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Old Posted Jan 30, 2009, 5:34 PM
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Mayor Katz: State of the city 2009

Katz outlines plan for city’s future

By: Bartley Kives and Joe Paraskevas | Winnipeg Free Press

WINNIPEG needs to be a better­-trained, better-planned and more co-ordinated city, a subdued Mayor Sam Katz told 1,150 businesspeople, politicians and public servants at his annual state of the city address.

In his fifth annual spiel at the Win­nipeg Convention Centre, Katz prom­ised to spend $3 million over the next three years on aboriginal training, broaden the powers of the city auditor, move forward on plans to replace the city’s obsolete planning framework and — as announced last year — cre­ate a new umbrella organization to handle all transit and transportation planning.

Katz promised to hire a chief per­formance officer, a new city staffer who would assist the city auditor and ensure city departments are account­able for the money they spend.

“Often, what you will see is, our audit department going in and mak­ing suggestions on how a department should have done this or should have done that. I want conformance,” Katz told reporters after the $75-a-plate lunch.

On the planning front, Katz said the city will hold an invitation-only, multi­media seminar called A Sustainable Winnipeg that will be part of the on­going effort to replace Plan Winnipeg, the city’s all-but-obsolete long-term planning blueprint.

This morning, city councillors will learn more about a new land-use and infrastructure framework that’s sup­posed to govern Winnipeg’s next 25 years.

“It’s basically a plan for our future. We haven’t had one done since 1972, which really means that there’s never been one done for the city,” the mayor said. In fact, Winnipeg updated the document in 1986, 1991, 1993 and 2001. The mayor also said concrete steps will be taken this year to de­velop a transportation authority to de­cide how to plan and spend money on roads and transportation.

“For too long, our city has built out its suburbs, with new housing develop­ments and commercial-retail proper­ties, then later struggled with the impacts this growth has on our trans­portation infrastructure,” he said.

But the mayor also made an oblique reference to the IKEA-led develop­ment that’s wound up in the cross­hairs of urban-sprawl critics, refer­ring to the $400-million project as “a new major commercial development” that will soon be the subject of a pub­lic hearing.

Reaction to the mayor’s speech was mixed. Tax watchdog Colin Craig praised Katz for stating his goal is to freeze property taxes for the 12th straight year. City council finance chairman Justin Swandel, however, said another tax freeze will be dif­ficult to implement this year without more help from the provincial govern­ment.

Fort Rouge Coun. Jenny Gerbasi, a frequent Katz critic, said she was dis­appointed the mayor made no mention of downtown revitalization.

Businesspeople in the audience gave Katz an easier time. Maxim Truck & Trailer president Doug Harvey said he was satisfied with the content of the speech, even though he wished Katz would have mentioned the proposed CentrePort development outside Rich­ardson International Airport. He also said the mayor could have been more upbeat.

“He’s the chief cheerleader for the city,” Harvey explained.

bartley.kives@freepress.mb.ca joe.paraskevas@freepress.mb.ca





Training, planning and transportation
Highlights from Mayor Sam Katz's fifth state of the city speech, delivered Thursday at the Winnipeg Convention Centre:


New promises
ABORIGINAL TRAINING: The city will spend $3 million over the next three years on an aboriginal youth strategy.

CITY AUDITOR: New powers are coming for the city auditor, along with a chief performance officer who will ensure city departments remain accountable.




Progress on previous announcements
LONG-TERM PLANNING: This spring, Winnipeg will launch a symposium called A Sustainable Winnipeg as part of the an effort to replace Plan Winnipeg, the city's almost obsolete long-term planning blueprint. The aim is to create a 25-year plan for land use, transportation and infrastructure.


TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY: Last year, Katz said a new regional transportation authority would co-ordinate the transit and transportation needs of the city and its suburbs. That authority will begin to take shape this year, Katz said Thursday.




And is this a promise?
PROPERTY TAXES: Katz all but promised to freeze property taxes for a 12th straight year, but the wording left the mayor a little wiggle room. "My goal again will be to freeze property taxes," he said. City council finance chairman Justin Swandel said it will be tough to balance the operating budget that includes a tax freeze without more help from the province.




The bottom line
DOUR BUT SUBSTANTIVE: Thursday's speech amounted to a dour accounting of the challenges facing the city. Some audience members called it dull, as the mayor essentially read a long laundry list of plans and priorities. But the serious tone -- the speech was completely bereft of the jokes typifying earlier state of the city addresses -- seemed appropriate for the gloomy times.
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  #2  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2009, 5:54 PM
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It was dour indeed but at least an improvement over past speeches. Must have a new speechwriter. The last few speeches I went to were basically Katz crapping on everyone.

Worst. Meal. Ever.
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  #3  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2009, 6:17 PM
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It was dour indeed but at least an improvement over past speeches. Must have a new speechwriter. The last few speeches I went to were basically Katz crapping on everyone.

Worst. Meal. Ever.

I have heard similiar things from people at work. Apparently, its a colossal waste of time but you go for the chance to network with the other attendees.

Purportedly, the Gary Doer 'State of the Province' speeches aren't much better.
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Old Posted Jan 30, 2009, 6:37 PM
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they should hire the rrc cooking school to do the catering be good work experiance for them

what the city realy needs is better communication between departments like a refince board for the departments to check for upcoming projects to see if maybe they can team up and kill 2 maybe 3 birds with 1 stone type stuff thus saving money on the line
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  #5  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2009, 7:39 PM
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I have heard similiar things from people at work. Apparently, its a colossal waste of time but you go for the chance to network with the other attendees.

Purportedly, the Gary Doer 'State of the Province' speeches aren't much better.
That's why i go.

I don't mind Gary Doer as a speaker. He has a bit of humour, and is way more upbeat and positive than Katz. You may not like the message, but the messenger is way more interesting.
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Old Posted Jan 30, 2009, 8:43 PM
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I'm sorry i missed it this year. It must have been better than the event i was at for lunch, although the food at my event was pretty good. Let me guess the convention centre served some kind of chicken and sweet potatoe slab.

I find Gary Doer kind of amusing, regardless of what you think of him, he is a good public speaker.
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Old Posted Jan 30, 2009, 8:58 PM
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Were there cranberries in the water?
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Old Posted Jan 30, 2009, 9:40 PM
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Were there cranberries in the water?
Of course!

Chicken, on pureed sweet potato, with cauliflower and parsnips. Seriously.
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Old Posted Jan 31, 2009, 1:09 AM
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the cv needs a new cooking staff lol
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Old Posted Jan 31, 2009, 4:02 AM
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If Katz pulls off yet another property tax freeze I am booking my truck back to Winnipeg, because it is rapidly becoming a great place to live and invest.

Katz has impressed me every year. The city continues to see its tax base grow at rates not seen in my lifetime... international businesses are starting to taking the city seriously .. and things are getting done. Rebuild decades of neglect and poor management.

I know many of you solialists hate him ... but from the point of view of someone who wants the local economy to grow, even in recession and attract people because its a city which shows real promise than Katz has meet or exceeded expectations.

If he pulls of LRT .. I will be pushing for a statue to be made in his honour.

... and if it leads to a new football stadium... well he will officially become the greatest mayor Winnipeg has known in the last 40 years.
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Old Posted Jan 31, 2009, 5:11 AM
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katz is a bit of a idiot butrealy the bigest problem we have is a swack of idiots as counclers
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Old Posted Jan 31, 2009, 5:16 AM
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katz is a bit of a idiot butrealy the bigest problem we have is a swack of idiots as counclers
I agree about certain councilers... and there should be a 3 term limit to flush out the waste.

As far as Katz goes, he has proven his worth, considering how far Winnipeg has moved under his watch. Winnipeg is now one of the strongest civic economies in the nation and there are many reasons to believe in its future. Infrastrucure is getting much needed attention and transit hasn't seen this level of investment in decades and thats not even taking the real rapid transit plan into account.
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Old Posted Jan 31, 2009, 5:20 AM
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I say they all should have limits in city hall as councilors.
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Old Posted Feb 1, 2009, 1:43 PM
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I say they all should have limits in city hall as councilors.
Hear hear!
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Old Posted Feb 1, 2009, 3:14 PM
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[B]
“For too long, our city has built out its suburbs, with new housing develop­ments and commercial-retail proper­ties, then later struggled with the impacts this growth has on our trans­portation infrastructure,” Sam Katz said.
I'm speechless.
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Old Posted Feb 2, 2009, 9:25 PM
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Hello all!

This is my first post here, what a terrific bunch of threads! Looks like a bunch of good bright people.

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they should hire the rrc cooking school to do the catering be good work experiance for them
As RRC is my place of employment, I will give blame to the Culinary Arts department for at least some of my ample midsection.

I like the mayor, he is not the best politician though. Hey, maybe that's what I like about him.
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Old Posted Feb 2, 2009, 10:03 PM
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I, on the other hand, think he is an excellent politician.
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Old Posted Feb 2, 2009, 10:43 PM
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This is my first post here, what a terrific bunch of threads! Looks like a bunch of good bright people.



As RRC is my place of employment, I will give blame to the Culinary Arts department for at least some of my ample midsection.

I like the mayor, he is not the best politician though. Hey, maybe that's what I like about him.
No, the guy is definitely a politician. Anybody who wins a second term especially by his margin has to be.

Same goes for Doer with his 'aww shucks' personality.
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Old Posted Feb 4, 2009, 10:21 PM
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They are both incredibly calculated men making incredibly calculated moves.

Katz trying brand himself as 'not a politician' shows he is one of the cleverest - appealing to joe-schmoe winnipegger who just wants to be buddies.
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Old Posted Feb 4, 2009, 10:41 PM
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They are both incredibly calculated men making incredibly calculated moves.

Katz trying brand himself as 'not a politician' shows he is one of the cleverest - appealing to joe-schmoe winnipegger who just wants to be buddies.
so does that make him our Sara Palin?
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