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?
First and foremost I am a team player. I respect everyone’s opinion and let their conscience guide how they vote. After the vote is done I respect the decision of the majority.
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?
Four of the big ticket items are, Recreation centre complex, Street paving program, Raw water intake well, and Waste water Treatment Plant
The recreation complex can be taken off the table because it is under way with the participation of three levels of Government
Federal, Provincial and City. This will be the largest project in our City’s history. We listened and heard loud and clear through the Community
Master Plan that an aquatic centre and replacement of our aging rinks was a top priority.
The paving program is under way and has an expenditure of $4.2 million dollars each year.
Raw Water intake we have made application to senior levels of government for the replacement of this structure which is now more than 100 years old.
Waste water treatment plant is another priority we are asking senior governments for funds because it is their regulatory changes that necessitate the upgrades.
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?
I believe we have a professional police force lead by Chief Bergen and Deputy Chief Stonechild and all the members. I support the police in their crime reduction plans and believe we need to continue funding them to the best of our abilities.
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?
The City continues to work with many partners in the community from senior levels of government, NGO’s, PAGC, Metis Nation, Labour and business to help on this issue. Together with the YWCA and Riverbank Development Corporation, Donna Strauss and Brian Howell, we added 10 homeless beds for this winter.
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?
We have had Ward meetings on the 1:500 flood issue attended by several hundred citizens. There has been a meeting held for a Neighbourhood Watch program. Ward meetings on the Community Master Plan. Plus, the City has professional communication staff whose job is to inform the public, lead by Kiley Bear.
6) What, to you, is the biggest issue facing the city/ward? What do you propose as a solution?
Covid-19 and the financial situation it has put the City, residents and business in is a very serious issue and we have addressed it by tax deferments and water deferments. Our next budget will have to be carefully managed.
7) Why should people vote for you?
Right now with Pandemic we need as many people with business, government and municipal experience as possible at the Council table. I have been a Member of the Saskatchewan Legislature, a Cabinet Minister, Mayor of the City, Chairman of many Boards and business owner and my experience will help at that table.
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?
We have a tremendous parks system that measures against any city of our size and we have many world class facilities. This year we added $100,000 to Playgrounds and our Parks Manager, Tim Yeoman, did an inventory that priorized the upgrades of each Park. We are as a Council adhering to his priority plan. We have a philanthropist in Malcom Jenkins who put hundreds of thousands of dollars into playgrounds and water park facilities. We also, through the efforts of Mayor Dionne, got an additional $1m from Husky Oil which a portion of that was used for a new Spray Park at Kinsmen Park.
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?
We must ask our citizens to help our business community by shopping local. We also must tender anything over the dollar value agreed to in the western Canadian Provincial Trade Agreement. However, any procurement under that amount we as a Council have to continue to charge our administration with shopping local. I will be advocating to the new Council that we start an advertising campaign to shop local.