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December 10, 2020

Preliminary 2021 Balanced Budget Update continues to prioritize new strategies for community safety

Released: 11:40 a.m.

Winnipeg, MB – The Preliminary 2021 Balanced Budget Update builds on the decisions made during the multi-year balanced budget process by continuing to prioritize new ways to complement the efforts of our Winnipeg Police Service and maintain funding. 

“As calls for service continue to increase, this budget ensures the necessary investments are included to meet the current demands of policing,” said Markus Chambers, Chairperson of the Winnipeg Police Board. “The Winnipeg Police Service will continue to provide service when called upon, but will also continue to build effective partnerships with community stakeholders so that we can ensure the right resources are meeting community needs at the right time.” 

“In recognition that change is needed in the way community safety is addressed, the City of Winnipeg continues to examine and incorporate new strategies to complement the efforts of the Winnipeg Police Service,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “Recognizing all levels of government, and notably health services agencies, play a critical role in supporting the Winnipeg Police Service when they are called. As a community, we will collectively be able to focus on better outcomes.”

The Preliminary 2021 Balanced Budget Update includes: 

  • An annual investment into the Community Safety and Crime Prevention program of $100,000
  • $1 million for additional 24-hour safe spaces that are being brought on line by Spence Neighbourhood Association and Ka Ni Kanichihk, which were a key recommendation of the 2019 Illicit Drug Task Force report
  • Continued support for the Downtown Public Safety Strategy, along with annual grant funding of $150,000 to End Homelessness Winnipeg

Last summer, the City was selected to participate in the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative. This presented an opportunity to leverage Bloomberg Harvard’s resources to help improve the City’s ability to collaborate across agencies, jurisdictions, and sectors to solve a single challenge of the City’s choosing. 

Over the course of the year, the City brought together different levels of government, agencies, and organizations to think creatively, innovatively, and with open minds to find ways to reduce the dispatch demand on City of Winnipeg police, fire, and ambulance services where they are not the service best suited to respond to the needs of an individual calling 911. Much work has been put into analyzing the current state of available resources and resource delivery, and proposing ways to better align how existing agencies, resources, and personnel are dispatched to 911 calls. 

“I look forward to seeing this work in action as we work toward an approach that puts more of a focus on the needs of the caller so that better outcomes can be achieved for our community,” said Mayor Bowman. “This initiative demonstrated how our entire community, including the Winnipeg Police Service and health service agencies, are open and willing to change our existing response models. This required our community to work together, and I am pleased to see that has happened to date, and am hopeful that it will continue in a meaningful way as we look to implement the suggestions reported to Council earlier this fall.” 

The Preliminary 2021 Balanced Budget Update continues investing into the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) with $301.2 million before capital related expenditures, which includes a portion of the approximate $15 million in cost savings to be achieved over the next three years. This will make up 50 percent of the police pension plan shortfall, while the remaining 50 percent of the pension shortfall will be made up by savings in other areas of the tax supported budget.

Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service responds to fire on Cottonwood Road

Released: 12:05 p.m.

Winnipeg, MB – At 9:10 a.m. on December 10, 2020, the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service responded to reports of a vehicle fire inside a commercial structure in the 900 block of Cottonwood Road.

When crews arrived on scene they found the fire had extended to the building, with heavy smoke and flames present. A defensive attack was initially launched until it was safe for crews to enter the structure. The fire was declared under control at 10:14 a.m.

All staff in the building safely self-evacuated, and no injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire is believed to be accidental. No damage estimates are currently available but the building suffered significant fire, smoke, and water damage.

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