Mayor Bowman to focus on downtown infrastructure renewal following mayoral election

By Rachel Young

Supporters applaud Mayor Brian Bowman’s election win as confetti rains down over the stage of The Metropolitan Entertainment Centre on Oct. 24, 2018. /RACHEL YOUNG

Winnipeg’s 2018 election came and went, and Mayor Brian Bowman claimed more than 50 per cent of the vote during the election. His plebiscite regarding the opening of Portage and Main, however, did not receive the same support.

The votes were tallied, and over 134,000 Winnipeggers said ‘no’ in a plebiscite regarding the opening of Portage and Main on Oct. 24, 2018.

Bowman was the only mayoral candidate that supported the opening of the intersection. The incumbent voiced his disappointment during his victory speech shortly after his re-election. “[Winnipeggers] spoke decisively tonight and that outcome will be respected,” said Bowman.

Bowman has been an advocate for the opening of the intersection since he initially ran for mayor back in 2014.

Though the intersection will remain closed for now, Bowman said that revitalizing Portage and Main is still a top priority. As one of the busiest intersections in the city, Mayor Bowman said he believes renewal is integral for Winnipeg’s success.

“Forty years of neglected infrastructure is going to cost money. Nobody wants to spend money, but it is going to be a needed investment,” he said.

Mayor Bowman said he plans to spend $976 million over the next six years on this renewal, as well as other road renewal projects around the city. The project aims to encourage Winnipegger’s to go downtown.

Local restaurant manager Kevin Sawka runs two downtown Freshii locations, Winnipeg Square and Cityplace. He said he hopes that this will bring more foot traffic to downtown businesses.

Sawka said he wants better signage, lighting, and security to help people navigate the underground passageways. He said he believes that these renewals will have a great effect on business and downtown life. “It absolutely needs a facelift when it comes to pedestrians.”

Winnipeg Transit will see changes coming as well. Mayor Bowman has stated that he is committed to the introduction of low-income bus passes, heated bus shelters, and designing accessible bus stops.

He also has plans to build a new public recreation centre in Waverly West.

Waverly West is one of Winnipeg’s fastest growing neighbourhoods. Bowman addressed the community in September, saying that the neighbourhood is deserving of the centre. “Waverley West has gone without a local public recreational facility for too long,” said Bowman.


For more details on Winnipeg’s  2018 election visit


Old spray paint, crumbling concrete, and rusted railings sit at the corner of Portage and Main on Oct. 24, 2018./ RACHEL YOUNG