Use Portage and Main money to bolster Winnipeg Transit, councillor urges

'It's no secret I had been a little too honest,' former city director says

Coun. Russ Wyatt wants to ward off Winnipeg Transit cuts next year by cancelling plans to spruce up Portage and Main.

The Transcona councillor has authored a budget amendment that calls for diverting $3.5 million from a package of Portage and Main improvements to Winnipeg Transit, which faces service reductions on up to 22 routes next year.

Wyatt also wants to cancel $2 million worth of  grants to the Winnipeg Art Gallery's planned Inuit Art Centre and $1 million worth of contributions to the Louis Riel School Division, and spend that money on transit instead.

He called the improvements to the Portage and Main intersection ridiculous, while also criticizing the school-division funding and saying he no longer believes the Inuit Art Centre at the WAG will go ahead.

On Wednesday, the province's culture minister, Cathy Cox, said a decision will be made by the end of the month on whether her government will cover a $15-million funding commitment for the art centre made by the previous NDP government.

Wyatt's motion, which will be seconded by North Kildonan Coun. Jeff Browaty, will come before council Tuesday at a special meeting devoted to the 2018 budget.

It does not appear he has enough votes to pass the amendment, as Mayor Brian Bowman and his allies account for nine votes on the 16-member council.