1) Council can be divisive and public reaction to controversial decisions critical. How would you handle dissenting opinions on council or public criticism, and can we count on you to respect all opinions, whether you agree or not?
I make an effort to inform the public about issues City Council will be discussing prior to each Council meeting. I value the public’s feedback before making decisions. I do this by posting agenda items on Facebook and I have an email list where I send out topics Council will be making decisions on.
2) The city is facing several major urgent infrastructure needs, such as the new recreation centre, roads in need of repaving, the central avenue replacement and aging water and sewer infrastructure. How would you prioritize what work needs to be done without breaking the bank? What do you think the top infrastructure priorities are?
I think we need to tackle infrastructure projects as efficiently as possible. Prioritizing maintenance and upkeep to reduce the need to replace; renovating buildings instead of building new ones; and investing in projects that will save us money down the road.
3) One of the biggest line items in the city’s budget is the police budget. Do you support increasing or decreasing the police budget? If increasing, where will that money come from? If decreasing, where will it go? The city is facing rising rates of crime and poverty. While enforcement is part of the picture, so is prevention, including supporting the most vulnerable. Should the city play a bigger role in fighting poverty and homelessness? If so, how?
I think we need to focus more Police resources on proactive patrol and presence to try and prevent crime and make people feel safe. We also need to put thought into crime prevention strategies throughout our work at City Hall.
I am hearing from the public, especially as I go door to door speaking to voters, that there is a common request for the City to increase its efforts on proactive police patrols, walking and driving, in an effort to prevent crime before it happens. This is a feasible goal for our City. Many members of the public suggest to me that our City invest in social workers and or mental health workers to be a part of the Police response. This is certainly something that other cities utilize. Some cities find that there are cost savings in paying social workers to assist (where appropriate). The City should be advocating for funding for supports that assist people in getting out of poverty but also resources that make our community safer and healthier. Too often we ignore the problem because it is a provincial responsibility. If we are to recognize the need, we need to make sure that we are asking for the funds to get it addressed
5) The city has come under fire recently for poor communication with residents. Do you see this as a problem? How will you address this?
There have been many problems with residents and businesses being able to plan ahead for planned city work that affects their neighborhoods, streets and properties. We need to do better. We need to make sure planned city work is properly communicated to residents in advance, including estimated start and end times
6) What, to you, is the biggest issue facing the city/ward? What do you propose as a solution?
I am hearing that the two biggest issues for residents in Ward 2 are: Crime Prevention and Property Taxes
The public are concerned about safety and property crime. Voters want our Police Service to be in a position to be able to conduct proactive patrols, including foot and driving patrols. This can assist in preventing crime before it happens.
If elected, I will continue to raise awareness and oppose poorly thought out spending schemes. If we as a City were to control our spending, using evidence based decision making, we would be spending less, and needing lesser property tax increases across the board.
7. Why should people vote for you?
I am a lawyer in Prince Albert and the current City Councillor for Ward 2.
I am running for office once again because I believe we need to do better at City Hall. Far too often we pass up opportunities to invest in projects that will save the city money long term, including deferring maintenance that ends up shortening the life of our infrastructure or creating costlier fixes later.
I am asking for your support to remain on City Council so I can continue my work, helping constituents with City issues, gathering public feedback prior to Council decisions, and asking the tough questions at Council meetings.
8. What are your plans to improve parks/Little Red? The city has released a Little Red River Park master plan, but its many goals could prove costly. Meanwhile, the city’s playgrounds are also in need of an upgrade. Is improving the city’s recreation facilities a priority?
I think providing recreational opportunities that everyone can enjoy is really important. We need to continue to upkeep and improve our parks systems. Plenty of enjoyable parks in close proximity to where you live is one of the benefits of living in a smaller city.