Manitoba

Winnipeg votes 2018: St. Boniface ward profile

Winnipeggers go to the polls on Oct. 24.
Two candidates are running for the St. Boniface council seat in Winnipeg's 2018 civic election. (CBC)

The St. Boniface ward will be significantly smaller in the 2018 election than it was the last time Winnipeg voters went to the polls.

Under boundary changes to Winnipeg's electoral wards ahead of the Oct. 24 election, several St. Boniface neighbourhoods were moved to other wards. The Dugald, Southland Park, St. Boniface Industrial Park and Symington Yards neighbourhoods have shifted to the Transcona ward, while Royalwood, Fraipont and Sage Creek have been shuffled over to the St. Vital ward.

That's brought the ward's population of 59,778 (according to 2016 census data) down to 47,174 — a population closer to other Winnipeg wards.

St. Boniface, in the central-east part of the city, stretches from North St. Boniface to the Island Lakes development and also includes the Southdale, Windsor Park and Norwood neighbourhoods.

The ward is currently represented by Matt Allard, who has held the council seat since 2014. Realtor Marcel Boille is running against Allard this year.

City administration plans to permanently close Norwood Pool because groundwater is seeping in, contaminating the water. Voters want to know where the candidates stand on closing the pool. (Laura Glowacki/CBC)

The ward has a large population of francophone residents. Based on data collected for the 2011 census, nearly a third of St. Boniface residents speak French (with 27 per cent speaking both English and French, and 0.7 per cent speaking only French).

In the 2014 election, just over half the people who could vote in the St. Boniface ward (or 51 per cent) cast a ballot.

Other facts about the ward:

  • From January 2016 to Sept. 28, 2018, there were 14,486 calls made by St. Boniface residents to 311, according to city data. The top four reasons for 311 calls in the ward were for missed garbage pickup (3,913 calls), missed recycling pickup (3,304 calls) and neighbourhood livability issues (1,731 calls).

St. Boniface in the news

Meet the candidates

Two candidates are running for the St. Boniface council seat in Winnipeg's 2018 civic election:

Matt Allard has been the councillor for the St. Boniface ward since 2014. Before that, he was a small business owner and the CEO of the Francophone Chamber of Commerce of St. Boniface. His platform for re-election includes promoting urban density and improving public transit.

Marcel Boille is a realtor who has lived in north St. Boniface for 37 years. He cofounded a St. Boniface daycare, where he was also a board member for many years. His platform includes halting rapid transit expansion, prioritizing policing and eliminating reduced speed limits in school zones and photo radar enforcement.

What the candidates say on key issues

How long have you lived in the St. Boniface ward and do you speak French? 

Matt Allard: I have lived in St Boniface my entire life, and French is my first language.

Marcel Boille: French is my first language and I've been in the same residence in north St. Boniface for 37 years.

What are you going to do about the Norwood Pool and how will it benefit our community? [The city's community services department has determined it would cost too much to maintain the 56-year-old aquatic facility and recommends decommissioning the old outdoor pool and wading area, and building a new spray pad, play structure, picnic tables and a beach volleyball court.]

Matt Allard: I have been working closely with the Save Norwood Pool Committee and the Winnipeg public service to try to find a solution to the serious problems that the pool has.

Originally, I approached the community with the facts about the situation and the possibilities of what the pool could be replaced with, such as a splash pad, new playground, and other sports facilities. The community spoke clearly that they want to try to save the pool in some form or another.

I have moved two council motions, the second of which directs the public service to provide a report, including budget breakdowns for options to fix, modify, or otherwise preserve the pool to the greatest extent possible.

Marcel Boille: Personally, I want more money to be spent on recreation. I'm against the closing the pool.

Arenas, community centres and pools should be accessible to anyone. I'd like to see [admission to] all pools free. Then people will have a place to go to spend less time on computers and gadgets and more time where it would benefit them. Voters and taxpayers that live in the ward should have the final say, but I'm not in favour of allowing those centres to close.

Voters want to know where the St. Boniface candidates stand on reopening Portage and Main to pedestrians. (Lyzaville Sale/CBC)

Residents say they have seen an increase in break-ins and theft. What will you do, if elected, to make the community safer?

Matt Allard: We need more programming and support to steer people away from addictions. A recent poll said that 69 per cent of Winnipeggers support implementation of "safe injection sites" — recently proposed by Main Street Project — which have been proven to help guide addicts away from drugs and into rehabilitation.

We need more eyes on the street and in our parks, and to grow the population of our neighbourhood, and expand the available recreational amenities. One idea that's been suggested we could add an off-leash dog park in Lagimodiere-Gaboury Park, something many citizens have been asking about for years. I've been told they can reduce crime and increase perception of safety by providing more human presence in secluded areas.

We need to keep the lines of communication open with our Winnipeg Police Services and work with them closely to keep them informed of the ongoing issues in our neighbourhoods. We need to support the efforts of Morberg House, the Catholic Health Corporation, and others in the community on the front lines.

Marcel Boille: Last year, I was a victim of a home invasion. It took 36 hours for the police to respond, but half a block from my place, there is police doing radar all day. They have time to do radar, but they don't have time to look at break-ins or property crimes and that's not acceptable.

Visible cruisers or police patrolling the streets are the best deterrent of crime.

Will you be developing the large empty areas in the industrial neighbourhood of St. Boniface (particularly around Marion Street and Archibald Avenue)?

Matt Allard: The Market Lands, or "Canada Packers" as they are commonly known, are presently owned by a private company which is seeking to develop them. I have been in multiple meetings with the urban planning division, the developer, our MP, Dan Vandal, and the developers planning consultant. They have also conducted community consultation and meetings.

I believe that developing these lands in some form would be a positive thing for both St. Boniface and the city of Winnipeg, and it has been a longstanding objective of the community. I await the formal application from the developer and the report from the public.

​Marcel Boille: I've always said that is where I think an arena or football field should have gone. I would definitely like something to be done there.

If I'm elected I will knock on every door in St. Boniface to see what the people want. At the end of the day, what the people want should guide the city.

Where do you stand on the referendum to reopen the Portage and Main intersection to pedestrian traffic? 

Matt Allard: I will respect the outcome of the referendum vote, on whether to keep it open or closed to pedestrians.

Marcel Boille: I'm totally against opening Portage and Main, but at the end of the day if all the residents vote for it then there is nothing I can do. 

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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