YEG Soccer Survey

YEGSoccer has posted their results of their YEG Soccer survey.

Read full responses here. There is a summary table and written responses.

 

How have you supported soccer in the past?

I currently play Women’s Classics (indoor and outdoor) and I have for the last 3 years. Started playing at 12 and started a woman’s team in 1993. I played until I was 27 when I quit due to injuries from a motor vehicle collision. I was a referee for a few years and started coaching when I was 17. Coached for 6 years (usually 2 teams, took a number of them to Provincials). Took a break when I had kids and then coached my own kids (teams ranging from U8-U14) for 5 years.

How do you hope to improve the experience of soccer if you are elected to City Council?

We need to look at field maintenance beyond dandelions. Some fields are dangerous and rutted and need more rehsbilitation.

I would like to see standard field sizes in our mature neighbourhoods so that we could play in our communities instead of travelling so much. I’d also like to see indoor soccer facilities tied to other smaller recreation centres in mature neighbourhoods so we could sometimes play close to home.

I’d like to see recreation facilities that are flexible in terms of use so that they can accommodate shifting interests and demographics. This includes having indoor and outdoor facilities that meet specs but that are also adaptive. If we build new facilities I would like to see them on LRT or major transit routes. My older kids have quit due to a culture that is not very sporting. This is not an issue for everyone but more support for coaches around how to set tone and shape culture would be helpful.

We need to expand the opportunities for indoor practices including negotiating space more effectively.

Is there anything else you would like the 30,000 strong voter base soccer community to know?

Soccer has been an important part of my life as a player, coach and parent for over 30 years. Neighbourhood soccer is an amazing community builder in ways that we can’t always measure. I’ve always loved the accessibility of soccer and want to enhance opportunities for soccer in our communities. When it’s rooted in our neighbourhoods transportation is not an issue and costs can be  kept down for families, making it easier for everyone to have an opportunity to play.

 

Edmonton Social Planning Council Survey

The Edmonton Social Planning Council Survey was sent to candidates for both Mayor and City Council.

Here is my response.


Question: Can you please identify what the City of Edmonton’s top priorities should be to reduce poverty in our community?

Answer: 

Here are my top priorities for reducing poverty in Edmonton. 

1. Affordable housing -- we need to address the need for the full range of affordable housing options from permanent supportive housing to limited equity home ownership. Housing provides stability that makes it possible for people to meet their other needs, secure and maintain employment and make ends meet. Right now appropriate, affordable housing is out of reach for far too many Edmontonians. 

We need to be building affordable family oriented housing to address a variety of needs and demographics across all large-scale infill in Edmonton and in new greenfield developments as well. It is essential that these developments be close to transit and other amenities. This housing needs to be integrated across the City. This adds to the vibrancy and sustainability of a community and of the families that has make this home. 

2. Affordable Childcare -- Although this is primarily a provincial jurisdiction issue, the City can take leadership on providing appropriate affordable spaces in new and existing buildings in order to bring stability to childcare providers and also bring costs down for families. Without affordable childcare, many/most parents (and usually women) are in a position where they are choosing between their careers and their children. In 2017, this should no longer be the norm, but it is. This also often puts stable employment and/or continuing education out of reach for many single parents. 

3. Community building -- Poverty is not only shaped by a lack of money. The social determinants of heath demonstrate that a well-connected community of support and other resources can mitigate some of the worst impacts of poverty. One of the challenges that we face is that poverty in Edmonton often comes with extensive involvement with professionals and more difficulty maintaining stable natural communities of support. In fact our systems are often set up to discourage social cohesion. Programs like Abundant Communities, provide opportunities for people to connect around common interests in their communities despite (and because of?) the diverse life experiences and contexts people come from. Supporting the "natural supports" of individuals and families who are in poverty will go a long way to enhancing their ability to engage effectively and build a community. This should not replace much needed professional and financial support, but needs to be fostered intentionally. 

4. Liveable income policy -- I would like to introduce a liveable income policy for City staff and contractors. This does not address the need for an overall income shift, but it does demonstrate that the City is serious about addressing income inequality. 

5. Energy efficiency retrofitting for existing non-market housing stock and movement towards integrating higher requirements for new buildings. 

Full responses at Edmonton Social Planning Survey Results

The Arts can make Edmonton a World Class City!

I have been connected to many in the arts community over the years. My own family is quite involved in the local music community, and I have close friends who are visual artists and theatre artists.

Personally, singing in choir and playing at Irish sessions and Bluegrass jams bring our family together with friends and neighbours from so many different walks of life. Local festivals have been an incredible way to enrich our community.

During the campaign, I’ve had the honour to spend time with a number of people in the arts and festivals communities. I was deeply concerned when I received a survey question that suggested that it was a fiscally responsible thing to do to cut all arts funding while we are in an economic downturn. This suggestion demonstrates a serious lack of understanding of the contributions the arts bring to our communities, including substantial economic activity, as well as ignorance about the local economy multiplier effect. The multiplier effect is the phenomenon where a dollar spent in the local economy tends to continue to circulate locally, providing significantly more economic benefit over one that is spent outside of the local economy.

The Professional Arts Coalition Edmonton (PACE) published a detailed report last month, on the Economic Impacts of the Professional Arts in Edmonton. As the most basic level, the Arts in Edmonton contribute

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Edmonton Coalition on Housing and Homelessness Survey

Safe, stable housing is a fundamental human need. We can’t adequately address work, education, income and social cohesion without housing. When I’m out in the community, most people are supportive of increased access to affordable housing and supported living arrangements in order to address homelessness and precarious housing. There is a broad understanding that our communities are more sustainable and resilient when we take care of each other and when we include the full diversity of our City.

 

There is a significant need in Edmonton for more diverse market housing as well as more affordable housing, subsidies and permanent supportive housing. Our inclusionary zoning practices are not currently addressing the need for non-market housing across the city. We need to build this housing as a part of larger multi-family development, especially in the context of Transit Oriented Development (TOD) given that it is now a focus for the City. Too often we are seeing developers make modest payments to the City (relative to their profit) and forgo the investment in actual housing. The City can use these funds to build or purchase units, but it is not a robust system and doesn’t seem to be translating into the housing we need. If we bring together the diverse interests involved in meaningful conversation, I think we could come up with better solutions.

 

We also need to be building more diverse options so that larger families can be better accommodated and smaller families, couples and singles can also access housing. The imbalances, in what is available and who can qualify (due to limited resources, rather than need), create division in the community. For a generation, we have ignored this fundamental issue, increasing stigma and costs related to the justice system and our health system. This has started to change under the current Council and with both the federal government and provincial government starting to invest again in housing, we have an opportunity to address this need through cross-jurisdictional collaboration and to take more comprehensive action. This is urgent given the gaps that already exist and the increasing social, economic and environmental pressures we are facing as a society.

 

One of my areas of interest is around how we design buildings and neighbourhoods and the impact this has on our mental and physical health and social cohesion. As we make essential investments in housing we need to also insist that it is integrated effectively into our communities, that design for connection is taken into account and that we invest in energy efficiency and sustainable building practices in order to bring down long term costs and prepare for 2050. A major barrier to inclusionary zoning is a result of design practices (often driven by cost) that exacerbates social stratification. We must do this better and we can.

 

I was community co-chair of the City of Edmonton’s Council Initiative on Public Engagement for the last two years and a member of the Community Leadership working group. One of our key questions is how to, not only reach more diverse populations, but also how to support and enhance the existing capacity in often overlooked communities to engage more fully in decision making. Bringing diverse groups together in meaningful conversation can often mitigate polarized positions and create better solutions. This work has resulted in a new policy and framework and is slowly being built out across the organization. It is still in early stages but the potential is there for much deeper conversations across more diverse perspectives. There is no question the City needs to more effectively engage citizens who don’t own property, who are in precarious housing, or who are homeless, and do so on an equal footing as those who own their homes. Currently, it is quite unbalanced and leads to decisions that don’t take the lived experience and expertise of many community members into account. Fundamentally, the most creative and robust solutions are rooted in our communities.

 

 

 

Edmonton Public Library Survey

The Edmonton Public Libary asked candidates to answer a few questions.  Here are my answer.s

 

https://www.epl.ca/election2017-get-to-know-your-candidates-kirsten-goa-ward-8/

Edmonton Capital Club Survey

Full city-wide responses to the Edmonton Capital Club survey are here.

Below are my complete answers for ease of reference.

 

Q1: What have you done in the past to support sexual
and gender minorities within your community?

 My work with La Leche League comes immediately to mind. This is a breastfeeding/chestfeeding support organization. My own group has been instrumental in changing the language we use around breastfeeding/chestfeeding and parenting. For example, we use gender neutral language and at the beginning of our meetings we acknowledge that we are on Treaty 6 land and introduce ourselves, our pronouns and that inclusive language makes spaces safer for all of us. We’ve also worked hard to be very welcoming of all families, meeting people where they are at. We often have regular, ongoing attendees who are a part of
the LGBTQ community. 

Nationally, LLLC has started to be more inclusive. There was a lot of conflict within the organization over the last few years, but finally after a courageous stand by a transgender parent, and vocal support from many of us within the organization, we were successful in supporting him in becoming our first transgender Leader. Since this spring, he is now taking on a leadership role in the organization supporting other Leaders.


I became the chair of La Leche League Canada in January of this year. Since then, our board has focused quite intensively on opening up communication in the organization and creating space for more diverse voices to have influence on decision making. We have created a committee focused on inclusion and diversity as well as engaged internally in deeper discussions about the language we use in meetings and online in order to become a more accessible and welcoming organization. There is still a lot of work to do on this issue in LLLC, but we now have a board that is very focused on creating this change.


Today, I am sending a formal letter from the LLLC Board to La Leche League International (LLLI) Board in response to some transphobic language we have witnessed internally. We have a responsibility to stand up against exclusion and discrimination.

 

Q2: Tell us about a significant issue impacting your local LGBTQ
community. How will you work to address this issue?


There are many. The one that strikes me as urgent in our City, and in Ward 8 in particular, is the issue of homeless youth. A disproportionate part of that population is LGBTQ, often facing other levels of marginalization and discrimination in addition to the challenges caused by homelessness.
What would I do about? That is complicated. First of all, I think it’s really important to connect with the impacted communities and learn from them both what they need, but also to learn about their capacity. There is so much untapped knowledge, and talent in our communities and I believe the solutions are rooted there. It’s important to build relationships with the organizations serving vulnerable youth including iHuman Youth Services, Old Strathcona Youth Society, Youth Empowerment Support Services and others. 


A big part of what I want to do as a City Councillor is to work directly with people impacted by decisions (or the lack thereof) and with the organizations doing the front line work. Where appropriate, I want to work cross-jurisdictionally (school boards, provincial government) to build the concrete programs and services that will help, and put in the place the funding needed to make it happen. This will require the City to take leadership on these issues, even if other jurisdictions also need to be brought into the conversation. The knowledge and capacity is there to build the best solutions possible. Creating connections where they may not yet exist, building and strengthening those that do, raising the profile of the issues, working with other decision makers to build the case and championing the cause are all required to address these complex issues. I know there is incredible work being done in our communities, my role would be to support this work both publicly and administratively. I have a responsibility to reach out and cultivate these relationships, to learn as much as I can about how best to address these complex challenges, to check my understanding and to take concrete actions rooted in the communities they come out of. 


I’m very aware that our Council and administration are not particularly diverse. In order to really make the best decisions, we need to do a much better job of bringing forward all communities into these conversations. I was a part of Opening the Potential, which was an important step in supporting women running for public office, but we need a more intersectional approach to addressing this lack of representative voices at the decision making tables in our city.

 

Q3: Do you support the creation of a municipal
community building LGBTQ advisory committee to advise
City Council on emerging priorities, policies, and LGBTQ
community needs and concerns?


I do! I’ve spent the last two years as community co-chair for the City’s Advisory Committee for the Council Initiative on Public Engagement. One of our key priorities for the Initiative and for the Community Leadership working group was to seek out connections with the many diverse communities and networks in our city and learn from the lived experiences of our neighbours. Our goal is to do a much better job of connecting with all citizens, learning from them and supporting their capacity to shape our city, in order to make better decisions for all of us. The first step in bringing forward the voices that tend to be underrepresented is to identify them. 


But that is not enough. We need to also raise the profile of these voices and support their capacity in many different ways. An LGBTQ advisory committee would be one important way to do this.

 

Q4: In an increasingly polarized political climate, what
policies will you put forward to contain and reduce hate
crimes and hate incidents in general and specifically for
LGBTQ community members?


That’s a really important question. The City’s Gender-based Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention Initiative acknowledges that the most severe of all hate crimes are those targeting the LGBTQ community.


One of the things I want to do as a City Councillor is to include Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) reviews on all decisions. The City is starting to look at this but we need to implement it in a much broader way. GBA+ principles, look not only at
gender, but also at the experiences of other populations that are not typically reflected in the decision-making processes. For example, public safety conversations need to look at how we design our streets, transit systems, parks, and public buildings in a much broader way that takes into account different perspectives and lived experience. We may not be able to predict people's behaviour but we can, and need to, design for safer streets and public spaces for everyone. The way we design our public spaces and communities has a direct impact on how safe they are.


We also need to work with our police services on sensitivity/diversity training. Beyond that, we need to be much more intentional about increasing diversity in recruitment, and also retention, in our police force. There is a lot of work to do to
repair relationships between our police and the communities they are supposed to serve. Current conversations around racism and reporting a sexual assault tell me we need to do intensive, intentional work both to prevent hate crimes but also to
make sure that when people do report crimes they are being treated appropriately and taken seriously. Specific education for and within the criminal justice system about what constitutes a hate crime as well as broader education that integrates
LGBTQ experiences into criminal justice education are also needed.


There are also conversations we need to be having in our schools and in our communities to break down silos. We need to intentionally bring together groups who don’t usually come together in a way that is also safe and supportive. We need
to build a stronger social fabric, where we are more likely to look out for one another and less likely to fall back on misunderstanding or biases. A Councillor has the opportunity to take the initiative and help build those bridges and create those
spaces. Too often it falls to marginalized communities to take on this work, but Councillors are in a privileged position and can take leadership to foster a safer, more welcoming and inclusive community.

 

Laneway Renewal

Laneway2.JPGThis is a laneway from Montreal. Down the middle of it is a strip of permeable concrete lattices in which a cover crop has been planted. This installation has benefits like reducing runoff from rain (thereby decreasing the strain on our drainage system) and reducing the heat island effect in summer. Montreal has created a program to engage its citizens in what other ways they want to green their alleys (source). We could do the same in Edmonton, almost exclusively with money that’s already been allocated.

 

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Edmonton Early Years Coalition Survey

The Edmonton Early Years Coalition has sent out a survey to all municipal candidates. You can find everyone's answers here: http://www.earlychildhoodedm.ca/ (scroll down for links to Mayor, each Ward and School Trustee answers). 

You can also read mine here... 

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Large Scale Infill

Central communities in Ward 8 are facing significant development pressure at a scale and speed that is hard for neighbourhoods to manage. There is an urgency on the part of the City to increase density in the urban core and mature neighbourhoods because our infrastructure deficit from 2009 to 2018 is estimated to be $19 billion. If we want to maintain the level of services we expect and invest in our communities (roads, transit, rec centres), without huge tax increases, we need to shift our growth pattern.

The drive for densification also comes from the need to bring more people back into our urban centre and our mature neighbourhoods. Our population in our mature neighbourhoods has dropped by 73000 people over the last 40 years. This results in school closures, difficulties for small businesses, coffee shops and grocery stores. It makes it harder to pay for, or justify, good transit and other services, creating a vicious cycle that is unsustainable. Changing our growth pattern is urgent, but how we do it matters.

Our neighbourhoods are changing. This presents many challenges, but also an opportunity to create a vision for how we can evolve in ways that work for our communities. We need development that will meet the need for a good social mix, so that we can stay vibrant and resilient, that will add amenities and infrastructure that supports this resilience, and that is viable for those who build our city.

Our zoning bylaws and plans are clearly not working very well anymore. We have invested thousands of hours, significant City resources, and significant time and investment on the part of City administration and community, to try to get these plans right and almost immediately the exception becomes the rule. This has created a deep lack of trust and cynicism in our communities, because we can’t count on the plans being honoured. It also means there is also no real parameters, predictability or stability for those who build in our city.  And it makes it very difficult to plan effectively. We end up reacting, instead of planning. 

There are at least three things we need to address if we are going to shift the conversation...

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Campaign Launch Speech

I launched my campaing on June 19th at the Strathcona Community Hall. Here is the video of my speech, as well as the text below. 

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