Winnipeg committee puts brakes on Waverley underpass plan for now
Public works committee approves 60-day extension to review administrative report
A Winnipeg council committee has refused to approve plans for the $155-million Waverley Street underpass for now, blaming city bureaucrats for not keeping them up to date on the project.
Councillors on the infrastructure renewal and public works committee voted on Monday in favour of more time to review an administrative report on the underpass project, which had been made available on Friday afternoon.
Old Kildonan Coun. Devi Sharma, a member of the committee, asked for an additional 60 days to review and discuss the document before making any decisions on it. Her request was approved.
South Winnipeg–St. Norbert Coun. Janice Lukes, who chairs the public works committee, says she agrees there are concerns about having to make a big decision in such a small window of time.
"You do get a report at one o'clock on a Friday and you've probably got plans for the weekend and Monday at one o'clock you're in the committee making a decision on a $155-million deal," Lukes said.
"I think absolutely, we should have had more time. These committee members — Coun. Sharma absolutely was passionate about it, as was [Cindy] Gilroy and [Shawn] Dobson," Lukes said.
Lukes added that she doesn't agree that extra time could delay construction of the underpass.
"I'm not worried about the delay part," she said.
"I'm more worried about, you know, making sure committee members who are asked to make major decisions have enough time and information to make those decisions."
Lukes said if city officials really want to get the underpass project approved soon, they could hold special briefings and meetings with councillors this week.