A good quality of life is essential for building the vibrant city we all want to live in! This means good jobs, affordable housing and ready access to the amenities that help us build community. Housing affordability has become a pinch point in Edmonton across a wide range of demographics and income levels.
There is a significant need in Edmonton for more diverse housing across the spectrum. While we need more affordable market housing, we also need more affordable housing, subsidies and permanent supportive housing. Our inclusionary zoning practices do not currently address the need for non-market housing across the city and haven’t been very consistent. We need to build this housing as a part of larger multi-family developments that are also supported in the context of Transit Oriented Development (TOD) and accessibility to amenities such as schools, shops and services. If we provide the opportunity—for all of the diverse interests involved—to engage in meaningful conversation, we will come up with more robust and consistent solutions that will work better for everyone.
We also need to be building more variety of options to accommodate a greater diversity of family types. This means building for families with kids. But this also means building for multigenerational living, aging in place, co-ops and other shared living arrangements. The current imbalances in what is available and who can qualify (due to limited resources, rather than need), create division in the community. If we have a good mix of diverse housing in our communities, we’ll be able to attract the variety we need to remain viable and resilient.
Affordability and sustainability also come from working with, enhancing, and retrofitting our existing infrastructure and housing. Too often we end up with single generation solutions that are unsustainable. Whether it’s a large amenity like the Coliseum, or a bungalow in a residential neighbourhood, or a historical building like the Rossdale Power Plant, they all have potential. We need to make the most of what we have, not only focus on building new.
Affordability also means having a liveable income. Living wages boost the economy and take pressure off of our social safety net; saving tax dollars in the long run, as well as investing in the long-term economic progress of our City and its residents.
As your Councillor…
I will work with individuals, community groups, non-profits, advocacy organizations, the province and the development community to establish a more rigorous and transparent model for integrating affordable housing into our communities.
I will push to expand the mandate of the Edmonton Design Committee to include all large scale developments in the City.
I will investigate whether or not the City of Edmonton is paying living wages to their staff and contractors and work towards a living wage policy.
I will support efforts to re-purpose and retrofit existing structures and work with the community to find creative ways to tell the story of our mature and core neighbourhoods.
Transparent decision making, and policy tied to metrics are required in order for our vision of Edmonton to come to a reality. Our high level plans need to be translated into concrete commitments and actions.
Effective public engagement that fosters deeper connections is one part of the equation. But what we do with that information matters. Whether it’s a rezoning application, parkland plan or LRT, once we have made the plan, we need to make sure that what we are committed to happens.
What we measure is often what we create. We need to look at the broader picture around many of our decisions. Nothing happens in isolation, and we shouldn’t be making decisions in a vacuum. Councillors need to be accountable for making informed decisions, which means learning about and thinking critically about the implications of these decisions and seeking out a wide range of perspectives and expertise.
We need more consistent and robust benchmarks and metrics written into our decisions, in order to close the loop on questions as wide-ranging as: market impact, wind studies, affordable housing, environmental impact, traffic safety and demographics shifts. Additionally, these need to be public. Knowing what to expect, and being able to count on that, is essential for our communities, entrepreneurs, and City administration.
Once decisions are made, we need to make sure that administration has the tools they need for enforcement and accountability and when necessary, that Council continues to ask questions at key points through the process. Establishing metrics around key priorities will ensure that we have the information we need to make informed decisions and to hold ourselves, administration and the broader community accountable for the commitments we make when we are building our City.
As your Councillor…
I will commit to continuous learning and informed decision making.
I will advocate for the City to enhance its capacity to analyze real estate market data, to expand how it measures densification (not only by unit—which we do now—but also by bedroom and number of people) and to pursue other ways of collecting meaningful data around how we are growing as a City .
I will explore whether or not City administration is able to enforce decisions that have been made, and if not, work collaboratively to find mechanisms and processes that will facilitate enforcement and accountability.
I will commit to greater transparency and better communication in providing citizens and the media with access to information more efficiently.
I will work to shift traffic data tracking to measure the mobility of all users.Read more
Whether it’s a home, a large infill development, infrastructure (like LRT), amenities (like ice rinks) or natural areas -- design matters. The design of roads, buildings and communities has a direct impact on safety, livability, well-being, social connection, resilience and economic activity. Best practices exist, and the Edmonton Design Committee has raised the bar on development in the downtown area. Beyond that, we only have a few places where we’ve integrated any consistent design requirements in our planning.
How our communities grow and change is a pressing issue in Edmonton. Evidence-based design principles are an essential tool for managing these changes effectively. These principles determine how buildings integrate into our neighbourhoods, and whether or not they can bring people. Good design fosters safety and community and enhances our quality of life.
The design of our roads and streets has a significant impact on our safety and freedom of movement. Design speed, is the speed that feels “right” on a road. We need to design for the speed that it safe. Our streets should be designed so that everyone, 8 or 80, on foot, bike, bus or car is able to arrive at their destination safely.
Our river valley is a treasured part of our City, but right now we are planning the protection and use in pieces, without an overall plan. In order to protect this habitat and wildlife corridor we need to look at the valley as a whole. This also makes sense when we plan our recreational and transportation uses. This gives us the opportunity to create more integrated destinations, while also being more intentional about our protection of the valley.
Policies based on best practices in urban design will make our neighbourhoods more vibrant, liveable and safe.
As your Councillor...
- I will work to find concrete and consistent ways to integrate effective design principles into our zoning bylaws and projects.
- I will work to establish best practices around traffic safety and move forward on the implementation of Vision Zero.
- I will work to lower speeds in residential neighbourhoods, through lower posted speed limits and designing our roads for improved safety for everyone from 8 to 80.
- I will work towards a comprehensive river valley parks plan that looks at the whole valley, so that we can better protect our natural areas, while also enjoying the river valley for recreation and as an active transportation corridor.
The new policy on Public Engagement, and the work that supports it, is an exciting road map for improving the relationship between the City and Edmontonians.
The policy and framework will take time to roll out and building these relationships and trust in the community will take time and commitment. This is an essential part of the work, and our City Council needs to take a leadership role, not only in what we say, but also in how we engage.
The best ideas are rooted in our communities, connected to the places where we live, work and play. We need to do more to support and amplify our local knowledge and capacity so that more of these innovative ideas can come to life and shape our communities.
As your Councillor…
- I commit to continuing and expanding on the new Public Engagement policy and framework, as one of my key responsibilities.
- I commit to doorknocking between elections, and visiting our local community organizations, non-profits, entrepreneurs and networks. Listening to the community requires that I meet you -- in your community.
- I commit to seeking out underrepresented groups and perspectives so that we can create a more inclusive City that is shaped by all its residents.
- I will facilitate connections across different groups and interests, and hosting public gatherings that bring different perspectives together so that we can build understanding and a common vision, ahead of the decisions that impact our communities.
- I commit to connecting you to networks in your community, people with a wide range of perspectives and expertise, city administration, and the rest of Council so that together we can take action on issues that matter in our communities.