February 23, 2012WINNIPEG - A plan for the City of Winnipeg cooked up by the Mayor and select councillors during a secret retreat raised concerns that a six-hour “Strategic Planning Session” with Council as a whole is a farce, says John Orlikow, City Councillor for River Heights / Fort Garry. Today he was proven right. The Mayor and his Executive Policy Committee attended a two day facilitated retreat to put together a 3 year plan for the City of Winnipeg. Other councillors were not invited, were not informed about the retreat and were not provided any information about what was discussed at the retreat. Despite repeated requests, non-EPC councillors continue to be shut out. When Councillor Orlikow attempted to raise concerns during the Strategic Planning Session and would not agree with the Mayor to simply “trust” the process without at least discussing the concerns, Mayor Katz told Councillor Orlikow to leave the meeting. Orlikow left. “There is no point in participating in a sham, or pretend that this is genuine consultation, when concerns cannot be raised and information is not shared equally.” said Orlikow. Orlikow says that the secrecy, lack of addressing concerns, and unrealistic expectations are clear examples that there never was any intention to actually consult with non-EPC members or the public. “The Mayor’s approach to consultation is totally unacceptable. We need input before the fact, not marching orders.” said Orlikow.