News / Winnipeg

City of Winnipeg has broken communications system: councillor

A city councillor says a “broken communications system” is making it difficult for citizens, interest groups or even elected officials to find out what’s going on at city hall.

“It’s very difficult to get information, it’s very difficult to share information, and it’s very difficult to be effective when all you’re doing is trying to find and gather information,” said Councillor Janice Lukes on Tuesday.

She was responding to media questions about a lack of advance notice about this week’s open house on the second phase of the Southwest Transitway project.

While Winnipeg Transit did place ads in local papers on the weekend, the city didn’t make an announcement, issue a news release or post anything on its primary website.

“It’s very frustrating, and as a new councillor it’s driving me crazy,” Lukes said of the city’s communications planning. “It doesn’t really matter what we do if we can’t communicate it out.”

She pointed to the city’s website as a particular problem, and suggested a better search engine would save councillors and citizens a lot of time and frustration.

The city hired a consultant last summer to review its corporate communications department, but Lukes said the work is still ongoing and no one on council has been interviewed yet.

Despite her concerns, Lukes said Mayor Brian Bowman and new CAO Doug McNeill are aware of the problems, and that she’s optimistic things will change.

“We’re all going to learn from it, and it’s going to be improved,” she said.

A spokesperson from the city’s corporate communication department said the review is expected to be completed within two to three months and councillors will be consulted for their opinions, observation and about their communication support needs.

He said both the media and the public will also be consulted.

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