Manitoba

Winnipeg votes 2018: Point Douglas ward profile

Three candidates are running to replace Mike Pagtakhan in the Point Douglas riding.

3 candidates seek to replace Mike Pagtakhan, who has represented the ward since 2002

Three candidates are running for the council seat in Point Douglas, which is a wide-open race this year, after Coun. Mike Pagtakhan decided not to run for re-election. (CBC)

Winnipeg's Point Douglas ward will have a new councillor after the Oct. 24 election — but that's not the only change for the ward this year.

Some people who previously voted in Point Douglas — one of city's oldest wards — will cast their ballots elsewhere this year. Meanwhile, some others who previously voted in the St. James ward will be voting in Point Douglas for the 2018 election.

That's because of ward boundary changes for this year, which aimed to balance out ward populations. The previous Point Douglas neighbourhoods of Mynarski and Robertson have been moved into the Mynarski ward this year, and the Dufferin neighbourhood — part of which was previously in Point Douglas — has been consolidated in the Mynarski ward.

Meanwhile, the neighborhoods of Brooklands, Omand's Creek Industrial, and Weston — previously part of the St. James-Brooklands-Weston ward — will be part of Point Douglas this year.

Voters in the Point Douglas ward want to know what, if anything, candidates would do to revitalize the Alexander Docks. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

Other neighbourhoods in the Point Douglas ward include Inkster Gardens, Tyndall Park, Burrows-Keewatin, Shaughnessy Park, Burrows Central, West Alexander, Centennial, South Point Douglas, and the Exchange District.

Under the new boundaries, the ward has a population of 47,063, according to 2016 census data.

Current Coun. Mike Pagtakhan, who has been the Point Douglas councillor since 2002, is not running again this year. Three new candidates are vying for the seat: Dean Koshelanyk, Vivian Santos and Kate Sjoberg.

Other facts about the ward:

  • Between January 2016 and Sept. 28 of this year, residents of the Point Douglas Ward made 11,939 calls to 311, according to city data. Issues with missed garbage collection (2,596 calls) and neighbourhood livability (2,456 calls) received the most complaints. Graffiti was also a notable complaint. Point Douglas had the third-most graffiti reports among city wards, with 870 calls.   
  • According to the city's CrimeStat police data, 1,0540 crimes have been reported in the ward this year to date (as of Sept. 28), a 30 per cent increase from 811 reports over the same period in 2017.
  • There's been a 58 per cent increase in stolen vehicle reports (211 in the 2018 year to date, compared with 144 from January to September of 2017). Commerical break-ins are up 64 per cent this year (211 reported to date in 2018 compared to 126 between January and September 2017).

Point Douglas in the news

Meet the candidates

Dean Koshelanyk has lived in the Point Douglas ward for 20 years and currently serves as a Winnipeg School Division trustee. He says common sense, financial prudence and safety are core values driving his campaign for city councillor.

Vivian Santos has worked for current Point Douglas Coun. Mike Pagtakhan as an executive assistant. She is a legal assistant by trade.

Kate Sjoberg previously served as the executive director of the Spence Neighbourhood Association and the North Point Douglas Women's Centre.

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.

What, if anything, will be doing anything to revitalize the Alexander Docks area?

Dean Koshelanyk: Well, it's frustrating because we have had many ideas come forward but nothing has come to fruition. Anybody that has a great idea can come forward — I will try to support them the best that I can as a councillor to make those plans work out.

Vivian Santos: The Alexander Docks are definitely a huge historical area in the East Exchange. A lot of architects came up with these fantastic ideas that could potentially happen to the area. I do definitely want to see something happen there, whether it be revitalization or a green space. I want to continue to hear dialogue, and any revitalization, I am all for that.

Kate Sjoberg: I think that's really important, I think that the first thing, for me, is that we live on Indigenous land. The dock has been used for many years a place to hold vigils for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Having public space for that is really important.

I also think about supporting activities for everyone in that space — children, young people, elders, people with disabilities. I'm interested in using the space to create vibrancy in the area. I'm really excited for the potential for those banks.

People in your ward are concerned about the lack of density. How will you address this?

Dean Koshelanyk: The density is going up quite rapidly with two, three developments going up downtown. I will continue to support those and continue to support the people making the buildings happen. We need to make sure that especially in the Exchange District there is enough parking in the area to accommodate the increase in residential properties. I plan to encourage developers any way I can.

Vivian Santos: It's definitely wanted more in the inner-city part of Winnipeg. I definitely want to support housing infill. What I want to have happen is to provide some good plans for parking, business and shops on the first two, three floors and then apartment or condo-style highrises. Those are some things I would like to see come forward, and I will support that as a city councillor.

Kate Sjoberg: I'm interested in encouraging development downtown that includes affordable housing. I'm interested in things like transit-oriented development and bike lane development. We still have a ways to go in making the Exchange a friendly neighbourhood for kids. I'm interested in how can we incorporate kids and the needs of children in our planning of downtown.

Voters in the ward want to know what the candidates think of the proposal to reopen Portage and Main to pedestrian traffic. (Lyzaville Sale/CBC)

How will you promote safety in the ward?

Dean Koshelanyk: We need to encourage people to record crimes, even if they think nothing will come of it. When people band together as a group they feel more able to do something. I would like to encourage the community to watch out for each other. I would like to get more police on the street and out of courtrooms and offices. If people aren't willing to stand up and look out for one another then there's not much that can be done.

Vivian Santos: I believe an increase in lighting in back alleys, lanes and parks is important. There are some parks that have been neglected that we need to increase lighting in, all around Point Douglas. Also, more recreation — one of my plans is to start an after-school program for the youth. It would be somewhere kids can go after school and do homework, have a light snack and have some recreation. It would be free of cost.

Also, having more Exchange District patrols, and continuing to support the Bear Clan, and neighbourhood safety walks.

Kate Sjoberg: Good neighbourhood planning, walking and cycling as opposed to driving, people out of their cars and out on the street. I'm used to partnering with community members to come up with safety plans for the neighbourhood. I'm looking forward to being able to engage the proactive energy of residents if I get elected.

What is your stance on opening up Portage and Main to pedestrians?

Dean Koshelanyk: In most parts of the ward, everyone either doesn't care or is violently against it. It's tough having a ward that's so spread out. It's more the people downtown who want it.

My stance is that I don't know if we need it open. I do know we need to make it more accessible. There haven't been any reports on how to make it more accessible. It's a tough question for me. I will respect whatever Point Douglas voters decide. Even if it's a "no" I will work to make it more accessible.

Vivian Santos: I have been hearing more about it. I have been watching and listening and hearing some of the views coming forward. I am also educating myself about it. I would like to continue the dialogue and the plebiscite is great for Winnipeggers. Now we know the reasons for opening it up, like accessibility, and businesses are for it. I think we need to keep educating people and understanding where they are coming from. Right now, I still want to continue listening.

Kate Sjoberg: I am hearing more of a mix of responses on this issue. There is a sense that it is happening at the expense of investment in the suburbs. I think we need to be investing in all our communities in a fair way. I'm interested in the results of the referendum.

For me, it's also a question of access for people with disabilities. The barriers are fundamentally unfair and unjust simply for that reason. Access for people with disabilities needs to be addressed. I'm interested in safety and I'm concerned about the reports of women experiencing assault. If we're not going take down the barriers, these concerns need to be adequately addressed.

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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