‘Amaz­ingly di­verse’

Coun­cil can­di­dates cite Point Dou­glas ward for its blend of cul­tures

Winnipeg Sun - - NEWS - GLEN DAWKINS gdawkins@post­media.com Twit­ter: @Sun­glen­dawkins

Three can­di­dates are run­ning in Point Dou­glas ward, the most di­verse ward in the city and per­haps one of the most di­verse in the coun­try.

The North End ward ex­tends from South Point Dou­glas and the Ex­change Dis­trict to the east and Omand’s Creek In­dus­trial Park and Tyn­dall Park to the west and strad­dles both sides of the mas­sive Cana­dian Pa­cific Rail­way yard and re­pair fa­cil­i­ties. Some­what iron­i­cally, it only in­cludes half of its name­sake Point Dou­glas with North Point Dou­glas in My­narski ward.

“It’s an amaz­ingly di­verse ward,” said Win­nipeg School Di­vi­sion Trustee Dean Koshe­lanyk, who is mak­ing a third at­tempt at city coun­cil af­ter run­ning un­suc­cess­fully in 2006 and 2010. “You can get any­thing you can think of in the ward be­cause it’s so di­verse.”

‘Di­verse ward’

“We have very di­verse ward with about 15 neigh­bour­hoods,” said

Vi­van San­tos, the ex­ec­u­tive as­sis­tant for cur­rent coun­cil­lor Mike Pag­takhan for over three years. “There’s a lot of dif­fer­ent is­sues so my of­fice is su­per busy. I can get ev­ery­thing from poverty to lit­ter­ing to lo­cal crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties.”

“The name alone throws peo­ple off,” added Koshe­lanyk, who es­ti­mates about 60 lan­guages are spo­ken in the ward.

“As a can­di­date, I’m re­ally in­ter­ested in at­tend­ing ev­ery per­son’s doorstep in terms of reach­ing out and mak­ing sure that they have an op­por­tu­nity to get to know me and know the kinds of things I want to get done,” said Kate Sjoberg, the former ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Spence Neigh­bour­hood As­so­ci­a­tion and the North Point Dou­glas Women’s Cen­tre. "When the wards are this big, it’s very dif­fi­cult to do that in a typ­i­cal cam­paign.

“We’re at the point where we’ve been to ev­ery part of the ward although there are some streets that haven’t hit yet. But I’m lucky to have a cam­paign team that can sup­port me to get out there as much as pos­si­ble.”

Crime and in­fra­struc­ture - in­clud­ing the re­pair or re­place­ment of the Arlington Bridge - are big is­sues in the ward as well as af­ter-school and re­cre­ational op­por­tu­ni­ties for young peo­ple.

Young res­i­dents

“We have a lot of young Win­nipeg­gers who aren’t busy (enough) so I want to cre­ate an af­ter-school pro­gram for these kids,” said San­tos, who has been en­dorsed by Pag­takhan. “I have two small chil­dren my­self and I know as a par­ent that keep­ing them busy keeps them out of trou­ble.”

Sjoberg also be­lieves more needs to be done about poverty and home­less­ness.

“The rea­son I’m in­ter­ested in run­ning is that I know hav­ing worked on re­ally big chal­lenges that are rel­e­vant to the city such as hous­ing, pub­lic trans­porta­tion and these sorts of things, I know that get­ting the things done that we need at the com­mu­nity level is a lot eas­ier when you have politi­cians who un­der­stand what’s hap­pen­ing on the ground and un­der­stand what the ev­i­dence show what we should be do­ing in gov­ern­ment,” said Sjoberg. “I’m in­ter­ested in tak­ing on that role.”

Koshe­lanyk has a some­what novel sug­ges­tion for what to do with the CPR rail yards: Have the city bid for Expo

2035 and use the land for the site.

“Peo­ple don’t like talk­ing about things like bridges and rail tracks, but they do love talk­ing about and get­ting be­hind some­thing like Expo,” said Koshe­lanyk, who plans to be a driv­ing force be­hind the plan if he is elected. “If Expo is some­thing we can use to make peo­ple aware that we need to get rid of these CP rail yards, then that’ what I’m go­ing to do.”

Win­nipeg­gers go to polls on Oct. 24.




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