Manitoba

Winnipeg votes 2018: Old Kildonan ward profile

Three candidates are running for the Old Kildonan council seat in Winnipeg's 2018 civic election.
Three candidates are running for the Old Kildonan council seat in Winnipeg's 2018 civic election. (CBC)

Old Kildonan, Winnipeg's northernmost ward, stretches to the city's north perimeter, and includes The Maples as well as the Amber Trail, Leila North, Templeton-Sinclair, Garden City and Mandalay West neighbourhoods.

The growing area actually lost two neighbourhoods in the recent changes to Winnipeg's ward boundaries — the Old Kildonan neighbourhoods of Riverbend and Rivergrove were moved into the North Kildonan ward to help balance ward populations. Old Kildonan now has a population of 47,155, according to 2016 census data.

The area's growth has come with challenges. The 600-student K-8 Amber Trails Community School was built in 2015. Two years later, the school was over capacity by 170 students.

In June of this year, the province announced the construction of another kindergarten to Grade 5 school to help alleviate overcrowding in the area.

Other facts about the neighbourhood:

  • The ward has a relatively low number of 311 complaints compared to other city wards, according to city data. From January 2016 to Sept. 28, 2018, the city's 311 service had a total of 9,674 complaints from Old Kildonan residents. The most frequent complaint was missed garbage collection (2,325 complaints).
  • The city's CrimeStat data also shows a relatively low number of crimes reported to police. There have been 364 crimes reported in the year to date (as of Sept. 28), compared to 303 during the same period in 2017 — a 20 per cent increase. In both years, the most frequently reported crime was motor vehicle theft — 114 incidents in the year so far compared to 82 from January to September last year (a 39 per cent increase).

Old Kildonan in the news

Meet the candidates

Three candidates are running for the Old Kildonan council seat in Winnipeg's 2018 civic election:

Bradley Gross grew up in the Old Kildonan ward and is currently a realtor. He has run for office before, placing third in the 2010 Winnipeg mayoral race, and behind Matt Allard and Ryan Davies in his 2014 bid to become the St. Boniface councillor. He says he will relocate to the Old Kildonan ward if he is elected.

Devi Sharma is seeking a third term in Old Kildonan, where she was first elected in 2010. She is the only candidate for councillor who lives in the Old Kildonan ward. Sharma won the 2014 election with a narrow margin of 212 votes over Suzanne Hrynyk.

Kaur Sidhu owns River East Pharmacy, where he is also the pharmacist. He previously ran for the Progressive Conservatives  in The Maples in the 2016 provincial election.

What the candidates say on key issues

Questions in this section were among those voters in the ward said they wanted asked of candidates. Responses have been edited and condensed.

Some residents say they've noticed an increase in car break-ins and mischief throughout the ward this year. What is your plan to help combat this?

Bradley Gross: I think there has to be more patrols driving by, even cadets to cut the cost of it. If it's certain areas or certain streets then we have to focus in on those streets a little heavier, because usually crimes are committed because it's easier. Also, making people more aware to not leave things in their cars so thieves won't see anything visible. 

Devi Sharma: In my ward I've supported the neighbourhood watch program Citizens on Patrol (COPP) and a newly formed group, 204 Watch. I'll continue to support these groups and get watch programs started in some of the newer areas of the ward. I also have a positive working relationship with the Winnipeg Police Service and will continue to have regular meetings with the police inspector for north Winnipeg to bring issues to their attention.

Kaur Sidhu: It'll be based on multiple approaches. One is working closely with the Winnipeg Police Service so we can relocate some resources to the area. I also want to encourage people to create and strengthen neighbourhood watch committees so we can all self-protect and be more aware about what's going on.

Old Kildonan residents want to know where the candidates stand on traffic-flow issues, including extending the Chief Peguis Trail. (Julianne Runne/CBC)

Residents highlighted the absence of traffic lights in the Amber Trails area as a concern. How will you work with the city to improve traffic flow in the ward?  

Bradley Gross: As far as stoplights, to improve the traffic flow I'd say maybe more yield signs, because we really want to keep traffic moving as far as I'm concerned. Yield signs to slow down one side of the road to keep one side going, and then maybe people can merge better. 

Devi Sharma: In Amber Trails, I've already addressed intersections where crosswalks are needed, and addressed things like parking restrictions on busy streets so sightlines can be approved where heavy traffic flows. Specifically about traffic lights, yes it is important at certain intersections, even in mature neighbourhoods like The Maples and Garden City. Through my efforts I've already installed stoplights at key intersections in those neighbourhoods. That will come for the newer areas as more traffic studies are done.

Kaur Sidhu: Traffic congestion is a big problem on almost all main roads in Old Kildonan, such as Leila, Templeton, Beecher and Murray. I understand that's because of the new development in the area. To improve it, it'll take teamwork from all three levels of government. Who will bring the issues to the table? That will be my job. I have built good rapport with MaryAnn Mihychuk and Kevin Lamoureux's office, the federal MPs in the area. We'll work as a team and I will continue to bring this issue to the table until something gets done. That'll be my No. 1 priority.

Where do you stand on extending Chief Peguis Trail to McPhillips Street and on the idea of converting Leila Avenue (past Pipeline Road) into a two-lane avenue? 

Bradley Gross: That's a traffic flow thing so it'll be up to the engineer department in the city, but I would support anything that moves traffic along quicker so there isn't such a heavy backload. If there's any emergency vehicles on those roads it's going to be a tie-up, and there's really nowhere to go on a single lane road.

Devi Sharma: Throughout my time as city councillor I have been a strong advocate for the advancement of infrastructure in our community, specifically to do with the Chief Peguis Trail. This originally wasn't going to be looked at in the city's transportation master plan until 2031, but I got it advanced. As a result, the functional design of the extension is complete and I'm going to look for project funding to continue to push hard for that.

The widening of Leila Avenue to a two-lane road is something I've raised to the city department. But also when the Chief Peguis Trail extension will be done, it'll alleviate the traffic off of roads like Leila.

Kaur Sidhu: I support the extension because making it will help reduce the traffic congestion in the area. Coun. Devi Sharma said she'd get Chief Peguis Trail built west in 2010 and 2014, but that never happened. With it, the other roads will be for more localized traffic and it'll be more safe. I'm promising that I'll work hard for our local issues, for our neighbourhood and for the ward at-large at city hall. 

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

More CBC Manitoba election ward profiles:

Journalism students from Red River College's creative communications program have prepared profiles of each city of Winnipeg ward ahead of the 2018 civic election for CBC Manitoba. Read all of our election 2018 coverage here

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