Mayor Brian Bowman highlighted social issues as Winnipeg’s top concerns in his State of the City address Friday, noting that higher levels of government have to work to address drug addictions and crime to relieve stress on municipal services.
The mayor announced the city’s preliminary budget for 2020 will be presented March 6.
Bowman, speaking to 1,200 diners at the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce luncheon, said police are responding constantly to the many issues that flow from addictions, especially meth addictions – felt by families and increased homelessness.
Cities simply are not equipped, financially or service-wise, to deal with complex social issues, he noted.
Aside from drugs and crime, Bowman said saving Lake Winnipeg is the other top issue his council and city administration are focusing on.
Winnipeg last year requested the federal and provincial government settle on a funding formula for the North End sewage treatment plant, but is still awaiting reply, he said.
On the issue of road repairs, the mayor noted under his leadership, city council has worked with the University of Manitoba infrastructure research chair to innovate on construction methods, and to meld standards with the province on construction specifications.
Further, the recommendations of the road construction working group will lead to more 24/7 construction and better alignment of tender practices with the construction season to get more value out of budgets, Bowman said.