Winnipeg Mayor Scott Gillingham gave his inaugural state of the city address at the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce Thursday afternoon.

Gillingham provided a progress report on his first few months as Winnipeg's mayor. 

"I'm honoured and humbled by the opportunity to serve as Mayor of this city, one I believe we all love," said Mayor Gillingham in a Tweet. "In January, all of City Council met together at a strategic planning retreat, where we ultimately came to a unanimous agreement on a specific list of priorities for our city for the next four years."

Mayor Gillingham says much of the focus will be on cutting through prevailing currents that threaten the city's progress, including homelessness, safety, downtown and economic development. 

"Those are four strong currents; the challenges we are working through in 2023."

During his speech, Gillingham also talked about adding 24 peace officers on Winnipeg Transit, a move to create a safer environment for bus drivers and those using transit regularly. 

"There's a tough debate in Winnipeg over how to confront issues of crime & safety. Some insist that we need more security and enforcement everywhere today. Others say we can't police our way out of social crisis; only more effective social interventions can deliver long-term change," said Mayor Gillingham. "So, does safety require social intervention or enforcement? My reply is simple: we need to do both."

The security team will initially focus on five bus routes, with the possibility of expansion if the program is successful. The hope is to have the peace officers in place before the end of the year. 

When it comes to downtown development, Gillingham says we need more momentum to ensure Winniepg's downtown is healthy and strong.

"Reinvigorating Downtown with easier rules and a better plan can help to develop our economy—but planning and policy will not be enough," explained Mayor Gillingham.

In the next few months, Gillingham says he will release more about CentrePlan 2050—the blueprint for the development of our downtown communities over the next quarter-century.

"Now more than ever, the City needs to create an environment for growth across Winnipeg."

"I am optimistic for our city's future, and it's because Winnipeg has YOU: volunteers, workers, ambassadors, visionaries, artists—people dedicated to Winnipeg's future."

Gillingham was elected as Winnipeg's mayor in October 2022.