Manitoba

Bowman bent on restoring public's trust in city hall in 2015

As 2014 comes to end, Mayor Brian Bowman’s era at Winnipeg City Hall has just begun. CBC's Sean Kavanagh spoke with Bowman about what he plans to accomplish in 2015.

'I'll go as far as I have to to restore Winnipeggers' trust and faith in city hall,' says Bowman

As 2014 comes to end, Mayor Brian Bowman’s era at Winnipeg City Hall has just begun. 2:25

As 2014 comes to end, Mayor Brian Bowman’s era at Winnipeg City Hall has just begun.

"I've only got about 1,500 days to serve, so I’ve got to make each day count," Bowman told the CBC’s Sean Kavanagh in a year-end interview.

Bowman said he will do everything in his power to rebuild the public's trust in city government.

"I'll go as far as I have to to restore Winnipeggers' trust and faith in city hall," said Bowman. "Winnipeggers deserve it and they are demanding it." 

Cleaning up scandals

Since Bowman won the October election by a landslide, he has had a closer look at the city's books, kicked off a hunt for a new city CAO and watched as the RCMP raided the offices of the chief contractor for the new Winnipeg Police Service headquarters.
Mayor Brian Bowman celebrating his victory in the Winnipeg civic election on Oct. 22, 2014. (John Woods/Canadian Press)

Bowman said to expect announcements in the New Year about the city installing an ethics commissioner at city hall and other accountability initiatives.

"I'm talking about elected officials doing their job to make sure the buck stops with someone and that we are accountable to Winnipeggers," said Bowman.

Balancing the city’s books

Bowman said 2015 will also be about cleaning up scandals he inherited, and about making some tough fiscal decisions.

“The budget in general is going to be a very difficult exercise," said Bowman.

The state of Winnipeg roads, municipal water pipes and transit are all on the mayor's radar.

"The dollar figures are challenging and we are inheriting a very, very difficult financial framework," said Bowman. "All the decisions related to the budget are being looked at right now and I don't want to prejudge what that looks like."

In order to pay for the city’s infrastructure repairs and transit upgrades, Winnipeggers should expect to pay more in property taxes in 2015, but likely no more than the rate of inflation, said Bowman.

Rapid transit expansion

Despite the challenge of balancing the city’s books, Bowman said he still plans to make good on his promise to complete phase 2 of rapid transit to the University of Manitoba.

Bowman wouldn't confirm whether the final plans for the expansion will look exactly like those passed by city council in 2014.

"We have to make sure we have all the facts on the table so we can make sure the decisions we are making now are based on facts," said Bowman. "That's something I am doing on a number of files."

On being first Métis mayor

Bowman said he is honoured to be the first Métis mayor of Winnipeg.

"I hope in having an aboriginal mayor there is something that instills pride and confidence in that community ... which is growing," said Bowman. "That should be a source of pride for all Winnipeggers."

Bowman said he has always been open and proud of his heritage, but he doesn't believe people voted for him based on his family's background.

2015 to be a 'great year,' says Bowman

Bowman said hosting the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup tournament and the Grey Cup will be great for the city. He is also convinced the Jets will make the playoffs.

Even with the city's budget woes and infrastructure challenges, Bowman is convinced Winnipeg "is going to have a great year!"

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