City Council votes against contracting out of Winnipeg’s public golf courses


City Council votes against contracting out of Winnipeg’s public golf courses

Story by CUPE Local 500

May 29, 2013 at 6:26 PM

Today, Winnipeg City council voted 8-7 against a proposal led to contract out the management and operation of Winnipeg’s public golf courses to a private company. The proposal, which was spearheaded through the City’s Alternate Service Delivery (ASD) Committee, chaired by Deputy Mayor Russ Wyatt, was, another move to contract out a public service and community asset.

“We are proud to have played a part in this victory to help keep our four city-owned and operated golf courses public,” said Local 500 President, Mike Davidson.  “”We want to thank all the community groups and delegations who spoke in opposition of the lease proposal today and look forward to working with City Council to re-build our golf courses into strong and efficient community recreation facilities.”

Over the past two years, CUPE Local 500 worked with community organizations such as Outdoor Urban Recreation Spaces (OURS), the Winnipeg Labour Council, Manitoba Federation of Labour, and other groups to lobby City Council and inform the public on the detrimental effects of privatization. In October 2012, CUPE Local 500 launched it’s anti-privatization campaign through a TV ad entitled “For Sale”, referencing a number of controversies surrounding the Mayor’s pro-P3 agenda. In March 2013, the Local again launched a second TV ad entitled “No Bargain”, referencing the fact that privatization means higher costs, service cuts, and no accountability.

While the proposal to contract out Winnipeg’s public golf courses was criticized by CUPE and the community for inflating perceived losses, the campaign culminated in the Mayor’s office being “backed into a corner” and releasing a $70,000 ad campaign intended to deceive Winnipeggers into lobbying undecided councilors to vote in favour of the lease

In the end, the Mayor’s campaign was exposed by local media, and was called “unethical” and a “disgrace” by many city councillors.

The council vote required two-thirds majority to pass the contracting out of public golf services, and was ultimately defeated after 8 hours of debate and presentations.

Additionally, City Council voted 9-6 in favour of declaring John Blumberg golf course as surplus land, vowing to re-invest any revenue into existing municipal recreation services.

Here’s how they voted on the leasing proposal:

In favour of the lease proposal:

Mayor Sam Katz, Councillors: Russ Wyatt (Transcona), Scott Fielding (St. James-Brooklands), Devi Sharma (Old Kildonan), Grant Nordman (St. Charles), Justin Swandel (St. Norbert), Mike Pagtakhan (Point Douglas).

Against the lease proposal:

Councillors: Dan Vandal (St. Boniface), Brian Mayes (St. Vital), Paula Havixbeck (Charleswood-Tuxedo), Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry), Harvey Smith (Daniel McIntyre), Ross Eadie (Mynarski) John Orlikow (River Heights-Fort Garry), Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan).

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