Manitoba

Vote on Winnipeg's bike, pedestrian plan shows city hall isn't more open, says Eadie

The approval of Winnipeg's controversial pedestrian and cycling strategy shows that nothing has changed at city hall, says Coun. Ross Eadie.
Mynarski Coun. Ross Eadie says he expects to butt heads with Mayor Brian Bowman more often. (CBC)

The approval of Winnipeg's controversial pedestrian and cycling strategy shows that nothing has changed at city hall, says Coun. Ross Eadie.

The Mynarski councillor said Mayor Brian Bowman promised a more open city government, compared to the previous administration, when he was elected in October 2014.

But Eadie said a decision by Bowman and the majority of councillors at Wednesday's meeting not to consider changes to the pedestrian and cycling strategy proves that there is no openness.

"This policy here, it hasn't changed. And it's been my experience that if you try to change it through the process after, it's not going to happen. So I don't see where things are so open and flexible," Eadie told reporters after the meeting.

The strategy was approved by a vote of 12-3. Eadie and fellow councillors Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) and Shawn Dobson (St. Charles) voted against it.

They argued that the strategy will cost millions of dollars and commit Winnipeg taxpayers to flawed plans. Eadie said some of the recommended routes make no sense in his ward.

Wyatt storms out

Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt was so frustrated with the proposed amendments being rejected that he walked out of the meeting and taped the motions onto Bowman's office door. He did not vote on the strategy.

Coun. Russ Wyatt left council chambers and taped the defeated motion documents to the mayor's door with the words "democracy denied" scrawled on them 1:35

Aside from issuing a statement calling the rest of the meeting a "farce," Wyatt did not speak to reporters after the meeting.

"These types of antics, they're at worst bullying tactics and at best they're unbecoming of an elected member of Winnipeg city council that is here to represent the citizens," Bowman later told reporters.

"I can't speak to the behaviour of one councillor who chose not to ultimately be there to represent his citizens," the mayor added. "That's really a decision that he made and that he'll have to answer to the residents in Transcona."

As for Eadie, he said he expects to butt heads with Bowman more often.

"I'll work with the mayor on things that we have in common, but it looks like I'm going to be challenging him a lot for the next three years, five months, or whatever it is," he said.

"Actually, let me say it this way: He promised that council would change, and it's not."

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