People have called Edmonton home for thousands of years. We all benefit today because of the care of this land, and the investments of time, resources, and human creativity of all those who came before us. The decisions we make today rely on our collective investment in this place through our taxes, but also our investment of time and care of others, of the planet, and our communities as well as our labour, entrepreneurship, economic activity and creative expression.
As your Councillor you will be entrusting me and all of Council with important decisions about how we will direct the legacy we’ve inherited, the investments we are making today, and how we will build the City we are leaving our children. This is a responsibility we can not take lightly. Budgetary decisions will be particularly challenging over the next few years. It's easy in a time of crisis to revert to the status-quo and short-term thinking. However, that does not prepare us for a very different future. A future that is coming whether we like it or not. Our new City Plan is designed to meet and adapt to this uncertain future, but we will only be able to realize this potential if we prioritize our investments and decision making in alignment with this strategy.
Every decision, and especially our budget decisions, need to be connected explicitly to our City Plan and our stated values and priorities and we need the metrics to align with these objectives. In particular, we need to be thinking not only about our immediate situation, but also the long-term implications of our decisions. Priority based budgeting and our Carbon Budget are both important steps in the right direction. Well-being metrics, long term cost/benefit analysis, complete life cycle costs, GBA+, and impact on local economic development are all possibilities for capturing a more complete understanding of the short and long-term implications of a decision.
I worked through the last City of Edmonton budget with a group of other volunteers to determine where investments aligned with the new City Plan and co-wrote an economic case for a local food system during the last Municipal Development Plan deliberations in 2008-09. I have a strong interest in how public investment in communities can best drive private investment for equitable and inclusive community revitalization. I have worked with others on developing social enterprises and community investment co-operatives and more recently, I’ve played a leadership role in exploring alternative financing models for the proposed Rollie Miles Recreation Center.
Clearly communicating the short and long term factors that influence decision making provides communities, City Administration, service providers, non-profits, entrepreneurs, investors and everyone who helps build our City, a bit more certainty and sets clear expectations as we navigate an uncertain future.