As Mayor, and as a former bus driver for 9 years, I will be treating this issue with the utmost priority for our great city. I will implement a two phase approach:
We will get it done!
Operation Safe Ride:
- Reduction of at least 10 acting Transit Supervisors who will return back to driving.
- The salary allocation would allow for a complement of at least 13 plain-clothes first year Police Officers on the buses.
- The Police Officers will ride routes that have a tendency to attract trouble makers.
- Police Officers will be able to apprehend them immediately, take them off the bus and have the bus carry-on in-service. This will send a very strong signal – assaults will not be tolerated on drivers and passengers.
The Transit management has just received $500+ million dollars from the federal government. It is fiscally possible.
As an environmentalist all my life, given the opportunity to serve as Mayor, vehicle electrification will always be #1 with me. No more spending of our money on old infrastructure like diesel buses. I personally own an electric car which shows leadership in the right direction.
Let’s offer incentives to companies to change from diesel to electric. Let’s find solutions and reward business that will transform into more efficient electrification. Work with the Chamber of Commerce, CentrePort, and others for policy changes to bring about behavioural changes.
The Tree Canopy of Winnipeg is diminishing. Trees are dying faster than we are planting. As your Mayor, all boulevards will have a strict plan/design for replanting. All contractors will have these designs and they must be followed to the letter. All new or renovated streets will adhere to this new plan.
We will find our way to be a greener city.
Active transportation is a priority for keeping our citizens moving and healthy. I believe Winnipeg should be among the top liveable cities in Canada. I will do everything in my power to ensure that we are actively pursuing this dream. Bike paths will be in every new road construction. No exception. If it is forgotten by the contractor - it will be put in by the contractor, at their cost.
Long-term strategy - For years, we have seen crime continue to increase here in Winnipeg with no end in sight. Crime is now the #1 issue in this election.
· It is now affecting our mental health and negatively effects our tourism & communities as we are one of the highest crime-rated city/municipality in Canada.
- 41 homicides so far this year in our city.
· People feel it’s not safe to walk in our streets.
· The Forks is now being referred to as ‘The Knives’.
· People leaving Winnipeg which has a negative impact on our jobs & tax base.
Let’s try to fix this before it becomes too unmanageable.
The timing is perfect to get this done because our Provincial Government is talking about crime in Winnipeg.
If elected as Mayor of Winnipeg, I would be committed to directing $400M annually for 5 years to the development of community-based youth recreation, after school and sporting events in the inner-city communities & the suburbs. This would allow for any youth who wants to take part in arts & crafts, soccer, badminton, tennis, hockey, track & field, just to name a few and it will be a ‘zero’ cost to them.
Just imagine the positive impact this would have on our youth & their futures. I am telling the youth of Winnipeg today - there is hope. 'Join a league, join a team, not a gang’, ‘Shoot pucks not guns’ is the way forward!
Woodstock for Winnipeg
It is time for us as a society to take a pro-active approach to solving youth creating mayhem. We owe it to ourselves to make this happen and not have our city tainted with this ugly brush of overwhelming amount of youth crime.
Just imagine folks, how many lives that we would save and how many families would not be ripped apart! Just imagine our image being restored on the international & national stage and The Forks stays The Forks with a more inclusive image.
If elected Mayor, our focus will be more police officers in communities building relationships rather than being persons who we fear.
Our trained officers should be on the street policing rather than spending time in ‘speed trap’ zones. To combat crime, we need ‘all hands-on deck with one vision.’
Former Long Plain Indigenous Chief to co-chair new Mayoral Roundtable Committee when Woodstock is Elected Mayor
If elected Mayor, Woodstock will establish a Roundtable Committee to address homelessness, addiction & crime issues will Meet at City Hall once a month on the Council Floor to offer a plan to ensure the Indigenous youth & men have resources that have never been offered before. A plan will be developed in consultation with the Indigenous Leaders to help bring mentorship for life skills, trade skills directly for the men.
As mayor, we will set up a monthly meeting with all Manitoba Chiefs and Elders to address these issues. My Co-Chair will be former Long Plain First Nation Chief Peter Yellow Quill. Former Chief Yellow Quill will be tasked with the responsibility of coordinating the Indigenous organizations that will be invited as well as co-chairing the meeting.
The group will develop the action plan and the financial plan within the first 3 months. Then action will be implemented.
There will be a strong male component in this plan to address addiction & mental health, one that the Provincial & Federal government will need a voice in.
As mayor, I look forward to this challenge and partnership. Addressing this need is going to take courage & conviction because the hardest thing for most men to do is to say they need help.
The Committee will consist of the Mayor and one more City Hall member, former Chief Peter Yellow Quill, one Federal representative, one Provincial representative and 27 Indigenous Leaders & Elders.
The meetings will be live-streamed and the gallery will be open to the public.
If for any reason you have a vacant building in the south end of the City, it is a good chance that property will not stay vacant for long.
In the inner city there are approximately 600 vacant properties. The people in the core (original owners) they do not have $10,000 for drawings and $10,000 to demolish and the money to start a new build. This is not cheap and causes a dilapidated property to sit there for a long time.
Banks are very reluctant to lend money for homes in the core area.
Hence, why the buildings in the inner core stay vacant – become an eye sore, haven for criminal activity, garbage dumps, drug houses, fires, etc. And now it is incurring Vacant fees.
As Mayor, I will institute a liveable & sustainable policy exclusive for the core area –
The faster we return these properties back to livable conditions – will be a win-win for the city & the community. Property values will increase and the City will indeed collect more taxes on these properties because it will double or triple in value once renovated.
In this new vision
- we are going to fast track every building that is now boarded up.
- Reduce permit fees and get building permit applications approved in 3-4 weeks instead of 6-8 weeks.
- Merge PP&D and Community By-law Enforcement into one department.
The Current Procedure today is:
After 3 months of the fire, the inspector comes to inspect and this is a $600 fee and this starts the extra fees rolling.
The City in the core area currently doesn’t even wait 3 months, just as the premises burns, the City is right there sometimes and assesses a fee to the owner.
Sometimes the City is there assessing before the Insurance Company has a chance to inspect.
The current system nails us in two ways
1) City charges people a vacant fee and collecting property taxes
2) City charges people who want to renovate or build & collecting property taxes.
This seems like gouging.
Maybe that’s why the city is not motivated to make it a priority to get these properties looking good.
Let’s start working with the citizens and not against them.
The PLAN: To get…..
Families – a decent affordable home to live in.
LandLords – have an income coming in to help maintain the building
City – gets paid higher property taxes
This is a sustainable, livable approach.
As Mayor, I propose 2 steps that will help landlords/homeowners/-renovators to upgrade these vacant properties:
1) Properties in the core area will receive high priority for renovating and for building new. The City will lend up to 50% of the value of your vacant property at 2 percent interest higher than what the city borrows it at & it is paid back over 20 years or, if sold. Responsible owners/renovators will be eligible for this assistance.
Renovating is cheaper than building brand new and is faster at getting the neighbourhood back to looking good! As the Mayor of Winnipeg this is what we will be encouraging.
But if you need to build new, the City will have available 7 different models of ‘rubber stamped’ engineered drawings for you to choose from, at no cost to you, and we will give you the go ahead to demolish within 3 months and start your build.
2) Procedures that need urgent attention:
a) By-Law enforcement: Compliance orders for the core area, more leniency for renovations.
b) Quicker turn-around times for permits. A permit should be approved within 3 weeks. Not 6-8 weeks.
Benefits to the City are:
1) More people moving into the core areas instead of moving out.
2) More Revenue for the city: Example: property valued at $60,000 with a tax bill of $749 to the property now valued at $260,000 and property tax at $3,200. A winning scenario for the city & beats the alternative.
3) The community will be more sustainable and have families living in the neighbourhood instead of drug houses harboring criminals.
This is how we make a neighbourhood more sustainable & livable and dramatically reduce crime.
Less harassment & red tape – more cooperation – we all need a helping hand sometimes.
A 2nd housing initiative
“I support home ownership as a model to help end homelessness. That is why, as Mayor of Winnipeg, I will support implementing the ‘Home Opportunities’ model here.” Home Opportunities is a non-profit founded in Toronto which helps put low to middle income families into homeownerships. They have built over 10,000 units with 76 different projects. In Toronto at the intersection of Keele & Dundas, there is a 24-storey building, 600 units which stands as a testament to the success of this model. Bringing this to Winnipeg will help relieve the stress on the high vacancy rate; and supplying access to more homes for low-income families.”
As your mayor my office will support this model, that will see ownership for folks who are currently paying rent of $1,200. For as little as $800-$900 a month, home ownership will be a reality for so many.
This model uses existing programs offered by the CMHC. The model does not involve government lands or subsidies. “Given the cost of construction – ‘quality construction not cheap construction’ will now be made affordable,” says Mike Labbe, founder of Home Opportunities. Work: 416 504 9855 ext. 226
As an environmentalist it is with pleasure that I announce that this model is also sustainable using Hydro and solar panels to get to a NetZero building.
My second housing initiative for Winnipeg within 4 years.
We know that the mayor & committees has been given the responsibility of selecting the Police Chief to serve in their administration. We need to change this practice.
As Mayor, the selection of the Chief of Police will fall to its members – one person, one vote. Let's face it, politicians could not know who the best person is to serve as chief more than the personnel who are serving on the front line keeping our city safe. The business of policing our streets will then fall 100% on the shoulders of the members/ranks of the Police force.
As Mayor, the choice of the Fire Chief will fall to its WFD members. It makes sense!
I will lobby hard to have the Paramedics out of City Hall and under the Provincial Government authority. This is an actual cost savings measure.
As mayor whose primary goal is to keep our city safe & healthy for its inhabitants, I am proposing to have all revenue that would come back to the City from the Police Budget to be used to give them the much-needed financial support that is needed to keep our city safe.
“As Mayor, I will restore Law & Order and give back to the Police the power of the Police Act. There will be consequences for breaking the law regardless of who you are.”
A major part of this is to get the Provincial Government addressing the neglect with wrap-around services that they should be supplying for folks with drug addictions, mental health, etc. The Police are NOT supposed to be in this alone. To tie up the Police workforce with functions that the Provincial Government should be doing is the #1 reason Winnipeggers are not getting the response from the Police when called.
Eliminate Photo Radar - it is just a cash grab for the City.
As mental health & addictions are on the rise and inflation is looming in on us, people need to find places to live. Safe places & affordable housing is needed. Fix derelict properties to solve this problem.
- We will create an action team to just deal with this aspect of our city.
We see homeless people moving out of downtown and they have begun finding shelter in bus shacks around the city and not just on Regent Avenue. The one body that manages the governance of the City of Winnipeg, is not looking at this issue to find the root cause & solve it. The City of Winnipeg’s Charter states that the Mayor & City Council oversees the well-being of all its inhabitants. We have failed them. The meth crisis has never been addressed and its time we do so.
Seven years ago, I said "I want Winnipeg to be the 8th city in Canada to end homelessness.” It can be done, and other cities are on the path to have it done. Why can't we be doing the same?"
Let's address the housing issue, the mental health issue, drug addiction and provide adequate shelters for those who currently reside in bus shelters.
My administration will not victimize hardworking men & women who depend on the bus shelters in -40-degree weather or when it's raining because of City Hall's inability to address the real issues due to a lack of vision. Bus shelters will stay.
As Mayor, I would invite the Federal & Provincial governments, and citizens who are interested in solving these issues to - grab your pillow & your blankie and let's make the time now to find a solution - short term and long term - for this complex issue. It can be done.
In 2018 while in Ottawa at a Homeless Summit for Veterans, Don Woodstock met the president of the Homes for Heroes Foundation Dave Howard, who was completely disappointed that Mayor Brian Bowman, Scott Gillingham and Council turned him away when he came with a proposal in 2016 to save the city money by taking homeless veterans off the street and provide wrap-around services for them. In June, after coming back from Ottawa, Don connected with Tommy Prince Jr. who is Sargent Tommy Prince’s son, they walked door-to-door with a petition on Selkirk Ave next to Battery St and got 75% of the residents agreeing to allow a project like this to go forward in their neighbourhood. They presented it to Councillor Vivian Santos and she wanted nothing to do with it. They then made a presentation on the Council floor – not one single councillor was interested.
Don's tenacity did not let him give up. He telephoned each councillor again looking for someone to listen to him and Kevin Klein give him the chance. Don called Mr. Howard and asked him to make travel arrangements back to Winnipeg.
Today, Homes for Heroes is building in Winnipeg.
Action not words!
This is the model to deal with homelessness in Winnipeg
With inflation on the rise and recession ahead, we are going to face some interesting years ahead.
Currently, the City of Winnipeg is spending $140M+ annually for servicing our debt.
We have only $30M left in our Rainy-Day Fund – which, by the way, in 1996 it was $2B.
We must find creative ways to increase our revenue stream for the city without burdening the taxpayers.
One such creative way is through immigration. Like Vancouver, but we will cap it at 5-years, we offer incentives to people who are able to buy a home here in Winnipeg.
We will help fast track their immigration status. This could generate Revenue from 100 immigrant families of $40M into our economy. Think of the increased tax base as well. If we stay on this path, we should have a minimum of $60-$70M of new revenue coming into the city.
TENDERING: All contracts will be tendered, and performance based with lowest qualified bid awards and not for people we like but for people who we can hold accountable for the outcomes.
CHANGE ORDERS: The City of Winnipeg in my administration, will now have a policy for change orders. The past administration Finance Chair says, and I quote “we paid it because we did not have a policy.” So, here is a policy: “If you are awarded a contract with the City of Winnipeg and you need a change order to complete the job, we will not issue payment unless approved 75% by Council.”
CURRENT EPC MODEL will change – my administration will only have an 8-member council which includes myself as Mayor. All appointed positions will be within the EPC. Highest percentage of vote in their ward gets a seat at the table. Real democracy.
My administration will do a total revamp of Property, Planning & Development (PP&D). We will cut all red tape that will prevent demolishing your derelict/abandoned/burned properties. Now you will have time to get your plans together & build/renovate your new home. This also will cut properties being used by drug addicts, dealers & meth labs. To renovate & build faster will be a big plus in our communities.
The city has gone away from serving the taxpayers as they should. Under my administration we will get back to serving the people of Winnipeg, especially when it comes to the PP&D department.
There are some good people who work for the City of Winnipeg who are being hindered by the top-heavy management. To all employees of the City of Winnipeg, my administration will create a direct line to my office for whistleblowers. You will speak directly to my office with no fear of reprisal. Your cries and concerns are falling on deaf ears "that too many managers are not competent for the positions they are in", but that will change when I am elected Mayor.
In the City’s release of the Financial Report – our Rainy-Day Fund is at $30M.
I can honestly tell you; I think I know where the money went. For many decades, the snow removal contractors have been taking more than their fair share from the city with no oversight.
So, the city was asked the following:
"May 14, 2022 – what were the construction companies paid for their contract work.”
RESPONSE FROM THE CITY:
Just a bunch of run-arounds, even though the city is instructed to supply information whenever possible, the bureaucrats still do not supply information freely when you make a FIPPA request.
This will end, as all contracts with the City will now have a clause that states “you get City funds, you are obliged to share this information as it is Public funds.” Short of that, please do not put your tender in.
I have been on the streets and have seen the work being done - more needs to be done for supervision of our road work to ensure the proper depth & materials are being used.
We, the citizens of Winnipeg, want accountability when spending tax dollars.
The construction industry will be needed to work 24 hours as part of their tender requirements as their routine work schedule during our short construction season. Other cities are doing it and so should we.
Recycle the concrete rubble from road work
When a road is dug up the concrete rubble will be taken to a City-owned recycling facility to have it crushed to be used in our sidewalks, bike paths and parking lots/driveways.
The equipment costs about $1M and it will
save taxpayers tens of Millions of dollars annually.
Tendering Process -
Review for transparency, competitiveness and fairness.
Review the tender documents for accuracy and completeness so that Change Orders will not be a part of the project.
This will done by a 3rd party.
I am a proud Canadian and love Canada.
The Forks is here to celebrate culture, acceptance, tolerance and loving of culture.
We have a strong, vibrant multi-cultural society. Immigrants are so proud of their citizenships.
Let’s build up Winnipeg with diversity, positivity, and a strong sense of community that we can all embrace.
The only way to make change is to:
· join the community you live in,
· gain knowledge of what is going on around you,
· make yourself a target by running for Public Office, which by the way is very uncomfortable but necessary.
This is how change occurs.
Let's always celebrate Canada Day vibrantly, then get back to work helping to build a Canada that we will all happily celebrate that is truly inclusive with being mindful of the hurt & neglect that has been going on.
We can not divide ourselves with a hope of achieving unity and as imperfect as it may seem to some, we are still in a beautiful country.
Canada Day celebrations & neighbourhood block parties should always be something to look forward to. This is an opportunity to engage with our neighbours and the citizens of Winnipeg as a whole. If elected mayor, I would commit to an added $150,000 annually for Block Party grant monies with the support staff to aid in the organization of the party.
As the creator & organizer of the Lipton Street Block Party & Longest Yard Sale in Winnipeg, the residents of Lipton Street & the West End appreciated the value of this type of interaction with our neighbours. It breaks down barriers, stereotyping and creates a bond with the children from different families.
This is a winning strategy for a healthy, sustainable community, one that can foster meaningful dialogues with each other. Just ask the residents of Lipton Street.
Every opportunity I get as Mayor I will fight Cancel Culture. Let’s talk and make change possible. I’m ready.
City Hall needs a “clean sweep”, and it so happens I have a broom. Both for On & Off the ice, I am your man!
I am Don Woodstock, and I want to be your mayor.