After consulting with residents of Ward 12 and reviewing the current situation with City Council I have decided to put together a detailed platform.
Issue 1 Urban Planning
The cause of a significant number of the issues facing Edmonton can be traced back to poor planning and lack of preparation.
Delays and cost overruns on capital projects
Traffic and congestion
Urban sprawl and underutilized land
Although it may sound simple, the solution to these problems comes down to accountability. When a committee is formed it needs to be held accountable for coming up with a complete solution. Although the new arena is a positive development for our city it was poorly executed. No plan was put in place to deal with Northlands. This was not an unforeseen consequence, it was very clear that the new arena would shift revenue away from Northlands and should have been addressed at the planning stage. Another specific to ward 12 is 17 Street. Multiple new developments both residential and commercial including the new city run Meadows Recreation Center have gone in on both sides between the Anthony Henday and the Whitemud. As a major artery in this area the road should have been expanded in order to handle the predicted volume. I will make sure that processes are put to place to analyze and address the full picture of a project before it is approved and work starts. I would also stop all new projects from starting and focus on fixing the issues the city has like crumbling roadways. Once these are addressed we need to look at the long view of what we want this city to be in 5, 10, even 25 years and create a plan to achieve these goals. We cannot build projects and spend money just to stay up with trends or to make the current council look good.
Issue 2 Public Safety
This a very broad concern that has many different factors from crimes such as stealing shopping carts, speeding, and littering, all the way to narcotics distribution, automobile theft, and homicide and everything in between.
My overall strategy will be to focus on prevention as opposed to punishment. I believe that a lot of these crimes can be prevented through community engagement. I will work to bring back programs such neighbourhood watch and block parents. I will have police, fire, and community health professionals work together with community leagues and other concerned parties to implement these programs and educate the community. Together we are stronger and can hold everyone accountable to improve public safety. I will also support the motion to reduce residential speed limits as the research and statistics prove that these lower limits reduce the number and severity of accidents while actually improving traffic flow.
I also think we need to revisit the photo radar program. The people are right in their argument that the program is more about money than safety. I feel that having officers in high risk areas offers a far better option, they can watch for not only speeders, but also issues like distracted drivers, impaired drivers, no insurance/registration and many others.
Issue 3 Employment and Economic Growth
Edmonton is facing large scale job losses due to the low price of oil which has caused our economy to shrink. Not only are the oil companies and all of the support companies suffering but many other industries such as hospitality, automotive, and retail are also feeling the crunch.
Edmonton needs to diversify its economic base away from oil and gas. While this industry will still play a major role, we need to look to other industries. Some great options are the medical field and technology companies. We already have a respectable reputation in these fields and need to offer incentives to attract more companies to move their headquarters here. I would push to create medical and technology business parks where we could offer property tax breaks to these companies so they can grow and create jobs. I would also work with local resources such as the U of A and MacEwan University to have internships and sessional lecturers. Also many of the new medical breakthroughs are technology related so there would be synergies between the industries to offer more incentive to move to Edmonton.
Resolving these issues are the key to putting Edmonton onto the path of prosperity. I will make these issues my priority if elected but want to assure voters that my promise to work for what you want will still be my main objective. I will continue to reach out and listen to everyone’s concerns.
Thank you for your support.