Manitoba Infrastructure is reviewing its services delivery model and policies by hosting a series of open houses across the province. The first open house took place Tuesday in Steinbach.
Richard Danis is Director of Transportation Policy. He explains Manitoba Infrastructure is a multi-functional, multi-tiered department. It consists of everything from construction and maintenance of highways to northern airports and winter roads. And Danis says there are many different areas that the general public probably doesn't realize falls under their watch, including the monitoring of safety of heavy duty trucks throughout Manitoba and the management of emergency and public safety.
Danis says the open houses help inform the public on what they deliver, how it's delivered and how to make proper decisions.
According to Danis, they want public input on how Manitoba Infrastructure is conducting itself and delivering its services. To help with the review, those in attendance are being asked four broad questions. Those questions are: what strategic lines of business should the department be in, how can they be better delivered, is the department spending funds in the right areas and ways to achieve the best value for money and return on investment and what measures can be taken to improve the sustainability of their delivered infrastructure.
These open houses are intended for everyone.
"When the minister made the announcement regarding this service review, he made it very clear that this was to be a high level of public engagement," says Danis.
Danis would not comment on what some of the common questions or concerns were from the public at Steinbach's open house. And, he says he can not answer whether or not the suggestions from the six open houses will in any way be reflected in the next provincial budget.
"Our job here in conducting the open houses is to prepare the information frameworks to allow people to think thoughtfully about those four questions I referenced," he says.
Danis notes they will then take that information from the public and from other consultations with key stakeholders and prepare a technical review on what that information points to. The department will then ultimately bring those options back to government for a final decision.
This week's meetings happened in Steinbach on Tuesday and Winnipeg on Wednesday. They continue in Portage on June 19, in Brandon on June 21, in Thompson on June 25 and in Dauphin on July 3.
"Discussions will help shape Manitoba Infrastructure's role going forward on projects such as roads, bridges and flood fighting and a new direction as we move forward to improve our infrastructure," says Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler.