Building Kenaston up instead of out, more town halls among proposals from Charleswood-Tuxedo candidates

From double-decking Kenaston Boulevard to increasing communication with residents, candidates running in Charleswood-Tuxedo differ on their approaches to taming traffic on Route 90.

Route 90 widening, urban reserve for Kapyong land, city hall accountability top issues for 4 candidates

The city is currently studying how to redesign Route 90 between the St. James Bridge and Taylor Avenue to improve traffic flow and make the roadway more accessible for pedestrians and cyclists. (Lyzaville Sale/CBC)

From double-decking Kenaston Boulevard to holding more town halls with residents, the four candidates running in Winnipeg's Charleswood-Tuxedo ward differ in their approaches to taming traffic and congestion on Route 90.

Bottlenecking and gridlock are common along the major thoroughfare, which runs past big box stores and residential areas from the St. James Bridge to Taylor Avenue. 

The city is now studying completely redesigning Route 90 to add more green space, build bike lanes, make sidewalks more accessible and, perhaps most significantly, add two more lanes of traffic.

It's possible any councillor elected on Oct. 24 will be voting on the design and alignment of the roadway in the next four years. Based on the current timeline, council may be able to review city recommendations as early as this winter.

A non-issue for Nichols 

Generally, the city says roadways should be at least six lanes if they see 35,000 or more vehicles per day. The St. James Bridge alone sees 79,000.

Still, for council candidate Kevin Nichols, the Kenaston widening project is a non-issue this election.

"Everyone knows it needs to be widened but there's no real, I'll say, concern," said Nichols.

Kevin Nichols, who wants to represent Charleswood-Tuxedo at city hall, says many residents have accepted Kenaston Boulevard will be widened and says it is not a pressing election issue. (Warren Kay/CBC)

June 2018 Probe Research poll, commissioned by the consulting firm WSP, suggests the Route 90 project is a top priority for 69 per cent of Tuxedo and South Winnipeg residents. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 5.39 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

People accept that the project is going ahead sooner or later, Nichols said, and a more pressing issue is accountability at city hall. 

Nichols, who works for the City of Winnipeg as a safety technician, said he is running on a promise to hold "people accountable" at city hall — although he wouldn't say who he would hold accountable, or for what.

"I can't really say. I do know but if I don't win the election I do need a job afterwards. I can't point fingers at any specific thing," he said.

Nichols has previously run for a council seat, and has also run both provincially and federally for the Green Party.

Build up, not out, says candidate

Ken St. George, a nurse who works in community health, says the widening project should be changed to a doubling project.

The Charleswood-Tuxedo candidate wants to preserve the Manitoba Youth Centre, along with green space near Route 90, by building up instead of out.

Last month, River Heights-Fort Garry Coun. John Orlikow said the Manitoba government was willing to consider closing all or part of the Manitoba Youth Centre so that the city could use the land for the Kenaston expansion.

"One of my proposals ... is to look way ahead into the future and possibly double-deck a portion of Kenaston rather than widening." Building a second level to Kenaston, rather than widening it, would reduce expropriation, he said.

"But we need the funding to do so."

Ken St. George, a candidate for city council for Charleswood-Tuxedo, is proposing building a two-level highway along Route 90 instead of widening the roadway. (Warren Kay/CBC)

St. George is optimistic about plans to develop an urban reserve and economic development zone in the area.

"I've seen some of the dark shadows of our city. I've seen some of the social issues," he said.

Aside from running for council and working full-time, St. George is working with the Main Street Project to establish a transitional home for vulnerable people that he calls Albert House, to be directed by nurses.

More open forums, says Klein

Fellow Charleswood-Tuxedo candidate Kevin Klein said the Route 90 project, which he supports, needs to be communicated clearly to the public — work he sees Winnipeg could improve on.

The City of Winnipeg has a website to chart the progress of Kenaston widening. Currently the team is working on incorporating public feedback into the roadway's redesign said Ken Allen, a spokesperson for the city, on Friday.

But Klein says a website is not enough.

Kevin Klein, the former publisher of the Winnipeg Sun, says if elected, he would hold at least two town halls a year to improve communication between city hall and the public. (Warren Kay/CBC)

He promises to hold at least two town halls a year so people in Charleswood-Tuxedo can hear about developments of all kinds in the ward, including the development of the Kapyong Barracks — just west of Kenaston — into an urban reserve and economic development zone.

"We should start now having open discussions about what's planned for Kapyong because there are some fears. Everyone's afraid of a casino, they're afraid of certain things going there," he said.

"The important piece is keeping everyone informed."

The former publisher and CEO of the Winnipeg Sun promises to go "back to basics" if elected. Klein's vision includes a reinvestment in community centres, a more transparent budget process and more partnerships with private businesses.

Former councillor attempts comeback

For Grant Nordman, a former councillor who represented part of the ward for eight years until 2014, Brian Bowman's leadership as mayor has been abysmal.

"There's an old song, A Three Dressed Up As A Nine," he said. "I like Brian Bowman, he's a nice young man but I don't think he was in any way, shape or form ready to be the mayor."

The candidate said Bowman's push to open Portage and Main to pedestrians made him doubt Bowman's capacity as a leader.

Nordman also said it is a shame no expressways were ever built in Winnipeg in the 1960s.

As for Kenaston, he wants to see it widened "as soon as possible" and is looking forward to an Indigenous-led economic improvement zone at the former Kapyong site. 

"I know the one in Saskatoon has a gas station, it's got a dry cleaners, it's got a travel agent. There's a mini mall," he said.

"You talk to municipal leaders in Saskatoon, they can't speak highly enough about it."

If elected, Nordman promises to expand his battery recycling program, called Batbox, citywide.

Winnipeggers will vote for mayor and councillors in 15 city wards on Oct. 24, 2018. (CBC)

More CBC Manitoba election ward profiles:

Corrections

  • We initially reported that Ken St. George wants to reduce appropriation. In fact, he said he wants to reduce expropriation.
    Oct 15, 2018 9:57 AM CT

About the Author

Laura Glowacki

Reporter

Laura Glowacki is a reporter based in Winnipeg. Before moving to Manitoba in 2015, she worked as an associate producer for CBC's Metro Morning in Toronto. Find her on Twitter @glowackiCBC and reach her by email at laura.glowacki@cbc.ca.