Manitoba

Isolated in Winnipeg's south end: St. Norbert-Seine River voters say they need better transit service

Winnipeg's southernmost electoral ward has a new name and new boundaries this year — and will also see a new city councillor after the Oct. 24 election.

5 candidates are running in Winnipeg's southernmost ward

St. Norbert-Seine River resident Bolanle Aina says addressing gaps in transit service to Winnipeg's southernmost ward is a top priority in this year's election. (Caitlyn Gowriluk/CBC)

Some south Winnipeg families say they are feeling isolated as public transit struggles to keep up with the growing number of people settling down in the St. Norbert-Seine River ward.

New ward boundaries in place for the 2018 Winnipeg civic election essentially cut the old South Winnipeg-St. Norbert ward (the city's largest, with a population of  68,112) in half. That created the new ward of Waverley West and the renamed St. Norbert-Seine River ward.

For people like Bolanle Aina, who lives in St. Norbert-Seine River, addressing the gaps in transit services to the southernmost ward in the city is a top priority in this year's election.

"I'm on [maternity] leave right now, so I'm not going out often," said Aina, 35, who has lived in the ward's Richmond Lakes area for the past three years. "But when I used to, for this area [the bus] usually comes late — or sometimes it doesn't show up at all."

John McKenzie, who lives in the ward's South St. Vital neighbourhood, says the area's scattered transit service makes it hard to get around on the bus with his two preschool-aged daughters.

"The way the bus routes are laid out here, if I wanted to go downtown, I might have to transfer as many as two times," said McKenzie, 59. "It's difficult to get out of my neighborhood with the two kids."

John McKenzie says he wants to see a clear vision for the city from candidates running for the St. Norbert-Seine River council seat. 'If you aren't working towards building prospects for my children, I don't really want to talk to you — because you lack the vision that's required to hold the position, as far as I'm concerned,' he says. (Caitlyn Gowriluk/CBC)

Residents in the newly established St. Norbert-Seine River ward will have a chance to elect someone new to represent them at city hall on Oct. 24, with current South Winnipeg-St. Norbert Coun. Janice Lukes already acclaimed in the new Waverley West ward.

Five candidates are running in St. Norbert-Seine River: Markus Chambers, Glenn Churchill, Nancy Cooke, Chris Davis and Nikolas Joyal.

Looking for vision

While McKenzie said he's happy to see some of the investments in public transit the city has made over the past few years — like its rapid transit system — he said he thinks they're decades overdue. This election, he said he's looking for someone with the kind of vision that will help Winnipeg keep up with other cities across the country.

"I have two little girls that I'm raising here in Winnipeg. What are their prospects?" said McKenzie.

"If you aren't working towards building prospects for my children, I don't really want to talk to you — because you lack the vision that's required to hold the position, as far as I'm concerned."

Five candidates are running for the St. Norbert-Seine River​ council seat. (CBC)

McKenzie said he hopes whoever is elected in the ward will represent people like him and his neighbours, a perspective he said city hall has lacked.

"We don't really plan for the public," said McKenzie. "There's vision for the hockey team, or the football team, you know — the things that unite us. But there's no real grassroots, ground-level thinking."

Election day in Winnipeg is Oct. 24. Advance polls are available in the St. Norbert-Seine River ward at St. Norbert Community Centre at 3450 Pembina Hwy. from Oct. 16 to Oct. 18, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. 

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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