WINNIPEG – In his first State of the City Address since being re-elected in October 2018, Mayor Brian Bowman provided an update on the city’s population growth, the proposed 2019 budget, infrastructure challenges, and outlined his vision to make Winnipeg an international destination for human rights.

Mayor Bowman used the opportunity to highlight this year as a year of historical significance where Winnipeg and Canada will be marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Normandy, the 100th anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike, and the 100th anniversary of the Winnipeg aqueduct, and spoke about how these historical markers can give people reason for hope at a time when many are feeling it challenging to feel hopeful.

Mayor Bowman also challenged Winnipeggers in the 100th year since the Winnipeg aqueduct began operating to choose hope by committing to Winnipeg’s Journey of Reconciliation.

“Five days from now, one hundred years ago, water first began flowing from Shoal Lake into Winnipeg’s McPhillips street reservoir,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “Building it was instrumental for the city, but also came at a significant cost to Shoal Lake 40 who were cut off from the mainland.”

“When Winnipeggers turn on a tap this year, let’s remember where that water comes from. And then join our reconciliation journey – a journey of hope – and we’ll more than just transcend, we will thrive,” said Mayor Bowman.

In his address, Mayor Bowman also highlighted:

  • A city whose population continues to grow steadily and strongly;
  • A commitment to establish a Youth Advisory Council;
  • A new fiscal reality for the city in response to provincial funding changes;
  • A need to move toward multiyear budgeting;
  • A challenge to all Winnipeg members of the legislative assembly to speak up for Winnipeg in support of its infrastructure needs, as well as a need for additional ridesharing options like Uber and Lyft;
  • A partnership between Economic Development Winnipeg, CentreVenture, and other stakeholders to help set a course for the city by developing a land inventory prime for strategic investment;
  • A commitment to realigning and renaming the Innovation Committee so that it can better align with Economic Development Winnipeg;
  • The city’s flood preparation work including the delayed retirement of the Chief Administration Officer so he can help manage the city through this year’s flood season; and
  • A commitment to remove overtime when calculating pensionable earnings for police, making $1.5 million available that could be utilized in areas prioritized by the Winnipeg Police Service and Police Board.

Throughout the speech, Mayor Bowman emphasized a need to put partisan ideology aside including when it comes to establishing supervised consumption sites.

“When clinical evidence and medical experts confirm supervised consumption sites are what Winnipeg needs, I will work to ensure the city is not a barrier,” said Mayor Bowman. “I appreciate the idea of supervised consumption sites weighs heavily on the hearts and minds of many, but we cannot let ideology get in the way of this. It’s simply too important.”

The Mayor also said it is important to be honest that efforts to combat meth in Manitoba are simply not good enough, and that everyone needs to remain open to other new ideas and initiatives to solving old problems.

The Mayor said Winnipeg continues to shed its small town image, and is increasingly being recognized as an international destination.

“Smart planning, collaboration, and better alignment of existing initiatives are keys toward a more efficient and more competitive Winnipeg,” said Mayor Bowman.

The address, the first since being re-elected, builds on last year’s address where Mayor Bowman emphasized the importance of planning for future growth, building strong government, protecting Winnipeg’s competitiveness, and ensuring Winnipeg continues to be an inclusive, safe city for families.
In keeping with tradition, partial proceeds of the State of the City Address are donated to a charity identified by the Mayor.

The charity identified this year is the Bear Clan and the Mama Bear Clan recognizing the incredible work they have done in patrolling our streets, engaging with the community, and becoming role models in our city.