Ward 8 is a destination point for Edmontonians and tourists. This traffic heavy ward contributes significantly to taxes and to the economic value of Edmonton, it would be to the benefit of all to focus on rejuvenation and revitalization of existing resources on a regular basis and to further preserve historic sites.
The speed of development happening in Edmonton may work in some areas, but historic ward 8 needs more thoughtfulness. We are not a community that can be built in a week; we must be rejuvenated with diligence from within and infused with new life.
According to the City of Edmonton website in 2013, “800 million is put aside for Construction and Renewal Projects and that 200 projects are completed annually”. In 2017 some communities in Ward 8 still boast excessive potholes, worn down roads, curb and gutters, cracked sidewalks and minimal or, low-quality street lighting. Why?
Our city provides goals that are wide and varied but are not always carried out efficiently or effectively (for the first time on September 18, 2017, Heather crossed the new Walterdale Bridge to city hall to drop off nomination papers.) This has a great impact on the people of Ward 8 and especially our pocketbooks. At the end of the day, we need a reduction in taxes and limit projects that may not have been needed or even requested by the citizens.
While new communities are being developed, a dramatic decline in attention has been given to many mature communities. Our roads are riddled with potholes and our sidewalks are fast becoming a community nuisance which becomes hazardous to our pedestrians and cyclists. For areas undergoing a community makeover, there are unexplained delays and lack of communication on work progress and I heard on the doorstep in 2017 that, “we were forced to have our sidewalk done even though there was nothing wrong”.
I propose a more balanced and manageable approach to infrastructure, to building new communities and to road construction. I firmly believe that developments that are fast-tracked for the sake of a contract may not be the right solutions. Would it make sense to slow new developments and focus on infrastructure in established communities that have high traffic and popular meeting place? The time has come to deal with poor public consultations for our infrastructure and development projects and to not put it off any longer.
Since infrastructure is falling apart, this is a perfect time to create bike-friendly options in Edmonton’s core as many local ward 8 residents are looking for safe alternative travel routes. We need to build a connected way and include existing multi-use trails and ensure we spend wisely and plan well.
The issue with community services is that there are more people in need than qualified people to serve and this involves all levels of government. This becomes an issue in Ward 8 for some seniors, youth and other vulnerable people needing thoughtful assistance. The majority of City employees are helpful and courteous yet sometimes it is difficult to get a response to a concern or issue. Heather is aware that the City of Edmonton has another 10-year plan to end homelessness and yet it seems that progress is stagnant. Up to 2017, our public representatives have spent public dollars. Heather’s goal is to do something very different by investing public dollars. We can stop 10-year plans that don’t work and consider rent to then own models such as what is being done in Detroit.
I propose to enhance Community Services so that the people of Ward 8 and the greater community of Edmonton find the services they need in a timely manner without falling into the proverbial pothole that Edmontonians have grown accustomed to. City Services needs to realign priorities so that they, as workers, are providing services and referrals to people and not just support brick and mortar with a city of Edmonton sign.
The current Bylaws are unclear in their present form. They are, at times, difficult to research and difficult to understand.
I am eager to see “easy to understand” language for our bylaws and to make sure easily accessible to the people of Edmonton in our Citizen Centre/Lounge designated for citizen research.