Mayoral candidates want to sell golf courses and lower voting age

Two of Winnipeg's seven mayoral candidates came out with bold promises Friday.

Robert-Falcon Ouellette pitches 'child-friendly' city, Gord Steeves vows $100M for roads

Winnipeg mayoral candidate Robert-Falcon Oullette unveled his 'Family and Child-Friendly' policy Friday at Provencher Park in St. Boniface. (Sean Kavanagh/CBC)

Two of Winnipeg's seven mayoral candidates came out with bold promises Friday. 

Robert-Falcon Ouellette said if he becomes Winnipeg's next mayor, he wants to do more than just fix potholes.

The mayoral candidate said he would focus on making the city more 'child-friendly.' 

He said he would build four new family-centred aquatic centres and offer free transit to kids under 12 years old. 

"I think the cost would actually be fairly minimal," he said. "But the idea is to allow more people [to think] transit is actually open and it's something to encourage more people to use," 

Mayoral hopeful Gord Steeves said Friday he would create a $100 million fund for infrastructure renewal in part by selling off four city-owned golf courses. (CBC)
Ouellette said he has a dream that his five children would be able to go anywhere in the city, day or night, safely and securely.

The city needs to make improvements in core areas such as recreation and youth, transit and poverty reduction, he said.

"Children are the future of our city and it is important that we, as a community, invest in them and their potential," he said in a news release. 

Ouellette said children would be a focus of municipal policy. 

He would also lower the voting age in municipal elections to 16 to engage young people. 

"At 18, something happens," he said. "You become far more independent. You might go off to university. You're no longer connected to your local community. You're doing other things. You have other worries.  But when you're 16 and 17, and even a few 18 year olds, you're in high school.  And so you have the opportunity to have a certain structure around you."

Ouellette pointed to countries such as Argentina, Brazil and Cuba, where 16 year olds can vote. 

Steeves: $100M on infrastructure

Where Ouellette said potholes weren't the only issue facing Winnipeg, they were the focus of an announcement from GordSteeves, who is also vying to be mayor. 

The former St. Vital councillor vowed to spend $100 million on infrastructure renewal using money generated from the sale of four city-owned golf courses.

Steeves said selling off the 'underused' Crescent Drive, Kildonan Park, Windsor Park and John Blumberg courses would not only free up money to fix roads and bridges without raising property taxes, but it would also create 60 acres of free, public green space for Winnipeg residents. 

Steeves said developers would jump at the chance to buy the golf courses and redevelop them.

He proposes a mix of housing: 60 per cent single family and 30 per cent multi-family. He said 10 per cent of the space would become commercial.

Steeves acknowledged the reluctance of city councillors to sell off the golf courses, saying they have been under pressure to keep them.

He said fixing crumbling roads is the main concern he hears about when he's campaigning, and his former experience on council will help him persuade councillors to back his plan.

"I've already made my choice," he said. "Council is going to have to choose whether or not we are going to stick with golf courses as a core service or if we are going to move into infrastructure renewal which they know is a priority for their citizens."

The John Blumbergcourse is already for sale. 

Steeves said he will sell off the courses within six months of being elected and city staff would get other city jobs.


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