Supporting the demolition and redevelopment of the land currently occupied by the old Public Safety Building and Civic Parkade, identifying Aboriginal Economic Development Zones as a powerful opportunity to build and develop the city, and creating a Municipal Infrastructure Chair at the University of Manitoba were among several key commitments made by Mayor Brian Bowman in his second State of the City address today as he outlined steps to continue growing the city.

“As I reflect on the state of our city, I see a hardworking, dedicated, and common sense community,” said Mayor Bowman.

“Last year, I painted a vision of what Winnipeg could be in 2045.  Today, we are taking the actions and steps necessary to put us even more on track toward the Winnipeg we want in the future, and the vision I presented a year ago.”

“We have accomplished a lot over the last year, and we continue to build momentum.  I get to meet people and groups from all walks of life, from every corner of our city.  What I see in them is a spark and inspiration, and what I feel is hope.”

Hosted by the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and the inaugural event held in the recently expanded RBC Convention Centre, an audience of more than 1,100 attended the Mayor’s second State of the City address.

In his address, Mayor Bowman:

•   Supported the demolition and redevelopment of the lands currently occupied by the old Public Safety Building and Civic Parkade to further refine and renew the Exchange District;

•   Reaffirmed his support for Aboriginal Economic Development Zones as a powerful opportunity to help build and develop the city;

•   Established a new Climate Change Working Group to help guide the city’s direction on climate change that will be chaired by Councilor Jenny Gerbasi and supported by Councilor Matt Allard and Councillor Cindy Gilroy;

•   Continued to support the removal of the pedestrian barriers at Portage and Main as a key step to making this area of downtown both accessible and engaging;

•   Supported a balanced 2016 preliminary budget while maintaining key services and investing in infrastructure;

•   Supported further reductions to the small business tax;

•   Committed to visiting key Canadian cities to promote Winnipeg as a place to live, work, and invest;

•   Committed to further engage industry bodies and other experts to better understand how growth fees can work for Winnipeg; and

•   Supported the establishment of a grant to the University of Manitoba for the development and operations of a Municipal Infrastructure Chair to help foster greater collaboration between the private and public sectors.

Mayor Bowman challenged those in attendance to consider what they can do as individuals and businesses to respond to the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as part of declaring 2016 the Year of Reconciliation for Winnipeg.

“Reconciliation is about resilience,” said Mayor Bowman.  “It is about honoring the truth, and reconciling for the future, and each of us has a role to play.”

Joined by the President of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities and fifteen Mayors and Reeves from across the province, Mayor Bowman continued to press the provincial government for a fair share and fair say in how infrastructure dollars are spent in communities.

“Our collective path to success requires a new way for municipalities to pay for what we have now, and what we need in the future,” said Mayor Bowman.  “Municipalities in Manitoba are coming together to speak as one voice, to send a message to all provincial party leaders that now is the time for municipalities to have both a fair share and a fair say.”

“Right now, the opportunity exists to move forward in a way that strengthens our collective economies, and better enables all of us to respond to the needs and priorities of our residents today and into the future.”

In keeping with tradition, partial proceeds from event ticket sales will be donated to support a local charity.  This year, the charity selected was the Firefighters Burn Fund.