News / Winnipeg

City councillor wants Portage and Main report made public

Coun. Jeff Browaty wants a report detailing potential costs and traffic impacts of reopening Portage and Main to be made public.

Coun. Jeff Browaty said

Metro File

Coun. Jeff Browaty said "the mayor must not have liked the information in the draft report," and accused him of cherry picking details for the final, so far unseen administrative report.

Councillor Jeff Browaty may not personally want Portage and Main re-opened to pedestrians, but he's not a traffic expert, so he wants to know what they people who are think of the idea. 

Despite being one of the more vocal opponents of Mayor Brian Bowman's effort's to see barricades removed from the historic downtown intersection, Browaty has committed himself to learning what conclusion a 98-page traffic study reached last fall.  

Now 120 days since he made a freedom of information request to that end, he's been told the report will not be made available because it reveals "advice, opinions, proposals, recommendations, analyses or policy options developed by or for the public body…."

Browaty's not buying it. 

"I'd like to see the information," he said at a media availability held Thursday afternoon at City Hall. "I'd like to make decisions based on science, based on the engineering, based on what this report actually says–not a candy-coated administrative version of this report that cherry picks certain facts."

At a council meeting near the end of April, Bowman said city staff were preparing a report, and he also shared new information that all of the properties around the intersection have approved its reopening. 

Not enough for Browaty, who now says he is "worried the reason it's not being released is because they're trying to come out with a different version of the report that is more friendly and more to the mayor's liking."

The version with cherry picked facts, as Browaty puts it, is what he believes will ultimately be made public instead of the actual $116,000 "taxpayer-funded report" he's been urging the mayor to release to no avail. 

"I'm curious as to why that's not the case, as a public we have a lot of people who are interested in this particular matter," Browaty said, adding that with a public document, "there's an opportunity for the public to have an open and honest discussion."

On Thursday he filed a complaint with the Manitoba Ombudsman to contest his denied freedom of information request, but he's also still trying to pressure the mayor's office into releasing the report, and continuing to stand against the idea until he sees any information to prove his opinion wrong. 

"I think the laws of physics are pretty obvious that when you have 77,000 vehicle movements through that intersection a day, and you have to shut it down to allow pedestrians to cross… it's going to dramatically increase the amount of time it takes to get through that intersection," he said. 

Both Bowman and senior administrators have said a full report, including the traffic study, will be released sometime this year. 

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