Councillors on Winnipeg's Executive Policy Committee kept the Waverley Street intersection the city's top infrastructure priority Tuesday afternoon, but reordered the list that the city's administration came up with earlier in the day.
It came after a motion by Charleswood-Tuxedo-Whyte Ridge Coun. Marty Morantz to reorder the projects in priority.
EPC says the number two project is now Marion Street, bumped up from third earlier in the day.
The extension of Chief Peguis was also bumped up from last to third after EPC's meeting.
Widening Kenaston was put at the bottom of the list, downgraded from second. Land necessary for that project is tied up in a lengthy court battle.
The change in the order of ranking comes after councillors were debriefed earlier in the day by city officials,
They had ranked Waverley first due to new federal rail regulations that deal with the growing number of vehicles and trains the intersection sees, and that growth is only expected to increase.
The large volume of traffic is considered a high risk for fatalities, with some 30,000 vehicles and 40 to 50 trains crossing there daily.
By comparison, Marion Street sees about as much vehicular traffic but fewer trains per day, councillors were told.
The safety issues at Waverley kept it as the city's number one priority for improvements to fix chronic bottlenecks.
"I am concerned a lot more about safety than I was yesterday," said Mayor Brian Bowman. "Hopefully, we can get all these going very soon."
Orlikow pleased, Lukes sole dissenter
River Heights-Fort Garry Coun. John Orlikow is pleased Waverley tops the list.
He said the risks from the heavy rail and vehicle use, which is forecast to increase as Waverley West grows, are too dangerous to ignore.
"The conflict points are so great that as Transport Canada says, that is a recipe for death," he said. "That will happen. It will happen."
Orlikow said new federal rail rules take into consideration the risk associated with not doing a project.
St. Norbert Coun. Janice Lukes was the only EPC member who voted against Waverley getting top spot.
"None of these on the list will be my priority," said Lukes.
Lukes said projects that allow Winnipeg to develop itself as a "global trade centre" should be the priority.
She said extending Chief Peguis Trail and widening Kenaston Boulevard would help with city with long-term planning and development, and create new tax bases.
"How are we going to pay for a more sustainable city unless we figure out how to grow?" she said.
City will have to borrow to finance its share
Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt says many costs have increased since preliminary estimates were done in 2011.
|Waverley $175 million||City's share $64 million|
|Marion $250 million||City's share $110 million|
|Chief Peguis $400 million||City's share $150 million|
|Kenaston $375 million||City's share $142 million|
The cost of the Kenaston project includes the city purchasing Kapyong Barracks.
The city's Chief Financial Officer, Mike Ruta, said the city will have to borrow to finance its share of the projects.
He said the expects it will be able to borrow between $200 to 250 million dollars, suggesting some projects will happen sooner than others, otherwise the city may have to find other funding sources.
Province asked for list of top projects: Bowman
Mayor Brian Bowman told CBC's Information Radio Tuesday morning the city has to go through the province, which asked for a list of priorities.
"When I came into office the applications had already been submitted and additional information was requested. We've provided that information and we're hopeful that we'll be able to work with our provincial and federal partners for the Building Canada funds," Bowman said.
Coming up with the list could be a challenge, he said earlier.
"We're having a council seminar today [and] I've asked the public service to do a cost benefit analysis on all four so that council can get the information that they need to make that list. Then the application gets formally submitted from the province to the federal government," Bowman said.
The Building Canada Fund is a $53-billion federal fund that partners with provinces and municipalities for major infrastructure projects.
City councillors will formally vote on the list of priorities Wednesday at the regular city council meeting.