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Michael Kowalson

Michael Kowalson and family


By Rhonda Spivak, July 21, 2010

Michael Kowalson announced this week that he will seek the River Heights – Fort Garry Council seat against incumbent John Orlikow in the upcoming municipal election on October 27.  Orlikow won the seat in a by-election in March 2009.

The ward includes not only River Heights and Lindenwoods but also includes parts of Crescentwood and West Fort Garry.

Kowalson, the owner of two successful Subway Franchises in the River Heights neighbourhood, has a record of community involvement. He has served as a Director of The University of Manitoba Students’ Union, a member of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, and a Co-Chair of the Israel Pavilion – Shalom Square at Folklorama. Currently Kowalson serves on the Board of Directors of Variety the Children’s Charity of Manitoba.

“I am proud to stand as a candidate for City Council in River Heights-Fort Garry. My family and I love Winnipeg and love living in River Heights-Fort Garry. I believe that Winnipeg has a great future ahead, but we must stand up and tackle the issues we face as a community head-on to ensure that our children will have an opportunity to live in a safe, vibrant, and growing community,” Kowalson stated after registering his candidacy at City Hall.

Kowalson, whose parents are Margaret and Aaron Kowalson has two brothers, Josh and Daniel, and noted he also has “ an active 92 year old Baba Molly Kowalson who lives in River Heights .” Kowalson lives on Oak Street where he resides with his partner Alix Kravetsky and 11-month-old son Garrey.

Kowalson said that he has been disappointed in the silence from incumbent Councillor John Orlikow, on a number of issues.

 “River Heights-Fort Garry needs a stronger voice on City Council… Issues such as crime and safety, better community facilities, badly needed upgrades to our roads and back lanes and a fair and equitable property tax bill require solutions,” he said.

Kowalson told the Winnipeg Jewish Review that in his view the issue of crime and safety is of paramount concern.

 “I am alarmed by the increase in violent crime in our city. Recently, it has come to light that Winnipeg is number one across Canada for violent crime.  Yet, it is my understanding that we are number five in Canada when it comes to number of police officers on the street on a per capita basis when compared to other metropolitan areas. This has to be addressed immediately and will be my top priority. We must find innovative and lasting solutions to ensure that all residents feel safe in their homes, places of business, and walking down our streets.

 “Another issue that must be addressed is the state of our parks, community centres and our roads.  It is appalling that for the level of taxes residents of River Heights-Fort Garry pay our streets and back lanes are crumbling, and our parks and community clubs are in desperate need of upgrading.”

Kowalson added, “Residents of River Heights-Fort Garry deserve our fair share of services and renewal for the taxes we pay. The status quo is just not good enough. I commit to bring a stronger voice to City Hall on behalf of my neighbours.”

When asked by the Winnipeg Jewish Review about his views regarding the performance of Mayor Sam Katz, Kowalson responded, “I support him wholeheartedly. I think he’s done a good job as Mayor.”

Kowalson noted that he has been receiving support from people that have been affiliated with a variety of political parties. “I have supporters from across the political spectrum. For example, Liberal Senator Rod Zimmer, Conservative candidate for River Heights Marty Morantz, and former NDP Provincial Cabinet Minister Sam Uskiw are all supporters.”

Kowalson is vying to be the fifth councillor to represent the ward since 2004, when Garth Steek resigned his seat to run for mayor.

Former Glen Murray staffer Donald Benham won the by-election, but was defeated by Tory organizer Brenda Leipsic in 2006. She died of cancer in 2008 and was succeeded by Orlikow, a former school trustee, in a 2009 by-election.

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.