In his own words: Ward 5 candidate Dennis Ogrodnick

Incumbent Ward 5 Coun. Dennis Ogrodnick speaks during a city council meeting in October 2019.
  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?

As long as all councillors follow and understand the Procedure Bylaw and Bourninot Rule of Order debate and discussions are not divisive but rather spirited within the rules established by council. I will continue to debate and follow the rules and procedures established and agreed upon by council and I expect all elected to learn these rules and procedures

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?

City Council is on the right track and has listened to the public.  We continue to budget over $4.1 million on the repaving program and are moving forward on phase 1 of the new recreation complex. This complex came out of a 2-year consultation process through the Community Services Master Plan.  This plan was presented to council and passed.  Council then proceeded to act on the recommendations in the Community Services Master Plan. Council secured $44 million from the provincial and federal governments to build our new Rec Complex.  I’m also pleased that I was 1 of 5 on council to budget and approve the replacement of lead pipes in the ground.  This year we replaced a record number in Midtown.  This year the city spent about $17,000 per household on 12th Street East to make these improvements.

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?

Once again, I was 1 of 5 Councillors/Mayor to pass the police budget and support the appointment of citizens to the Police Commission.  I will continue to vote to support the initiatives of the Police Commission in dealing with crime in the city.  I support the Integrated Crime Reduction Team and Street Enforcement Teams that are dedicated to fighting drugs, gangs, gun crimes and property crimes.  I also support The Police and Crisis Team that works with mental health workers and issues associated with mental health.  I supported the Community Police Unit which deals with schools, youth, the Rotary Trail, Downtown Core and Special Events.  These are just a few of the initiatives of the Police Commission under the leadership of Chair Sheryl Kimbley that I support.

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?

What I have said in the past is that all councillors, our local MLA’s, our MP, PAGC Leaders and Metis Leaders sit down in a room and discuss the root cause of these social issues and work together to solve them. It has to be a team approach and we could be partners in dealing with these issues who are the responsibility of provincial and federal governments as outlined in the Constitution Act, 1867. That being said, I have supported and have volunteered my entire adult life on community initiatives that address the most vulnerable in our community. People in the community know what I have done and where I volunteer.  

  • 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?

Over the past 4 years I regularly door knock and consult with the residents of Ward 5 to get their concerns and issues about the decisions that council makes.  I also attended the Ward meetings and attended the 2-year consultation process of our community services. I also consulted with the residents of Ward 5 on the development of the Crescent Acres Spray Park, the Muzzy Drive Playground, the placement of private care homes, the Muzzy Drive Traffic Calming to name a few.

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

Aside from some of the issues in the news (Crime, COVID, Infrastructure), one of the biggest issues facing the City of Prince Albert, prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic, and that people are not talking about is the amount of money owed to the city from taxes that are in arrears and overdue utility bills. When people walk away from paying their bills it adds up to millions of dollars that is owed to the city.  When it gets to the point where the City is forced to take over the title to the property years of attempts have been made to help the property owner pay their unpaid taxes.  This causes the responsible taxpayers to have to make up the difference. I find this frustrating.

  • 7. Why should people vote for you?

I humbly ask for the residents of Ward 5 to vote for me so that I could once again be their voice at City Hall. I was born and raised in the City of Prince Albert and for the past 21 years lived in Ward 5. I am proud to call Prince Albert home and want to help build a better Prince Albert.  I believe the most important decision councillors make is working through and supporting a budget that reflects the values of the citizens of Prince Albert. I believe the budget is a moral statement of our beliefs and values that as a councillor I am willing to support. For this reason and others, I will continue to support budget items like Community Services, the $4.1 million in repaving, green spaces and parks replacement program, the Police Budget, Special Needs Transportation, Special Tax Rates for Senior Care Homes and the new Hockey Rinks and Aquatic Center. I will continue to advocate for Budget initiatives such as the Affordable Housing Program, Down Payment Assistance Program ($5,000 for low to moderate income resident to go a down payment for their first home), New Home Construction Program, $1.00 a lot Program, Infill redevelopment Tax Incentive Program, Outstanding Infrastructure Rebate Program, and Declining Tax rollback Program. I will continue to work with agencies that deal with the most vulnerable citizens of Prince Albert. Finally, I will vote to support the current budgets of our external agencies.

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?

Once again, we have a study (Little Red River Master Plan) with many costly recommendations.  City Council needs to prioritize these recommendations and then budget accordingly.  Councillors and the Mayor who supported the budget believe parks and playground are a priority and have passed a replacement program. Council tripled the budget to replace and enhance playgrounds over the next 10 years.  Council also partnered with Canadian Tire to build the largest Jump Start Inclusive Playground in Canada. Council is working with the Rotary Club in developing a playground at Little Red River Park. Council also partnered with the Crescent Acres Community Club to build the Muzzy Drive Playground.

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.

We are in unprecedented times and the City has made attempts to help business survive through tax and utility deferment programs. Four years ago, I campaigned that I would support tax breaks for small businesses. We have also passed 5 different business tax rates based on the size of the business. I supported, in the budget, a series of programs to get Prince Albert building again. Basically, we need to shop local and support businesses that support the programs and activities in the City of Prince Albert.