Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Attention residents of Berry, Sherbrook., St Matthews, Silver: the bike lobby says kiss your parking goodbye

Kim the Kick-FM traffic reporter reviews the Active Transportation Open House on March 25; plus -- an email from a concerned resident to elected officials:

Kim says:
I arrived at the Active Transportation open house at 1420 Portage Ave Mennonite Brethren church at about 4:01pm and left at 7:10pm. I took note that the electronic billboard WAS advertising the open house
(I think nagging Kevin Nixon finally worked)
. The count for the evening was between 70 and 80 people, most of whom were cyclists.

Took note that CTV showed up as did Councillor Harvey Smith.

Upon first entering the Church people are given a comment form. Question number 3: How do you typically travel to work, school or shopping? The choices given are:
-automobile
-bicycle
-transit
-walk
-other please specify

This question is the ONLY time walking is mentioned on this form. All the rest involve cyclists. Of the 35 Active Transportation projects, 14 are multi-use pathways which would include pedestrians, all the rest ... that would be 21, are solely for cyclists.

Regarding the Omand's Creek Park bridge, it is still "up in the air" according to a MMM consultant.

The projects listed for this open house are as follows, a total of 7 projects for this open house:

Yellow Ribbon Greenway:
-multi-use pathway off the street
-no effect on traffic
-AT in talks with DND to allow pathway onto Military Base as path cannot cross onto the Base
-crosses Truro creek plans are to build an estimated $250 000.00 bridge.
-cost could escalate dependent upon the engineers report

Sherwin
-connects to RRC at Notre Dame
-off road multi-use pathway
-no effect on traffic
-at this time no signal lights are being put up at Sherwin and Notre Dame
-AT will evaluate need for signal lights in a year or so depending upon traffic volumes, RRC has asked for lights at that intersection

St. Mary Ave.
Fort to Memorial
-parking/travel lane
-travel lane
-travel lane
-bike path
-parking lane
-cuts down on width of travel lanes
(note: St. Mary has both morning and afternoon rush hours in some areas that could be affected)

Memorial to Colony
-travel lane
-travel lane
-travel lane
-bike lane
-all parking has been removed from this section

Colony to Portage
-travel lane
-travel lane
-travel lane
-bike lanes on both east and west sides of street
-this section had no parking allowed

York
Vaughan to Main
-parking/travel lane
-travel lane
-travel lane
-bike lane
-parking removed from various sections on York could be south side around Kennedy, Edmonton and Carlton
-has potential to lose more parking

Waterfront to Main
-travel lane
-travel lane
-bike lane


Sherbrook
Maryland Bridge to Portage
-parking/travel lane
-travel lane
-travel lane
-bike lane
-some sections will have cut-outs for parking
-potential loss of parking

Portage to Ellice

-parking/travel lane
-travel lane
-travel lane
-bikelane/parking lane

Ellice to Cumberland
-parking/travel lane (west side)
-travel lane
-travel lane
-bike/parking lane from 700-1930 (East side)
-East side could lose parking
-rush hour lanes will be moved from the east side to the west side
-loss of parking during peak times
Cumberland to Notre Dame
-east side bike lane

North of Notre Dame
-no changes

Crossing options for Sherbrook/Maryland
-Olivia off McDermot extend sidewalk (turns into multi-use path) to Notre Dame to Notre Dame
-Regional Health Authority will have to agree to this as they have that property

Maryland
Notre Dame to Bridge
-no major changes
-bike lane on East side
-does not affect parking

St. Matthews
Arlington to Empress
-north and south side become bike lanes
-travel lane
-travel lane
-some parking could be lost

Silver
Century to Ferry
West side:
-bike lane
-travel lane

East side:
-travel lane
-bike lane
-all parking lost on both sides of the street

Maroons will have bike signage only

St. James at this point only signage, but future efforts could see separated path but will have to do extensive and very expensive cut-outs from sloped areas and a retaining wall, has not yet been costed out.

Berry
Sargent to Saskatchewan
-Bike lane
-travel lane
-travel lane
-bike lane
-parking completely removed

Ellice to Sargent
-bike lane
-travel lane
-travel lane
-bike lane
-parking is completely removed

Silver to Ellice
-bike lane
-travel lane
-travel lane
-bike lane
-parking is completely removed
-is currently a 1 or 2 hour time limit zone
-soccer field/playground and school in that area

Portage to Silver
-bike path will be off street on boulevard by roadway east and west side
****************

Many of the cyclists were pleased with the new pathways, though there were some who felt that all vehicles should be taken off the road.

Spoke with a cyclist, Susan who thought the new paths were great as she likes to cycle for most of the year, though according to Susan she "didn't know anything about these open houses" until a friend sent her an email with regards to this open house. Susan indicated she had seen the Kiosk when it was at Grant Park Shopping Centre, but had not paid much attention to it.

Another fellow who prefers to walk wants more AT and doesn't mind losing parking.

One cyclist Fred Morris (SEE BELOW) is annoyed with the bike lanes saying he had "been dinged" in a bike lane by a vehicle. Fred happened to see the advertisement for the open house through the Metro Lance paper and is a regular cyclist.

Colin and Patricia Knight are residents of Berry St., they have expressed concerns about the loss of parking especially around the Stevenson Britannia School. Colin also expressed concerns because Berry is both a bus route and heavily used by the fire department and feels they could be hampered. The Knights also raise the question of scooters and motorized bikes may end up using the bike lanes and another question raised is about the trees in their neighbourhood being potentially effected by off street bike paths between Portage and Ness.

There is both support and opposition to these plans, yet once again while having upwards of 80 attending, it is a small number compared with the amount of residents in the affected areas. Many of whom are unaware there could be significant changes in their neighbourhoods.

My thoughts:

1) Does the Federal Government really care which project gets what money? As long as the money is spent and projects completed by the end of March 2011. Guess we could ask Pat Martin, oh wait tried that, seems he's not available to answer any questions.

2) If the message of Active Transportation is getting out to residents, then why the low turnout?

3) When I looked at the flyer it was the same used for every other open house, no information. Not anywhere on the flyer does it tell the residents of Berry, of Sherbrook, St. Matthews and Silver that they WILL lose parking on their streets. So to those residents all I can say is "SURPRISE". Look at the gift you've just received from the city and find a new place to park.

4) I also have to wonder about the York and St. Mary bike lanes. Can't wait to see what happens during rush hour when York is wall to wall traffic.

5) Hmm here's another thought, the Parking Authority wants to raise the rates of parking meters in the downtown area and possible the exchange district. Yet the parking authority is losing or giving up parking spots in an area that desperately needs it. York around the Kennedy area is always full particularly when Court is in session and what happens when Active Transportation wants more on-street spots for bike parking? Again all I can say to the motorists and parkers of the area..."SURPRISE".

Kim the traffic reporter
********************
Subject: The Berry Street Bikeway
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2010 11:01:25 -0500

Good Day,
There is a definite need for more explanation. A Berry Street bikeway may be difficult.

Part of Berry is a narrow street that has a bus route, a boulevard with beautiful trees, and parking. Another part has a school, and recreational fields. Also, it will be difficult to discourage the current large amount of non residential traffic. Berry Street is the most direct route between the Airport, some major industry and Portage Avenue. HAVE THE RESIDENTS OF BERRY STREET BEEN CONSULTED?


City Council should individually review each active transportation project. It may not be possible to immediately start each part of the project. Our Conservative councillors should tell our Conservative Federal government not to cut off their funding if common sense necessitates delaying certain parts of the Active Transportation Plan.. Active Transportation can be positive for the future of our City. However, it is important that we deal with problems before we start any part of the project.

Fred Morris

Saturday, March 27, 2010

New Disraeli bridge= expropriations: Free Press breaks 8 day old news, misses real story

Only 8 days after we broadcast the concerns of Elmwood and Point Douglas residents about potentially losing their properties to the revised Disraeli bridge repair scheme,
http://www.4shared.com/file/252198133/957266ae/Martin_Landy_-_Friday_March_19.html

the Winnipeg Free Press finally decided it was a story.

Well, not exactly.

The story is really about the refusal of city officials to address the questions about property losses, until pressured by the alternative media after stonewalling the affected residents for months.

On Friday March 19th we heard about how mainstream media outlets including the Free Press and CBC, had ignored the complaints of potentially displaced and threatened residents, who had asked for proper consultations and straight information from city hall.

As North Point Douglas resident Martin Landy explained, for all the coverage about the Omand's Creek bike bridge where no houses were threatened by a $1 million Active Transportation structure, standing up for poor neighborhoods that stood to lose up to 14 homes to a $53 Million bridge with a $15 million AT structure, didn't register as a concern with the MSM gatekeepers. The people were ignored.

Instead of a balanced story with the residents views included, it appears the Freep fell for the oldest trick in the bureaucrats handbook - a Friday afternoon release full of spin and damage control.

Or, it was inconvenient for Bartley Kives to do any real work so close to the weekend.

Curiously, although the FP story is based on an email sent to city councillors by CAO Glen Laubenstein, an entry with the exact same quotes was posted on the city Disraeli blog under the signature of project head Henry Hunter.

http://winnipegdisraeli.wordpress.com/2010/03/26/disraeli-bridges-project-update/

Disraeli Bridges Project – Update

By Henry Hunter - Project Lead

The City conducted a program of extensive public engagement prior to developing the design of the new Disraeli Bridges. A key element of the public consultation process entailed the creation of a Stakeholder Advisory Committee consisting of local residents, business people and neighbourhood/community groups and involved several open houses.

These public consultations made it clear that Winnipeggers wanted the Disraeli Bridges Project to accommodate motorists as well as pedestrians and cyclists, and they wanted the bridges kept open to vehicular traffic throughout construction.

The Provincial and Federal Government funding received for the project was critical in enabling Plenary Roads Winnipeg, the group the City chose to design, build and maintain the new bridges, to meet these expressed wishes of the public while keeping within budgetary constraints.

Here are some of the key aspects of the design and construction plan developed by Plenary:

• A minimum of four lanes will remain open throughout construction during all peak travel times (Monday to Friday 6 am to 6 pm.
• The bridges crossing the Red River and the CP Rail mainline will be replaced with entirely new structures.
• A separate, new Active Transportation bridge will be built utilizing the existing river bridge piers, proving cyclists, pedestrians and other non-motorized users with an easily accessible, functional and attractive cross of the Red River.
• Pedestrians and cyclists will also be able to cross the Red River on the vehicular bridge, which will feature a sidewalk and bike sharrows.
• The bridge and overpass are designed to accommodate future expansion to six lanes, should that option be pursued.
• Improved lighting, landscaping and aesthetic elements such as an under-bridge art gallery and gateway features will create a more attractive and residential feel for the adjoining neighbourhoods.

Some land needs to be acquired for the project. The details of the land acquisition plan are being finalized, and every effort is being made to minimize property disruption. In all, nine residential and 10 commercial/nonresidential properties may be affected, with most involving the acquisition of narrow strips, or slivers, of land. No more than two homes, and possibly none at all depending on final design details, will need to be acquired. The owners of all the affected properties have already been notified, and in accordance with established policy, the City is endeavouring to negotiate the purchase of any required land with the owners.

Representatives from the City and Plenary have recently met and will hold future meetings with neighbourhood groups to keep them up to date on project developments. In addition public information open houses are being scheduled for mid-April.

The Hunter post came mere days after TGCTS left direct questions about the expropriation issue on the official blog, that were not published until we revisited the blog asking if censorship was being practiced by civic officials.

That same question about censorship now must also be asked by city councillors and the Mayor.

To our surprise, when our entries were finally published, critical comments left by concerned residents in the weeks before ours miraculously appeared on the city blog.

Such as:


Joanne Vanderhorst Says:

Please provide me with a list of properties that will have to be acquired (expropriated) in order for the bridge reconstruction to occur.

P Iveniuk Says:

Dear Sir:
Three days have passed since I asked a couple of questions about this Disraeli project.
Let’s try again shall we?
1.Will these two new spans each have a separate bicycle lane or has the redesign eliminated them?
2. Will there be any public open house to show the final design?
3. It would boost the profile of this blog if there was a link to it on the other Disraeli Bridge Project page; that being the link in your post above.
That’s all for now.

Lori Steinthorson Says:

What is going to happen to the homes located on Midwinter, Talbot, and Riverton closest to the existing bridge? will they have to be demolished?

Following up on our interview with Landy, and under the impression the official Disraeli blog had not been utilized as a means of holding civic officials accountable, we sent our own questions.

marty gold Says:

Mr. Hunter;

There is no mention in your post or in any of the city press releases about how this revised project will affect homeowners in the area.

What explanation can you provide for the fact that no open houses were conducted, which would have allowed for public input regarding these new bridge designs ?

Please post a blog detailing the form/dates of other consultations which have been conducted with residents of Elmwood and the Points regarding possible expropriations and construction-related damage to their homes (foundation and walls cracking etc.) .

Please do not include on that list the open-houses that took place prior to Premier Gary Doer offering additional funding, as his offer completely changed the timetable and designs and were rendered moot.

This example of a city infrastructure process shutting out the public is now an urgent concern — as we were told by Martin Landy (Friday March 19th) that up to 14 property owners may lose their homes now.

Can you confirm or deny that up to 14 houses may be bulldozed to make way for the new bridge on-ramps/approaches etc.?

How much money has been allocated in the budget for potential buy-outs? Any? None?

Our audience was very disturbed to learn of this lack of a proper consultation process, on the heels of seeing the Omand’s Creek Bike Bridge almost being rammed down the throats of residents of Wolseley.

Landy said that the city officials and consultants refused to discuss ANY aspect of this construction project with them, yet work is proceeding. Is that true?

Marty Gold
The Great Canadian Talk Show
92.9 Kick-FM

The Free Press story provides the first clue to the true backroom clout of the bike lobby in Winnipeg.

When the revised, provincially funded Disraeli plan was unveiled, never-answered questions were raised about why the new bridge included bike allowances and sidewalks, when a separate $15 million Active Transportation bridge, approved without a single public meeting or open house, was slated as part of the project.

Now we know why.

"The vehicle bridge will include a sidewalk and extra-wide curb lanes so pedestrians and cyclists will not have to wait for the active-transportation bridge to be completed".

In other words, let's waste some tax money because god forbid the cyclists should be inconvenienced for a year.

The FP story also stated that open houses will take place on April 13 and 14th, at Bronx Park CC and Norquay CC respectively, and that "about 17,000 information packages will be sent to homes in Elmwood and Point Douglas".

However, dissatisfaction has expressed by city councillors like Harvey Smith and Jeff Browaty in TGCTS interviews about slanted and inferior "information" and open houses relating to other projects like the Assiniboine Avenue bike boulevard/traffic diversion and Omand's Creek. The Wolseley outcry led to Coun. John Orlikow personally sending out 15,000 postcards about proposed bike paths in his ward.

The recent failures of city staff responsible for communicating with voters will bring these latest information packages under unprecedented scrutiny. If Disraeli-affected residents feel they are being bulldozed, the backlash will be felt all the way to the October civic election.

**************************

On Monday at 4.30PM, a longtime resident of Berry Street will explain the dangerous, anti-neighbourhood bike lanes being rammed thru in St. James. Coun. Scott Fielding is unavailable next week.

Also on Monday,

- Scott Taylor on the politics of the new football stadium. Premier Selinger has thrown a Hail Mary pass to David Asper;

- More on Disraeli and MSM reporting;

- a follow-up on the Hydro whistleblower and the failure of the Ombudsman's office to enforce the Act that is supposed to protect her confidentiality;

- a father tossing out a party crasher dies;

- and Frank the Italian Barber and Spirited Kenny recap Wrestlemania 26 and GSP's great victory at UFC 111.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Alternative media panel at 4 PM- plus the All Star Sunday line-up

Today, The Alternative Media panel is convened - we look at the state of the city, the province, and the mainstream media, with publisher Bob Axford, Graham Hnatiuk of progressivewinnipeg.blogspot.com, and Rob Galston who writes the Rise and Sprawl blog, (not that the Free Press ever tells their readers). We may even be joined by Young Josh!

The Selinger/NDP election fraud scandals, the conduct of judges in the Brian Sinclair Inquest, the WRHA, Manitoba Hydro, Manitoba Lotteries, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Disraeli, the bike lobby, garbage carts and the Parking Authority, among the topics expected to be analyzed.

And, at 5.25PM, Illegal Curve previews tonights hockey show at 7 PM.

PLUS listen to win passes for the PCW 8th Anniversary wrestling spectacular tomorrow night at Dylan's on Pembina, featuring former world champion Steve Corino, Outlaw Adam Knight, Canadian Champion Average Joe Dixon, and the fabulous Kenny Omega.

* TOMORROW - Live remote from CDI College

* Friday - Wrestlemania 26 preview with Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter

* This Sunday starting at 7 PM we present a 5 episode selection of the best of 2010 aka All Star Sunday;


Friday Feb 26th -- interview with Ace Burpee at the 2010 Olympics

Monday March 15th -- interview with Dallas Courchene, brother of Eric Daniels

Tuesday Feb 9th -- Jason Ross vs the Parking Authority

Wednesday March 3rd Dr Tim Ball responds to claims about Climategate and global warming made by Al Gore in a New York Times op-ed

Thursday, Jan. 14th - interview with councillor Jenny Gerbasi

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Museum for Human Rights ignores graveyard below

Last Thursday on TGCTS, a Metis researcher told of the significant areas of the Forks which had served as a burial ground for aboriginals for a century, and his attempts to get the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to acknowledge this.


Museum champion, Gail Asper did not return David Carriere's call, delegating the task of blowing him off to a flunky.


"Elders" had assured the Museum millionaires that their location was not a burial ground as " we would not have buried so close to the banks of the river".


CMHR head cheerleader Gordon Sinclair of the Free Press also brushed off the concerns, based on assurances from the museum's handpicked aboriginal "experts" that enabled the pet project of millionaires to proceed unabated.


Carriere explained, because of the significant financial support of FN organizations such as the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the Manitoba Metis Federation, if there was any notion that the construction was disturbing a native boneyard, there would be an uproar.


The truth about the bones beneath the floor was an inconvenient truth, for the human rights crowd of Manitoba.


Armed with extensive historical clippings and academic studies of the region, Carriere took his case to the vaunted Round Table consultations at the Forks in January, when CMHR officials ostensibly were asking for citizens to come forward with their ideas of which human rights stories the museum should tell.


As he described it, "THEIR JAWS WERE ON THE TABLE".


Carriere is not asking for construction of the Museum to stop.

He is not asking for existing structures to be torn down.

All he is asking for is a cairn, a plaque, a memorial, to allow visitors to the Forks and the CMHR to give pause and remember the exploitation of a native burial ground by land developers.


Apparently, for the Gail Asper's of the world, such an act would require too much time away from high-society hobnobbing and panhandling for donations from gullible school children and photo-op craving Premiers.


Carriere has yet to hear back about his suggestion from anyone connected to the Museum. Here is the letter he presented at the public session:


Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to propose that the Canadian Human Rights Museum consider the destruction and exploitation of the Aboriginal graveyard of “The Winnipeg Forks Region” as an important story of human rights violation.

The existence of the Aboriginal graveyard at The Forks was consistently described by early visitors to the area as “unusually large”. This was attributed to the smallpox epidemics of 1781-1782. During this time half of the areas aboriginal population died.

This area was used for burial from ancient times till at least 1874 (see photo dated 1874). During this time the number of burials would have been enormous. At times, the Red River flooded. During these floods, much of the surface evidence of the graveyard would be destroyed. Still, the significance of the graveyard as a landmark is evidence by the Selkirk settlers.


For example; On September 15th, 1817, the “Indian tombs” ½ miles south of Fort Douglas was described as the Southern boundary of their new constable’s jurisdiction (the north boundary being “7 Oaks”). It is likely though that most of the surface “tombs” were destroyed during the enormous flood of 1826. During this time it is said that very few surface structures (from within miles of the Red River) survived. This flood destroyed the fort at the forks which was later relocated to higher ground. Still, aboriginal people continued to bury their dead in this traditional graveyard.

After, Manitoba entered Confederation (1870); there became a huge emigration to Winnipeg. The cost of land in “down town” Winnipeg shot through the roof. Enormous profits could be made off land on main thoroughfares. The land South of Main Street and Portage Ave. was seen as too valuable to leave as an “Indian Burial Ground”. So, even areas that were recognized by all on lookers as an Aboriginal graveyard were “converted to other purposes”.


During this land development boom, a great number of aboriginal skeletons were unearthed. The citizens of Winnipeg were under no delusions. These remains were from “The Indian Burial Ground”. It was openly acknowledged in the newspapers of the time.


But, by then, the descendants of the buried were far away suffering on reservations. Some claimed that the aboriginals had abandoned the graveyard. And that gave them the right to use it as they saw fit. But, the separation of Canadian Aboriginals from their ancestor’s final resting place has historically been involuntary.

Some land within the old C.N. railyard is believed to be within the old graveyard. Some of these areas are not built upon. But, it is probably still the same story. The land is seen as too valuable to respect the Aboriginal dead.


David Carriere

Monday, March 15, 2010

Eric Daniels was chased by armed aggressors towards fatal confrontion with cops: brother

Monday at 4 PM, startling new details about the final moments of Eric Daniels were revealed by his brother Dallas Courchene, who says only Eric could have prevented his own death at the hands of Winnipeg police.

Listen here:
http://kickfm.blogspot.com/2010/03/interview-with-eric-daniels-brother-on.html


Courchene has himself been the target of threats from native radicals, after repudiating any allegations that the police shooting was racially motivated, stating that Daniels looked white, and posed a threat in the altercation on Sargent Avenue last Saturday March 6.

Daniels was shot once by police when he refused to drop a machete and walked to within 5 feet of police responding to a call. He allegedly only carried the weapon for self-defence from gangs, after leaving the Native Syndicate.

Courchene confirmed that Daniels, 28, was on probation for a drunken petty theft in Portage La Prairie and should not have been drinking -- but that was his lifelong weakness which led to repeated incarcerations. It was only in jail that he aligned himself with the NS out of fear for his well-being, and Courchene said his brother was not in any way a hardened gang member.

Daniels, after downing a few at the Maryland Hotel with his girlfriend, headed to the Flying Pizza at Arlington and Sargent when a confrontation occurred in front of a house on Home Street. Courchene claimed that contrary to earlier MSM reports, the trouble was started by the people at the house who had a beef with Daniels' girlfriend. Daniels drew the machete from his shoe box, said Courchene, but did not threaten the instigators with it, instead walking away. Courchene says two or more people from the house armed themselves with a bat and followed the couple verbally baiting Daniels, as someone from the house called police.

It was in response to that call, said Courchene, that police saw a frustrated and enraged Daniels whacking at a bench beside the pizza joint. Despite being ordered twice to drop the weapon, he did not comply and was shot to death.

Courchene stated that Eric moving to their home community of Long Plains ("no good influences") and all his stints in jail did nothing to rehabilitate his brother or help him deal with his alcohol addiction, and called into question the sincerity of efforts by the government and native chiefs to deal with the problems faced by First Nations, rather than empire-build and perpetuate the cycle.

Calling for the abolition of treaty rights and the dependency/welfare structure, Courchene endorsed the teachings of Morty Lefkoe who has promised to bring $150,000 worth of courses to the community in an effort to inspire aboriginals in Manitoba to take control and responsibility for their own choices in life.

"If Eric had made better choices, he'd still be alive".

Postscript
: A comment left on the Kick_FM facebook page by Dallas:

Dallas Courchene Marty, thanks for the interview. I just want to clear this up before I get some more flak for it: there are good influences on my reservation. It was a live interview and I was nervous; I was just trying to make the point that some of the influences weren't the best. We all know this. Every reserve has problems, and it's time that we do something about it. If we want to help our children, we must have a positive focus and believe that we can do something about it.

The problem isn't gangs - my brother would tell me that they care about their families and want something better for them and themselves. He would even talk to them in jail about some of the ideas I shared with him, and they listened.

Every negative action always have positive intention behind them, and that's why some people have had negative reactions, calling me an Apple. But that's the furthest thing from the truth, what I did is a clear example of our 7 Sacred Teachings - Honesty, Humility, Truth, Courage, Love, Respect, and Wisdom. And I think it was either Tecumseh or Sitting Bull that said "Don't hate our white brother for what he does to us. Love and forgive them". And you know what? The people of Winnipeg have shown their support - when we Aboriginals hold to our teachings, people support us and real changes happen. ... See more

I choose not to focus on the negative - ever since this happened, many influential Aboriginal leaders and Chiefs have contacted me asking to help them with their projects of helping our youth, particularly those in the criminal justice system. And it's these people that are looking for solutions, not problems, which is why we will succeed.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Winnipeg's Active Transportation "consultation" failure leads to Omand's Creek Bike Bridge battle

In preparation for our coverage of the community open house next Thursday evening for the proposed Omand's Creek bike bridge, Kick-FM traffic reporter Kim did what the mainstream media didn't - she went to the scene and spoke to actual residents.

Hundreds are mobilizing against the Active Transportation department's mindless kow-towing to the bike lobby in the name of "stimulus spending", that would ruin the local toboggan run, and add to other safety concerns.

This past Wednesday, area Councillor Harvey Smith told us he had no clue that the neighbourhood toboggan hill was going to be obliterated by the support pilings for a 75 meter bridge, and that he thinks
the bike lobby has too much influence with city hall insiders. He's not the only one.

Kim's report
:

Hi Marty
I was walking down Raglan on my way to the park when near the entrance I was stopped by a couple of people. One was a woman who is also one of the organizers on getting people out to the meeting. The couple were handing out leaflets informing everyone about the meeting taking place on March 18/10.

Laura stopped me and asked if I knew about the meeting, at that point we started chatting. I told her why I was there and she offered to take me on a tour of the park. Along the way we stopped to chat with a variety of people including cyclists.

Laura told the story of the flood of 1997 where people came to fish and when the flood waters receeded there were fish stuck in the trees. Turns out the folks out fishing had their lines caught in the trees, had to cut the lines so when the waters returned to the river, there were all these fish in the trees.

Every cyclist we talked to had the same thing to say, not one of them had a problem with diverting off the existing creek come flood season. One cyclist lives in River Heights, he comes through the park to meet with friends in the Wolseley area and they all go off together.

Other comments include
- "the money would be better spent elsewhere".
- "1 million for this? Dumb!"
- "If the government can screw it up, they will."

One cyclist (who didn't want to be named) is at the University of Manitoba, he told me that Bike to the Future would back the residents of Wolseley, however, after having read their most recent minutes of March 9/10 I'm not so sure that will be the case.

One older gentleman, Werner, has been using that park for 45 years.

Before there was ever any kind of bridge in the area, he said they would "jump over the water". He uses this park everyday, often several times a day as he walks, ski's, rides through there all the time and vehemently opposed to the new bridge. Werner stated that "it is a rite of passage for the kids to make it up the hill".
He also told me that the Boy Scouts often use the area where Omand's Creek empties into the Assiniboine to launch their canoes. It is also a popular fishing spot.

He also told a story that during one of the floods (he thinks 1861) the natives used the hill as a sort of ark. It was the only place in the area that escaped the flood waters. Werner went on to say that even today everybody comes to watch the flood waters.

Laura went on to say that the residents are "not opposed to cyclists, this is after all Wolseley, but not at the expense of the landscape."

And that seemed to be the words of the day. The residents of this area would "chain themselves to trees" if construction started.

As it is, public works was already out taking soil samples to test where to put the concrete for the new bridge.

Every single person we came across had the same thing to say: they love their little glen for its natural beauty, the prairie grasses, the ducks, geese, beavers that live there. But the residents are also afraid of what a new bridge would mean for safety.

There have been numerous bonfires, bush parties etc. Seems some parents actually drop off their kids for these parties. Problem is they tend to get out of hand. Under the railway bridge it's a mess and a lot of parties.

In the park people have taken apart picnic tables, snapped off parts of trees for wood. The police and fire department are called in frequently. Laura told me that she is afraid this new bridge will bring even worse parties and problems.

One thought was if funding is available for the cadets, couldn't they be used to patrol such areas and break up those parties? It is at the point where the residents are actually considering bringing in some kind of private security, they don't yet know what steps they will take, but those parties have become a problem.

Oh,and I should tell you that (resident organizer) Chris Roe is a man, not a woman. Seems the Freep got it wrong.

Kim the traffic reporter

PS:

Marty there was one thing I forgot. Laura told me that the residents had absolutely no idea this is what was planned. They had no idea open houses had already happened for their area ie the Sherbrook/Maryland open houses. The residents had NEVER been consulted in anyway shape or form.

And man are they pissed.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Outraged listener asks voters to protect Churchill High students from retaliation by school trustees

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/students-could-be-punished-85937707.html

Marty,

This is a perfect example of your theme of this year to hold the elected officials accountable.

I cannot believe that this is even being considered. I guess Winnipeg School Division is showing that it's organization should be operated from the Kremlin.

I wonder, would these same students be facing possible discipline action if they had caught say a kid shooting another kid in the school on their cell phones??

Are we really about to show Canada, because this lap dance video has been seen on the National on CBC, that our officials are this stupid, that the two teachers did something at a high school pep rally that if not gets them suspended, fired or possibly losing their licence to teach, instead we are going to focus on why a couple of students used their phones to video tape the incident.

As I said, this is stunning that this is even being considered. They should be giving these kids a commendation for bringing this to the school divisions' attention.

So if these so called School Trustee's make any kind of decision in any way to sanction the students who taped this incident, well then come the next Civic Election later this year, it's time to actually remember these Trustee's names and hold them accountable.

Most people cannot name their school trustees if you offered them money to remember. I bet they can't even remember who they voted for. It's time for that to change, it's time to hold these clowns accountable.

Granted I don't think that Superintendant Pauline Vlarke can be voted out, but School Trustee Mike Babinsky and School Board Chairwoman Jackie Sneesby can be.

Why does this scream of tampering by the Teachers Association?? Why do you get the impression that the School Board feels it can't do anything to the teachers because of their union power and a possible lawsuit threat, and instead are going to focus on the students who have no representation and are not going to be able to defend themselves.

Shame, Shame, Shame.

Residents of this School Division, I beg you to phone any of the following Trustee's to tell them if they punish the kids, they will meet the wrath of the voters come this fall.

Tell them that this time we will remember their names, this time we will care who we vote for, and this time it will not be them.

Mike Babinsky Phone: 582-9296

Kristine Barr Phone: 775-0990

Joyce Bateman Phone: 799-8855

Cindy Gilroy-Price Phone: 781-6230

Rita Hildahl Phone: 414-7706

Suzanne Hrynyk Phone: 452-3847

Sonia Prevost-Derbecker (Vice-Chair) Phone: 781-8658

Anthony Ramos Phone: 293-8040

Jackie Sneesby (Chair) Phone: 489-3277

Thanks Marty, keep up the excellent work.

N