Ahead of our Mayoral Debate– The Future of Our City– on October 21, we will be sharing our conversations with mayoral candidates in the order of which we met with those who accepted our meeting request to help you make the most informed decision on voting day. Read our full statement.
Winnipeg Chamber Vice President, Policy and Engagement met with Idris Adelakun in Central Park. Idris is a professional engineer, and he has also earned a Ph.D. in Leadership and Organizational Management.
Idris’s platform is comprehensive, but not costed. Idris has four priorities, and three supporting plans:
- Address social issues and boost safety – collaborate with stakeholders to tackle homelessness, addictions, and mental health by creating 800 affordable housing units. Expand the availability of 24-hour safe spaces. Introduce a home-sharing strategy and pair students with seniors. Work with social enterprises to ensure people can get back on their feet. Greater use of analytics in determining crime “hot spots” and targeting resources to areas in need.
- Business – lower taxes and find new ways to generate revenue. Encourage private sector investment. Work with credit unions to create a loan program for community projects.
- Infrastructure – boost the quality of our parks, transportation networks (with an emphasis on active transportation), libraries and sidewalks. Encourage infill housing. Work with the provincial and federal governments to complete CentrePort South.
- Environment – Encourage implementation of clean energy and improve waste management. Address sewage overflows into our rivers. Fast track the completion of the North End Sewage Treatment Plant.
- Idris’s three supporting plans are Seniors support plan (reduce senior property tax by 5% and establish a home-sharing program), Crime prevention plan (prevent gang involvement and address underlying issues) and Transit safety plan (allocate eight police officers and improve driver safety).
Vision for Winnipeg
When asked about his vision for Winnipeg, Idris said that he wants Winnipeg to fulfill its potential to be welcoming and inclusive. To do this, we need to help those who are in need, but also provide ways for people to engage in solving our problems. Idris pointed to his idea of matching students with seniors as a creative way to solve some of the issues with affordable housing. Idris also believes that Winnipeg should explore innovative “signature” projects, such as a StratoCar mass transportation system.
Responding to the Playbook
When asked to respond to the Winnipeg Chamber’s Performance Playbook, Idris said that he would adopt many of the ideas and would consult with the Winnipeg Chamber and broader business community on a regular basis. Idris’s platform is closely aligned with our Playbook.
When asked about downtown, Idris outlined a three-point plan, which he refers to as boost safety, cleanup and beautify. Idris also believes that the City should encourage infill housing, as well as repurposing older buildings, such as office spaces. Idris pointed to the importance of the downtown recovery strategy and said that, if elected Mayor, he would move forward with that on an expedited basis. Further, Idris supports the idea of dynamic parking rates, where rates go up or decrease based on demand. Many of these ideas are aligned with those in our Playbook.
When asked about the importance of relationships, Idris said that relationships with Council and other levels of government are critical, but it is equally important for elected officials to be engaged with the broader community. In Idris’s view, we do not do a good job of engaging the community in solving problems, which feeds a perception that government must always take the lead. Idris would bring about a change where community members are consulted on what they would like to see. When they are engaged, people will contribute their effort and money to make things happen. As a means of creating this engagement, if elected Mayor, Idris would deliver a State of the City address six times a year.
Revenue and competitiveness
When asked about what Winnipeg needs to do to modernize its revenue and budgeting systems, Idris said that he is in favour of priority-based budgeting. Idris also said that he is in favour of eliminating the business tax and merging it with the commercial property tax, although he did note that he would seek [financial and regulatory] support from the provincial government in accomplishing this. Idris points to the power of making smart investments as a means of improving the City’s revenue, such as completing CentrePort south and making additional business lands available.
In this campaign, Idris has unique qualifications for the job of Mayor. His background as a professional engineer and his experience in business leadership and project management provides him with a perspective that sets him apart from other candidates. Idris’s platform is mostly aligned with our Playbook and his ideas are an interesting mix of visionary and practical. We would like to see more specifics on costing and implementation.