In his own words: Ward 6 candidate Martin Ring

Martin Ring speaks at the Sask. Party nomination meeting at the Exhibition Centre on June 10, 2019. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)
  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

    There should always be respectful dialogue amongst all of council. Everyone is definitely entitled to an opinion and not everyone is going to agree 100% of the time with a direction or decision and that is simply part of the democratic process. You can always try to sway a person to change their decision or support your cause but in the end the decision by all of council either in agreement or disagreement is what has to be moved forward.
  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?

    This is a question where the funded reserves that were put into place several years ago have to be reviewed and ensure that they are still being funded and the planning for infrastructure upgrades are being reviewed each and every year. Aging water and sewer infrastructure is very much a priority item but it is also capital improvements that have reserves that should be funded through the water utility, those reserves or funds are shown on each and every property’s water utility bill and have to be reviewed that they are in fact going to generate the necessary funds for the capital work planned.
    Roadway Improvement Base Tax was stripped of over $300 thousand dollars and used to balance the general fund in 2019. We have to make sure to remain on track that we actually utilize the $4 million dollars plus that is collected through a Base Tax from each and every property for its intended purpose and we will continue to put a significant dent in the repaving program which we actually put in place back in 2009.
    The New Recreation Project and especially the inclusion of an Aquatics Centre is long overdue and once again managing a Reserve Fund that was designed specifically and collected through a Levy on each property for this type of Infrastructure/Build is so important.
  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?

    There is no doubt that the Police Services budget is a major line item, but it is also such an important function for our community and keeping our citizens and property safe. The loaded question is when I hear that candidates want to increase police officers and that of course brings up the question where will the money come from? There is only one taxpayer so unless somebody has a magic pencil, the money will come from the tax base. Should the City of Prince Albert receive additional funding from the Federal and Provincial governments, I think absolutely given that most of our crime is from people who live outside of our jurisdiction. We have to enter into negotiations to at a minimum receive full funding for the police officers currently provided through Provincial funding, this includes additional vehicles and benefits that are required.

    I’m curious what has happened to the HUB and COR (Community Mobilization) programs that were instituted back in 2008, we were making great strides through those programs and the partnerships of education, social programs etc.
  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

    We do need assistance to have additional provincial-based addictions services, mental health services, family services but they cannot come at the cost to us the City of Prince Albert taxpayer. I will use my influence and connections with the Provincial Government to start that conversation and push for the services that we require.
  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?

Communication continues to be a struggle it seems for some parts of the City of Prince Albert. I think we have seen great improvements with the Monthly Water Bill as one example, but it seems we still have a disconnect from the Mayor’s office to some on council and even more so with the general public. The most recent example is in regard to the Recreation complex as it seemed that it was a hurry-up offence to get it out in time for this falls election and personal platforms became more important than giving out proper and full communication. The ongoing mystery around Economic Development and whether or not there are in fact incentives for new developments is yet another area that has to be cleaned up and made a little more standardized and equal. There will always have to be room for negotiating items but the starting point has to be equal. The public has a right to be informed and I will make every effort to improve our communication with more ward and more importantly scheduled Resident/Ward Town Hall type meetings.

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

    Ward 6 is a very dynamic ward with a very interesting mix of both young and old within the population. Some residents have been living in the ward for over 45 years while others have just moved in. The continued growth expected in the southeast corner as well as neighboring Ward 5 brings additional traffic concerns and the extension of Marquis Road has to start being planned. The addition of the Recreation Complex is exciting and adds to the Wards reputation of being one of the key areas of the city to live in. Crime issues is always a concern, but I think that is an issue that echoes throughout the city. Roadway improvements and recapping has to remain within the plan as the Ward starts to show its age.
  2. Why should people vote for you?

    I bring 10 years of previous council experience to the table having served the Ward from 2006 – 2016. During that period I served on numerous committees and boards and I understand the commitment and time required to fulfill my obligation to represent Ward 6. I was on council and one of the main proponents that brought about the implementation of Base Taxes. I was part of the council that got us through the River Oil crisis. I to this day continue to be very involved within the community and I am currently on the Board and Vice-Chair of Mont St. Joseph Care Home and once again bring additional experiences and knowledge that I have gained to City Council. I truly believe I have the leadership skills that we need at these very uncertain times. I have been a resident in the ward for 35 years. I am always available and have always made myself available to the general public whether it is an issue from within the Ward or from other parts of the City.
  3. 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?

    Little Red River Park is definitely one of our civic facility gems and a significant amount of work will have to be spent with user groups of the park to see how and what we can do to address issues and improvements as identified within the master plan. Funding of course will always be one of the key issues but with the right partnerships and perhaps matching grants or subsidies nothing is impossible.
    City Playgrounds have to be included in the funded reserves that I have always talked about. Most of the playgrounds were created when the different areas of the city had their original growth, the history of those developments showed money that was placed into reserves for greenspace and playgrounds. The problem today now is that those playgrounds require replacement and a schedule has to be created that will have dollar values attached so reserves can be created and drawn from, similar to the Roadway Improvement plan.
  4. 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?

    As council we will have to reach out to the business leaders in our community and ask them what we might be able to do to help. These business leaders could and should be from our PA Downtown Business Inprovement District as well as leaning on the P.A. Chamber of Commerce and the PAREDA(Prince Albert Regional Economic Development Alliance) There are few on council that have direct links to business operations and we as the City do have limited resources from an assistance point of view as reduction in taxes simply means we have to find replacement funding somewhere else. Municipalities legally cannot run deficit operating budgets and you either raise taxes, reduce services or increase user fees.