For over 20 years, Kirsten has invested her time, skills, and expertise to break down barriers and build relationships between Edmontonians, non-profits, industry and government with a focus on making Edmonton an even better place to live. This has primarily been volunteer grassroots community work and she spent tens of thousands of hours at City Hall and in meetings or working on projects with communities across Edmonton to help influence and improve municipal decisions. 

Kirsten has a deep knowledge of the issues, of the different City departments and lines of business, of municipal governance and of the communities in ward papastew. She has successfully won concessions and improvements for Edmontonians by working effectively with different community groups and interests, the majority of Council members, City administration, industry, and non-profits. Kirsten has a long track record of getting things done at City Hall. 

The following is only a partial list of Kirsten's most relevant municipal experience. Almost all of these efforts were volunteer and rooted in community advocacy. All of them are shared achievements with the many community leaders, City staff, City Councillors, businesses, and advocacy groups who have worked together to achieve these outcomes. This experience is why Kirsten is endorsed by two outgoing City Councillors, Michael Walters and Ben Henderson, and by outgoing Edmonton Public School Trustee Bridget Stirling. 

  • Changed City recreation policies to align with women’s and children’s human rights (2001)

  • Co-wrote economic case for a local food economy, which included draft amendments to the Municipal Development Plan (MDP). (2008-2010) These were adopted by Council and incorporated almost verbatim into our MDP. 

  • Co-chaired a social enterprise project aimed to bring the trades, contractors, the City and communities together to initiate neighbourhood scale energy efficiency retrofits of our existing housing stock (2008-2010).

  • Community Co-chair for the Advisory Committee for the Council Initiative on Public Engagement (2015-2017) and foundational community co-chair of the Community Leadership working group – 1000s of Edmontonians helped shape our new direction on engagement from the ground up. This work won the National and International IAP2 Organization of the Year award. The highest recognition in public engagement. Work to integrate this into the City of Edmonton organization at a cultural level is still needed and requires leadership and commitment from Council. 

  • Community Co-chair Guiding Coalition on Public Engagement (2018-2020) an advisory body established as one of the first steps in implementing the new policy. 

  • Supported many communities in Edmonton navigate ~50 re-zoning applications to date, from small row house projects through to large scale developments. In some cases, poorly thought out projects were halted, in many Kirsten and the community successfully negotiated significant, but realistic improvements to better meet community needs and address concerns and improve the outcomes for everyone. 

  • Successfully advocated to: expand the scope of the Edmonton Design Committee; double affordable housing contributions from developers, stop attempts to undermine commitments made in zoning, normalized the inclusion of larger units that can accommodate families with children, incorporate community gardens on site, retrofit the streetscape to create a more welcoming, safe and walkable public realm and negotiated good neighbour agreements that included opportunities to engage on detail design with a focus on wind mitigation and landscape planning, expand the options for community amenity contributions, and find ways to welcome new neighbours in the community.

  • This work on land-use included mentoring other community leaders and learning together in order to expand the capacity of community to shape the changes coming in more effective and proactive ways.

  • Tirelessly advocated for tools that support community lead traffic calming initiatives rather than waiting for a “neighbourhood traffic management plan”. After a number of years in many contexts, Vision Zero Street Lab is a direct result of this advocacy (by Kirsten and many others).

  • Advocated for investment in traffic safety and redesign of 101 Avenue with the Greater Hardisty Community Sustainability Coalition. 

  • Supported her own community to initiate a complete streets oriented approach to neighbourhood renewal, substantially increasing safety and accessibility, including a mid-block raised crossing where her own kids would cross to go to the park when they were younger and traffic lights installed where for years it was dangerous to cross a major arterial, simply to get to the library. 

  • Ran for City Council for Ward 8 in 2017, launching a grassroots campaign in June and placing a strong second to incumbent Ben Henderson. 

  • Supported the Friends of Scona Rec with their advocacy to save the Scona pool in the interim, advocate successfully for design funding, and initiate the exploration of alternative financing models. 

  • Sat on the Strathcona Community League board from 2017-2020 as Community Engagement Liaison, working primarily with local festivals and sat on the Civics committee. 

  • Sat on the IDEA (Infill Development Edmonton Association) board as a community member supporting improvements to infill practices, reducing barriers to better infill, and supporting the development of better relationships with neighbours of infill. 

  • Co-developed and taught the Communications and Community Relations course for the IDEA/City of Edmonton builder education pilot program (this was a modest paid contract). 

  • Supported multiple City budget processes with community and advocacy groups to assess where adjustments could be made to better achieve City goals.

 

Kirsten's educational background includes:

BA - History major, English minor
University of Alberta, 1996 (with distinction)

BEd - Secondary Education, English Language Arts/Social Studies
University of Alberta, 2000

She has also completed:
A week long residential international Community Organizing training with the Greater Edmonton Alliance GEA and the Industrial Areas Foundation in November 2009

Tamarack Institute's: Collective Impact: Leading Theory to Action Train-The-Trainer in the Fall 2019

International Association for Public Participation (IAP2)'s Strategies for Dealing with Opposition and Outrage in P2 (2020)

And other professional development related to land-use planning, local economic development, diversity, equity and inclusion, urban design and public engagement.