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Survey supports Sunday shopping: Banman

Former councillor rules out mayoral bid

By: Grant Burr

Posted: 08/29/2018 9:15 AM

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It seems that talk about Sunday shopping in Steinbach won’t be going away anytime soon. Former city councillor David Banman plans to make certain that the issue continues to be discussed in the lead up to the Oct. 24 municipal election, whether there’s a referendum question on the subject or not.

Results of a survey, which Banman commissioned in recent weeks, he said show that just over 60 percent of respondents are in favour of Sunday shopping.

"I think a lot of it was self-evident. People would prefer to shop in Steinbach, if they had the choice. People do most of their shopping in Steinbach, rather than Winnipeg, and they feel the service is better here rather than in Winnipeg."

About 70 percent of respondents were in favour of a referendum question on the subject.

For Banman, the issue remains the same, after failing to prompt city council to take action on the subject through a presentation earlier this summer. It’s really about one thing, he said.

"One word-choice. Choice for business owners to decide, all business owners to decide, whether they want to be open or not. Right now some have that choice but some don't. It seems to me rather arbitrary which ones get to be open...and it’s about choice for the consumer," he said.

With survey results now backing him up, Banman said that next week he will be launching a Sunday shopping campaign to continue to pressure city council to add the Sunday shopping question to the Oct. 24 ballot. He said the campaign, which is also aimed at gauging the opinions of council candidates, will include an online petition to city council, website, and social media presence.

Banman believes council could still reverse its decision and support a referendum if they do so before Sept. 18, when nominations for the municipal election close and ballots for the vote are prepared.

"I'm hopeful but that's each councillor's decision whether or not they want to listen to the poll, listen to the results and what people have to say, or whether they just want to keep things the way they are."

Another notable part of the survey was a question asking respondents who they would choose as mayor if given a choice between current mayoral candidates John Fehr and Earl Funk or Banman himself.

"The numbers show that I feel I could win the election if I wanted to run, but I'm not going to run. I'm going to continue to advocate on this issue."

The local lawyer said he is happy with his work and family life. A return to council, though he did pose the survey question, seemed far from Banman’s mind this week.

"You always think that your ideas can make a difference in the community and I think I've got ideas that would. This is something that I don't think too many people would want to take on, this particular issue," he said.

"I don't mind dealing with issues that might be a bit more controversial and you see areas where you can help but I don't know if I'm ever willing to do it again. I won't rule it out but, right now, I'm more than satisfied where I'm at."

Banman wouldn’t reveal the percentages on how he fared against the two other candidates, but said the support indicates voters are interested in a candidate that will advance the Sunday shopping issue.

"That speaks for people wanting a change. If another candidate were to come in, there may be some support there for that person."

He recalled running a poll on the issue in 2006, when he also considered running for mayor. Twelve years ago the percentages were nearly identical he said, just flipped the other way against Sunday shopping.

Banman also declined to release results of a question on allowing cannabis retailers in Steinbach, which will already be a ballot question in the Oct. 24 vote. He said he’d rather encourage people to vote in referendum, than influence that process with his survey results.

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