We asked candidates nine questions about their vision for the city, what makes them the best candidate and where they stand on local issues. An edited version of this feature ran in print on Saturday, Nov. 7. Unedited responses will be posted on our city elections page.
What are your plans to improve parks/Little Red? The city has released a Little Red River Park master plan, but it’s 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?
At this point in time, I would want to complete an evaluation on how efficient and effective our budget allocation has been. I believe we need to do a better job of understanding the public opinions and concerns with expenditures and prioritize them accordingly. My approach will be focused on where we can achieve the most value for the funds expended. Our residents have expressed a considerable concern with safety, security and responsible spending. Little red, our parks and playgrounds are important and we all recognize that, but spending must be scrutinized and balanced, reflecting our economic outlook and possible pandemic repercussions.
COVID-19 might be spiking again, but it won’t be here forever. When this pandemic has passed us by, what role should the city play in helping businesses bounce back?
Our business community is incredibly resilient. The people behind those businesses are strong and creative. As a city, we will collectively remove obstacles, remove burdensome hurdles and create conditions where our residents want to reinvest within the city. We must also create an atmosphere where investors, families and professionals choose to make Prince Albert home. We will accomplish this by establishing an exciting, welcoming and encouraging environment that showcases the positive things we have to offer and how our quality of life is better than other competing municipalities.
- 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 believe the culture, respect and understanding for one another must improve within our council. My goal is to restore a code of ethics and core values within our institution providing an atmosphere of inclusiveness, collaboration and openness. Constructive criticism, whether that is from council or the general public needs to be heard and evaluated in a professional manner. My goal is to create an environment within city hall where our residents feel welcomed and are encouraged to contribute to the betterment of our city.
- 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?
My commitment to the residents is to prioritize each and every project based on a risk analysis. Cost control and accountability is something that has been mismanaged in the past. I will rely heavily on my professional designations and education to deliver the most efficient oversight of all city projects moving forward. The main priorities will always be focused on what can bring the best value to our residents and their families.
- 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?
Our taxpayers have made it clear that they are already pressed to the limit. I believe that with the current budget, there is absolutely no reason we can not efficiently and effectively provide the services our residents require. I will actively and urgently build a strong fact based case to present to our federal and provincial governments to ensure our residents are not responsible for increased funding. My commitment to the people of Prince Albert is to have the most dynamic, effective and innovative police force in Saskatchewan.
- 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 am completely prepared to think outside the box and evaluate non-traditional methods of dealing with poverty and crime rates. We are continuing to see conditions worsen and we must stop, re-evaluate and re-think how we are handling these situations. A fresh perspective, a new approach and a community-based initiative must occur for us to make a difference. I will not sit idle when it comes to the safety and security of our residents and I certainly will not rest until our community has a healthier social and economic environment. It is a fact that our residents can not financially afford to correct this alone and I will fight for assistance both provincially and federally. My goal is to attract the amazing individuals, groups and organizations throughout our great city to sit at the table together and strategize collectively on how to solve these problems.
- The city has come under fire recently for poor communication with residents. Do you see this as a problem? How will you address this?
The majority of residents believe that communication needs to improve between our elected officials and themselves. I will quickly investigate and evaluate where these communication links are broken and repair them. I strongly believe that in order to have the respect and trust from our citizens, we can not forget or neglect the importance of informing the public, allowing them the opportunity to respond and to maintain that informative relationship with all citizens of our great city.
- What, to you, is the biggest issue facing the city/ward? What do you propose as a solution?
From listening to our residents, the biggest issue facing our city is the negative petty politics that has been demonstrated in the past and the possibility of continuing into the future. Our residents are concerned and want someone who can end the divisiveness, restore accountability, promote responsibility, replace pessimism with optimism and to bring back a sense of community and collaboration to city hall so that we, as elected officials, can start delivering noticeable results to our residents. I will promise to the public, if elected, you will see what the power of cooperation accomplishes. Our council and our city hall will become a winning team that will conduct their business in a professional and respectable way. I will re establish your trust and faith and ensure your interests are always first and foremost with every decision.
- Why should people vote for you?
My desire is to focus on the things that will make a difference for you and your family. I am willing to listen, learn and work with all residents to make our city a healthier, happier and safer community. I believe that one person can do a little but people in numbers can do a lot. I see the potential in our people, I see the desire to do better and I want to bring us together more than we ever have in the past. I have a passion to give back and to serve you with the very best I have to offer. The education, knowledge and life experiences I have earned over the years, will offer the residents of our city great value and I am thrilled to have the chance to work for you and your families. We can do amazing things together if we can collectively support and encourage one another.