Manitoba

Winnipeg votes 2018: St. Vital ward profile

Voters looking at the new St. Vital ward map will see some major changes since Winnipeg's last civic election in 2014.

Significant changes to ward's boundaries for 2018 election

Two candidates are running for the St. Vital council seat in Winnipeg's 2018 civic election. (CBC)

Voters looking at the new St. Vital ward map will see some major changes since Winnipeg's last civic election in 2014.

A ward which used to stretch all the way down to St. Norbert (past the Perimeter Highway) now only goes as far south as Royalwood — but extends further east than it once did.

New ward boundaries have been introduced this year to help balance the size of Winnipeg's electoral districts, particularly to split up the massive South Winnipeg-St. Norbert ward.

That means the St. Vital neighbourhoods of Dakota Crossing and St. Vital Perimeter have moved into the newly named St. Norbert-Seine River ward.

Meanwhile, St. Vital has picked up the Royalwood, Fraipont and Sage Creek neighbourhoods, previously part of St. Boniface.

St. Vital voters say they'd like to know how the candidates would improve Winnipeg Transit service. (CBC)

"In some ways, it's like going back to an earlier campaign, where you knock on the door and you have to make your case," said incumbent Coun. Brian Mayes, who won the St. Vital seat in a  2011 byelection.

He'll face just one challenger this year — Baljeet Sharma.

Other facts about the ward:

  • St. Vital residents seem quick to call 311 in the winter. From January 2016 to September of this year, the ward had the most calls in the city for road snow removal complaints (1,177 calls) and frozen catch basins (358 calls). The ward also topped the list for sewer backup calls (277). In total there were 12,181 calls from the ward to 311 since 2016, according to City of Winnipeg service data
  • There have been a total of 335 incidents of crime reported in the ward during the year to date (as of Sept. 28), according to the city's CrimeStat website. That's a five per cent increase from 318 reports over the same period in 2017.
  • The most commonly reported crime in the ward was break-ins in the "other" category, which involves anything other than a business or a residence (detached garages or public facilities, for example). There have been 87 such incidents reported so far this year, a five per cent increase from 83 reports from January to September 2017.

St. Vital in the news

Meet the candidates

Brian Mayes grew up in St. Vital and graduated from the University of Toronto with a master's degree in industrial relations and bachelor of law. He ran his own law firm in Brandon, where he was elected as a school trustee before moving back to Winnipeg. He has held the St. Vital council seat since 2011.

Baljeet Sharma has lived in St. Vital for 17 years. He has a bachelor of arts degree in political science, history and English. He also has a mechanical background, attending Winnipeg Technical College for heavy duty mechanics. Sharma is fluent in four languages: English, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu.

What the candidates say on key issues

What can a city councillor do to help people feel safer in light of the opioid crisis in Winnipeg?

Brian Mayes: I think in this term we've had only one councillor on the police board, and I think we need to go back to the model where we've had two councillors on the police board. A little more involvement with day-to-day activities with the police, a little more briefing of the council on what the police are doing.

Baljeet Sharma: I'll go by the people, what they want, and whatever solution they will give. I'll raise their voice and put across their ideas.… It's not good for our city. Whatever it takes I'll do it. This has to be fixed.… Let's sit together and do some brainstorming. Whatever solution comes out, I'm for that.

What are you planning on doing to improve transit service in the ward?

Brian Mayes: There were plans decades ago to put in new infrastructure on St. Mary's [Road]. There was a subway plan, there was a monorail — none of that ever came to pass. We need to do something down St. Mary's in particular. Those sort of transportation issues have come up more than in [my] other two campaigns."

Baljeet Sharma: My prime concern is the safety issue on transit — the way [transit operators] are being attacked. They are being abused. This has to be addressed… [They] face it day to day. Every time they are scared or uncomfortable, they are just doing their job. There's no reason to get hurt on the job.

Is there a passion project you would bring to city hall this term?

Brian Mayes: It's something that I've been fighting for, but I'm going to press for again, because there is a new cost estimate. Handi-Transit does not go everywhere in the city. There are areas they define as being too remote.… [A passion project is to] try to extend Handi-Transit to every part of the city.

Baljeet Sharma: People are giving to much promises — "I'll do this, do that," and the moment you are there, nobody listens.… No matter what it takes, I'll go there, what my people say. I'm not scared — I'll say, "This is what people need now."

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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