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Priorities

Why am I running for the position of Councillor for the City of St. Albert?

I am a long-time observer of municipal governance in Alberta. Previously my work, and potential perceived conflicts as a government employee, have restricted my ability to become locally and directly involved in municipal government.

 

I have many questions, some concerns, and things that I would like to see improved, but my primary focus is to work on creating a culture of continuous improvement within the City of St. Albert where officials and employees are always asking:

 

“Is there a way we can do this better?”, 

“Is this something that continues to provide value?”,

“Does this reflect the values of the City?” and

“Is the City the most effective provider of this service?”

 

This process, undertaken transparently with accountability, is one we can use to fine tune the performance of the great City of St. Albert as it moves to the future.

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Affordability

  • The City of St. Albert is the best city in Alberta. Reasonably managed with an eye to the future but I know that there are things that could be done to keep standards up and costs down.

 

  • The sustainability of municipal services is a significant challenge. “Growth” funds shouldn’t only be used for new or expanded services.

 

  • The City’s Repair, Maintain, Replace (RMR) capital budget seems to utilise time/date-based life cycles rather than actual condition-based standards. This could be resulting in earlier than optimal expenditures.

 

  • St. Albert Transit runs many large buses, with few to no passengers, through the same residential areas minutes apart.  A usage and rationalization study could make the system more cost effective.

 

  • The Council of the City of St. Albert needs to lobby the Provincial UCP Government to:

 

  • Abandon the costly and unwanted move to replace the RCMP.

  • Provide reliable, and permanent municipal funding formulas.

  • Fulfill their constitutionally and legislatively mandated public health responsibilities on a province wide basis so that municipalities are not forced to act to protect the public. 

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Affordability

  • Review processes utilised to vision, plan and deliver new municipal initiatives. The proposed Solar Farm seemed to have too much urgency with too little information.

    • Requirement for additional means to support operations and limit tax increases is clear,

    • Always in support of exploring innovations with potential to improve,

    • All proposals should be as transparent as possible,

    • Lack of full information and the size of contingency mean more work is required. 

 

  • When electors provide clear direction in a ballot question it is disrespectful of Council to completely ignore that direction. The “Branch Library that isn’t” is a case in point.

 

  • St. Albert Fire Services lacks direction, a strategic plan, and appears to have had no guidance from Council or Administration for some time as evidenced by the recent turmoil. While the operational capabilities at recent events demonstrate firefighter competence the leadership, consistency, and identity of an organization representing almost 20% of the City’s annual operating expenses needs to be examined through a new lens by Council.

 

  • Photo Radar (Automated Traffic Enforcement) seemingly remains focussed on revenue generation rather than safety. Further work is required to address this issue once the provincial government’s review is complete. 

 

  • Speed limit change implementation lacks consistency in application. Narrow two-lane roads are given 60km/h limits and wide four lane roads are kept at 50 km/h for no apparent reason?

 

  • The City of St. Albert needs to outline its expectations and intents with regards to regionalization and regional collaboration. Focussing on “Greater Edmonton” is appropriate on some issues but collaboration with partners such as Morinville, Sturgeon County and CFB Edmonton also require focus and attention.

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Accessibility

  • Councillor engagement with residents, business, and media needs to be more open and available. While official positions and support for democratic decisions needs to be consistent the interactions between elected officials and the electorate should not be managed and filtered through administration.

 

  • The City’s partnership relationships with community groups needs to be wholistic, encompassing and consistent. Many non-profit (social profit) organizations in St. Albert work to enhance the community but don’t seem to be dealt with consistently. Potentially progressive ideas have been dismissed while others receive continued support with no accountability.

 

  • The City of St. Albert must continue to promote diversity and inclusion amongst residents and staff as well as continue living the findings of Payhonin Report and work to implement the TRC recommendations that are within the scope of the City. It is hurtful when non-white family members are treated with mistrust and suspicion in our community.