Winkler Mayor Henry Siemens is encouraging the all city residents and stakeholders to participate in providing feedback for a transportation study now underway in the city. He notes, during last year's municipal election campaign, a big issue identified repeatedly was how some residents are finding it a challenge to move about the community, and many are feel it's a struggle if they don't have a vehicle.
"We've also found many people feel their voices haven't always been heard around this, so we budgeted dollars this year to do a full transportation study to see how we move about town, and how we can do that," explained Siemens. "One of those things is reaching out to people who are most affected, and giving them an opportunity to tell us a what the concerns are, and just as importantly, maybe even more importantly, tell us what those solutions are. Quite often, the people most affected, have the best suggestions, (and) the best ideas to move that forward."
A public open house will be held April 6th, beginning at 7 p.m., at Central Station Community Centre, providing an opportunity for feedback to be shared on the future of transportation in Winkler. Siemens stresses city council and adminstration are coming into this process with no preconceived notions regarding what those solutions may be.
"We think there is a unique 'Made in Winkler for Winkler' solution here, and we're just reaching out to try to find out what that might be."
In order for the city to continue to grow, both from a population and economic development standpoint, Siemens feels finding and implementing whatever those solutions may be is extremely important.
"We're hearing from the immigrant community who's coming here, and have always been used to there being other than car transportation options," he said. "We're hearing from people who maybe are a one car family, and that car has to be parked for eight hours a day at the place of employment, and the other people in that home have no ability to get it. As we look to continue to grow, as we look to find ways to help with affordability, we talk about affordable housing regularly. Quite often the greater question, maybe, is what is affordable living? How can we help around those areas? We believe there's an opportunity here. We've been told there's an opportunity here, and we're looking forward to the information that comes out of this. We're very hopeful there's going to be a creative solution that we can move forward quickly."