WINNIPEG – Mayor Brian Bowman will join 21 Mayors from across Canada later this week as part of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) Big City Mayors’ Caucus meeting in Halifax and FCM’s Annual Conference and Trade Show.

“This is a great opportunity to meet colleagues from across Canada to discuss many different issues including the important role municipalities play in building Canada,” said Mayor Brian Bowman.

The Big City Mayors’ Caucus comprises a regionally representative group of FCM member cities. It meets two to three times a year to discuss shared issues and to reinforce FCM policy and advocacy agenda set by the National Board of Directors.

Big city mayors attending the meeting this week will discuss and receive updates on a number of items including the work of the opioid taskforce, the mental health summit in Toronto, and are scheduled to discuss next steps relating to federal bilateral infrastructure agreements.

“Key for Winnipeg and Manitoba is to get an update on the federal government’s review of our proposal to access federal funding to accelerate investment in rebuilding and rehabilitating Winnipeg’s regional road network,” said Mayor Bowman.

In July 2017, City Council unanimously supported a plan to accelerate regional road renewal in Winnipeg by leveraging federal funding through the New Building Canada Fund (NBCF). This federal government fund, established in 2014, was created to encourage investment in infrastructure projects that contribute to economic growth, job creation, and productivity. Rehabilitating regional roads is a category topping the list of eligible projects under the fund.

“Fixing our roads remains a top issue for many Winnipeggers, and I’m looking forward to getting an update on a proposal supported by every single member of Council,” said Mayor Bowman. “We need to build Winnipeg today for a population growing to a million people strong, and our city’s transportation infrastructure is a critical component of building our city for the future.”

Mayor Bowman will be participating on a panel with other Mayors to discuss how cities are using technology to help manage increased demand for access to information and to support public engagement.

“The need to connect wirelessly is certainly on a growth trajectory and local governments need to think creatively in how they use technology to connect with residents, improve information flow, and improve services while also reducing costs,” said Mayor Bowman citing Winnipeg’s leading edge Transportation Management Centre and associated partnership with WAZE as setting a standard for effective and efficient use of technology to engage with residents and improve traffic flow across the city.

Mayor Bowman will also provide an update to Big City Mayors on the work being undertaken in Winnipeg to support the establishment of urban reserves.

“To grow Winnipeg, we need to be open to all economic opportunities and options regardless of their shape or size,” said Mayor Bowman. “And it’s a collaborative approach that works best because when governments work together with those wanting to build our city, those who are willing to invest in it and carry the risk of doing so, we end up building a city that’s much better today than it was yesterday.”

Mayor Bowman said urban reserves have proven themselves to be an opportunity contributing not only to increased economic opportunities for Indigenous people, but are also a powerful opportunity available to help build and develop the city.

“I look forward to building inter-governmental cooperation, collaboration, and understanding of the opportunities as well as the challenges municipalities face in facilitating the establishment of urban reserves,” said Mayor Bowman.

FCM’s Annual General Meeting is scheduled for Sunday, June 3rd, and will mark the completion of Winnipeg Councillor Jenny Gerbasi’s term as President of FCM.

“Councillor Gerbasi served Winnipeg and municipalities across Canada very well over the past year,” said Mayor Bowman. “It was great having Councillor Gerbasi serve in this role over the last year and want to thank her for all the work, commitment, and leadership she has demonstrated,” said Mayor Bowman.

The Big City Mayor’s Caucus meeting and FCM Conference and Trade Show run from May 31 until June 3 in Halifax. The FCM’s Annual Conference and Trade Show brings together 2,000 delegates and is Canada’s largest gathering of municipal officials. Winnipeg hosted the annual conference two years ago at the RBC Convention Centre.