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  • Winnipeg Tribune

Our City is Crumbling Before Our Eyes While Mayor Gillingham & Council Raise Taxes & Fees

Updated: Aug 21, 2023

Sunday, August 20, 2023 - Winnipeg Mayor Scott Gillingham and City Council introduced a massive property tax and frontage fee increase quickly after being elected. We were told the increases were necessary to better care for our aging city. Well, a drive around the city indicates that the massive tax increases, amidst the highest inflation rates in decades, are not caring for our city's infrastructure.

Most city politicians appear focused on being a member of EPC, attending popular functions, their social media platform, and social issues rather than managing one of the largest organizations in Manitoba, the City of Winnipeg.

Mayor Gillingham and city councillors must focus on the aspects that keep a city functioning smoothly. They are ignoring the regular maintenance of city infrastructure. When you drive around our city, are you proud of what you see? We all hear the comments about our city's appearance. Why? When we have among the highest property taxes in Canada.

The lack of consistent upkeep tarnishes our city's aesthetic appeal and poses serious threats to its efficiency, safety, and long-term viability. As this City Council overlooks this critical issue, our city suffers, and the consequences become increasingly evident.

Just walk through most neighbourhoods, and you will encounter cracked sidewalks, overgrown vegetation, and faded street signs that greet your gaze. These seemingly minor issues accumulate into an atmosphere of neglect that chips away at community pride. On the other hand, a well-maintained city instills a sense of belonging and positivity among its residents, fostering a vibrant civic identity. When essential maintenance takes a back seat, it sends the message that the city doesn't value its surroundings or the people who live here, which eventually adds to apathy among citizens.

Beyond aesthetics, a city's functionality heavily relies on the proper functioning of its infrastructure. Neglected roads, bridges, and public transportation systems can quickly become safety hazards. Potholed roads cause traffic congestion, increase vehicle wear and tear, and lead to accidents. Failing public transportation systems discourage usage, forcing more people into cars and exacerbating pollution and traffic. An outdated sewage system, invisible until it backs up or pollutes water bodies, poses severe health risks—a city's inability to maintain infrastructure points to deeper negligence of public well-being.

Let's think about the economic repercussions of neglect because they are significant. Businesses thrive in environments where customers feel comfortable and safe. Dilapidated storefronts, litter-strewn streets, and unkempt public spaces repel potential patrons, leading to declining economic activity. Tourists, who contribute substantially to local economies, are more likely to visit and spend in cities with high maintenance and care.

It is all around us in Winnipeg; neglecting maintenance drives away economic opportunities and hinders our city's growth potential.

As city politicians focus on social issues not within their jurisdiction and being seen with the right people, their lack of focus on maintaining the city is taking an environmental toll on our city.

A city with insufficient waste management systems breeds disease and contributes to pollution and climate change. The City of Winnipeg takes millions of dollars from water and waste for general revenues, while the North End Treatment facility pollutes our lakes and rivers. The Mayor should use the profits from water to improve and maintain that critical infrastructure.

Overgrown vegetation obstructs natural drainage, increasing the risk of flooding during heavy rains. When essential infrastructure deteriorates, it often demands a more extensive overhaul, consuming additional resources and generating higher carbon emissions. Thus, the lack of maintenance not only hurts a city's appearance but also undermines its sustainability efforts.

Proactive and thoughtful planning is essential in addressing the lack of regular maintenance. Mayor Gillingham must allocate resources for routine upkeep, treating it as an investment in our future. Prioritizing maintenance sends a message of responsibility and commitment to citizens and investors alike.

Ultimately, any city's success hinges on the synergy of various elements, both visible and hidden. Neglecting routine maintenance compromises this delicate balance and jeopardizes a city's well-being.

It's time for a shift among city councillors and the Mayor. They need to see maintenance as a fundamental responsibility rather than an afterthought. By investing in regular maintenance, our city can improve and safeguard its appeal, functionality, safety, and sustainability, ensuring a brighter and more promising future for all who call Winnipeg home.


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