In his own words: Ward 1 candidate Daniel Brown

Daniel Brown is running in Ward 1 for the second time. -- Submitted Photo

We asked candidates nine questions about their
vision for the city, what makes them the best candidate and where they stand on local issues. The questions, and their answers, have been combined and edited for grammar and length. The Municipal election is set for Monday.

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?

Through my experience on the union, locally, regionally and nationally, I’ve learned that you can never please everyone no matter how hard you try. The best you can do is respect others opinions even when they are different from your own. When you keep an open mind and look at all the information its easy to make an informed decision and if need be you can explain how you came to the conclusions and provide clear answers to the critics. 

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?

As the Councillor for Ward 1 I believe meeting with the concerned residents of the ward should be the first responsibility and present them everything that is on the table and needs to be prioritized. I would like to address the issue of the unpaved streets that remain in the ward before looking at repaving roads that are in better shape then those ones. As for making a list of priorities I think it would be premature to state a list at this point until I can have a complete look and full understanding of everything that needs to be completed, and then come up with a 1 year to 4 year plan.  

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?

Due to all of the financial implications of Covid 19, I believe maintaining the current budget would be the best option, however if there is any federal or provincial funding that could be obtained I would be in full support of increasing the budget.

4) 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?

To deal with these issues, I believe its going to take work and partnerships with our community partners as well as support from federal and provincial governments as I don’t see this as just a city problem that can be solved by the city alone.

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?

Yes, I do think it is a major problem. When dealing with big ticket items or decisions that are going to greatly effect a Ward or the whole city, I believe the proper way to address those issues would be to have town hall meeting with sufficient notice and possibly having more than one meeting to allow meaningful consultation and allow for transparency. Big decisions should never be rushed into.

6) What, to you, is the biggest issue facing the city/ward? What do you propose as a solution?

I believe the biggest issue we have both within the city and ward is the lack of community involvement. I believe with more town hall meetings we can develop open and transparent communication which in turn should produce more pride in our city, and a better sense of personal accomplishment when issues are resolved. As well, hearing options that may not have been considered, the city is full of amazing people with great ideas and we need to have a way for people to present them. 

7) Why should people vote for you?

I would like people to vote for me because Ward 1 needs change, we need someone in city hall fighting for us. I’ve grown up here and I can see we are far behind the rest of the wards when it comes to quality facilities and development opportunities. Things as small as having community cardboard and paper recycling bins, we shouldn’t  have to drive all the way to east end rink to get rid of that stuff, too having clean safe sidewalks in the winter. Then the bigger projects such as having 17th and 18th streets paved and funded by the city. If I’m elected we will have quarterly town hall meetings as a minimum and I will work hard to make all residents feel safe and and proud to live here.

8) 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?

Although the Little Red is a great place, it is not as easily accessible as the parks in the city. I think families would rather have nice playgrounds in their neighbourhoods rather than having to load the family up and drive out of town. There should be fun and safe places for our children to burn off their energy, and provide somewhat of a break to our hard working parents. 

9)  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.

The first step should be meeting with Elise with the Chamber of Commerce and as many business owners as possible and hear from them what they see as possible options.