2018 Garth Steek

River Heights - Fort Garry Ward

Garth Steek

River Heights - Fort Garry

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About the Candidate

A dog-friendly candidate and a dog owner himself, Garth Steek supports dedicated capital funding of $250 thousand for dog parks in the first year, an annual review and their designation as 'single-use'. See his comments below.

Platform: Steek’s priorities are democratizing city hall, conducting value for money audits of city departments to address massive cost overruns, placing a moratorium on bus rapid transit, public safety, keeping Portage and Main closed to pedestrian traffic, protecting the city’s urban forest, and investing in parks and green space.

Steek is committed to changing the way City Hall operates. Under the existing mayoral model, Steek says Winnipeg has two classes of councillors. He says the changes he proposes would ensure that there is only one class of councillor and that all areas of the city have equal representation on council votes.

Steek says the current model allows the mayor to control virtually all votes on council because he alone appoints the members of the Executive Policy Committee and they are paid more than other Councillors. He wants city council as a whole, instead of the mayor, to elect EPC members and he doesn’t believe they should be paid more than other councillors.

Steek insists that, in the interest of transparency, information must be made available to all Councillors simultaneously, not just to EPC members. He adds, “Openness ensures a lack of secrecy and ensures frank discussion”. Steek says it’s critical that councillors vote the merit of any given issue rather than as the mayor dictates.

Steek says that the overspending that has run rampant in certain city departments remains unchecked. His solution to massive cost over-runs on numerous projects - i.e. $80m on police headquarters, a $30m missed filing statement of claim on the water treatment plant, and a $20m overpayment of purchase of the Hydro right-of-way lands - is to audit the departments involved and hold bureaucrats accountable. According to Steek, “There must be a willingness to accept responsibility and a prevailing culture of secrecy must be precluded.”

Steek believes there should be a moratorium on the second leg of bus rapid transit until there is categorial information that supports the massive capital expenditure. He says there is no evidence of increased ridership or a reduction in travel time as a result the $425 million spent on BRT to the University of Manitoba .

Steek argues that council is spending money on the wrong things and that it needs to shift its priorities. He strongly opposes re-opening Portage and Main to pedestrians, calling it an ill-conceived, cost-prohibitive initiative driven by Mayor Bowman that shows no categorical benefit, citing polls that show 90% of citizens oppose it.

He says traffic roundabouts have drawn the ire of many residents and should be removed. He wants a return to conventional stop signs to be part of the 2019 budget process.

Steek wants to hire more police officers to address the increase in property and personal crime. He is critical of council’s decision to curb police spending. He says the City should restore Winnipeg’s social infrastructure by investing more in programs that address urgent social concerns. He wants the City and the Province to work together to add more addictions treatment beds.

Noting that the city loses between 6000 and 8000 elm trees annually, Steek says protecting the urban forest is a high priority. He would achieve this by reducing the size of the public service and re-allocating funds. He believes every ward requires a $2 million minimum investment to bring its park and green spaces up to appropriate levels. He is committed to revitalizing community centres.

As a strong proponent of education, Garth seeks improved relations between school boards and City Hall. He also believes that employing more school resource officers should be a priority.

Steek earned his B.A.(Hons.) at the University of Winnipeg and a law degree at the University of Manitoba. He left legal practice to become vice president of his family's business. He represented River Heights on city council from 1995 to 2004. He made an unsuccessful bid for mayor in the 2004 by-election.

Steek is an active community volunteer, sitting on various boards, including serving as vice chair of Grace Hospital's Board of Directors, working with numerous charitable organizations, and coaching community sports.

Q1: If elected, will you put forward and/or support a motion in Council to create a dedicated tax-supported capital fund for the creation of new dog parks and the upgrading of existing ones to comply with standards in the City of Winnipeg’s new Off-Leash Area Master Plan? Why or why not?

I support a dedicated capital budget line for dog parks of $250,000 in the first year with an annual review in each subsequent year.

Q2: If elected, will you put forward and/or support a motion to designate off-leash areas as “single-use” parks where only those activities associated with off-leash dogs are permitted? Why or why not?

Yes, I fully support single-use dog parks.