – New Infrastructure (2016 Budget Volume 3, pg 2-80):

  • 2017: $3,800,000 towards construction identified in the feasibility studies that are now underway, including a recommendation to City Council to adopt a 2016 first charge on funding if required to facilitate timely work on this project.

 

Transit Improvements & Rapid Transit Stage 2

A significant investment in transit was made in the City’s 2016 Budget – but there are also some significant challenges Winnipeg Transit is facing. I have prepared a detailed overview to help you understand the funding and challenges:  SEE HERE  

I encourage residents to VIEW THE VIDEO of the presentation by Mr. Dave Wardrop, Director of Winnipeg Transit, on the 2016 Capital Budget.  Mr. Wardrop begins his presentation about 20 minutes into the video, and speaks for about 1.5 hours. This discussion, held with the Standing Policy Committee of Infrastructure Renewal and Public works, provides an excellent overview of the emission control challenges faced by Winnipeg Transit.

 

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT

I want to extend a HUGE thank you to Mr. David G. Sanders, Chair of the Bridgwater Lakes Neighbourhood Association, for preparing such a detailed presentation and for giving up two mornings (7+ hours)  to present to Winnipeg’s City Councillors.  I encourage all Bridgwater residents to review David’s very informative presentation on the need for transit in Bridgwater Lakes.

I would also like to thank:

  • Mr. Paul Holden, President and CEO of Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology, for his Letter of Support
  • Mr. Ian Phillips, Government Relations Manager of Shaw Communications, for his Letter of Support

 

DECISION BY CITY COUNCIL

The decision made by City Council was not to immediately add new bus routes in 2016, due to ongoing maintenance issues and the need for fleet stability.

BUT on a positive front (and again, SEE HERE for a detailed overview of Transit):

  • The 2016 budget allows for ‘new route’ buses
  • The Bridgwater Lakes/South Pointe route is second on the priority list
  • 24 used buses (which don’t have emissions control issues) are being added to the fleet for purposes of U-Pass expansion
  • IF the bus maintenance program continues to improve, brand new buses will be purchased (2015 & 2016 budget)
  • The cost of adding the Bridgwater Lakes/South Pointe route is manageable and could be absorbed into the 2016 budget

So, in summary, I am optimistic that we may get the expansion for 2016  – but there are many variables to monitor over the coming months.   I recognize this is extremely frustrating, and have provided you with a volume of information to help explain the situation.  Globally, the transit industry is in a period of transition. Diesel buses are old technologies with stringent Federally mandated controls that make them complicated and fragile. But at the same time, the technology of electric and hydrogen is still in early stages of development and has not yet reached a ‘fleet level’ of reliability and cost effectiveness. I could compare this to how CD’s have faded away, small drugstores have evolved into super drugstores, and the current situation with taxis and Uber.

 

HANDI-TRANSIT SCHEDULING SYSTEM

A new Handi-Transit Scheduling System valued at approx. $1.5 million is included the 2016 budget.  This will update Handi-Transit’s scheduling system so it can maintain basic and medical client information, schedule clients according to specialized needs, optimize available resources, communicate with drivers and clients in real-time, and allow for immediate scheduling or dispatching when hourly cancellations create an inefficient use of available resources.

 

Transportation Improvements

This year’s budget is providing record spending for upgrading our roads, bridges and active transportation infrastructure. Complete details of regional roads can be found in 2016 Budget Volume 3,  Pages 2-18 and 2-47.

Specific to the South Winnipeg – St. Norbert ward, these projects are planned:

ROAD IMPROVEMENTS

Major Rehabilitations

  • 2016:  Pembina Hwy – North and South Bound –  Grant to Osborne:   $16,100,000 this year
  • 2017: Pembina Hwy North Bound – Dalhousie to Killarney: $4,200,000

Regional Mill and Fills

  • 2017: St Mary’s Rd – North and South Bound – Lyndale to St.Anne’s: $1,600,000
  • 2018: Pembina Hwy South Bound – Killarney to Dalhousie: $1,900,000

Local Street Renewals:

  • The list of local streets being renewed in the ward will be released mid-April and I will update you

General Maintenance:

  • For regional and local roads that are not scheduled for rehabilitation, regional mill and fills or local renewals this year, funding is available for upgrades and general maintenance repair.  This maintenance will occur throughout the construction season.
  • PLEASE NOTE:  Street inspectors check for needed repairs, but if YOU see something that needs to be repaired, take action!  Please report it, and if you can, send a photo too!  E-mail a request for service with all the details to 311@winnipeg.ca or my office jlukes@winnipeg.ca

 

ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION NETWORK

  • This year, upwards of $9 million will be spent on active transportation:  improving and increasing sidewalks, pathways and on-road cycling infrastructure.
  • As with the local streets, specific details on projects will be released in mid-April.
  • There is a significant increase in sidewalk upgrades of $1.6 million added to an existing $800,000 budget. Exact locations will be announced in mid-April 

 

 

Twitter link:  http://janicelukes.ca/?p=5113