Tap the Potential of Edmonton - Elect Sim for Ward 10

Tap the Potential of Edmonton

Edmonton has so much potential to become an even greater city than it already is. My priority will be to represent your vision for Ward 10 and our city! I believe good leadership isn't always about throwing money into any and every project. It's about connecting the right people, with the right resources. It's about stretching the resources you have through creative, out-of-the box solutions. It's about finding opportunities to create win-win solutions for your various stakeholders, and sometimes it's about making compromises.

I have lived and worked in 9 different cities in 5 countries in my life, but Edmonton is the city I love the most. I have seen the good examples and the bad examples of urban planning. I think the City Council needs an independent voice: Someone whose campaign is not financed by developers, someone who can ask the tough questions, and someone who makes sure our tax dollars are used effectively. That's why I am running for City Council. I believe our city has so much potential, and I want to make sure we can tap into it. Here's how I think we can do it:

SMART/RESPONSIBLE DENSIFICATION:

We all agree continuous growth of Edmonton outward is not sustainable in the long run. Resources required to maintain the quality of city services would mean further increases in taxes, or a general trend of deteriorating service levels. Though increasing density in the mature neighbourhoods appear to be a common goal majority of Edmontonians share, we increasingly feel like City Hall is telling us what our communities should look like, rather than asking us what we want for our communities. I believe the current residents of a neighbourhood must have the ultimate say in shaping the future of their communities. Civic committees in community leagues, engaged residents who care about the future of their neighbourhoods are a tremendous resource for making sure we understand the unique needs of each community. If our goal is to bring back families with young children back to the core, and to create housing they can afford, we have to work with residents and bring community members together to build a long term vision for how this can be achieved. We need a vision and a comprehensive plan taking into consideration the unique character and composition of each neighbourhood. Advocating for early and better community engagement is not about being against development. On the contrary, having a shared vision for a community has the potential to eliminate so much red tape and move the development so much faster. Ward 10 has one of the highest percentage of neighbourhoods that have no redevelopment plans in effect. It's no wonder the residents of the mature neighbourhoods in Ward 10 are frustrated. If elected, my priority will be to work with community members to develop that shared vision for the community, and then to find the resources to make those plans come to reality.

A PROGRESSIVE BUT REALISTIC TRANSIT STRATEGY:

Like many Edmontonians, I believe that we need to find better ways of moving people around the city. Having a progressive transit strategy means looking beyond just mobility of people in the long run, but also looking at places we create for them to get to. I believe a comprehensive transit strategy should consider not only mobility but also place and accessibility. That being said, if we want more people to use public transit, we need to realize that we have to build a convenient, reliable, accessible, and cost-effective solution for potential transit users. The new communities in Ward 10 will need fast, and convenient ways of commuting to work. I will advocate for implementing BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) solutions to areas where expanding the LRT is not a viable, cost effective, and timely solution. It's great to encourage people to use more active forms of transportation like biking and walking, and we should definitely build a city that facilitates that. However, as someone not born and bred in tough Canadian winters, someone who understands the challenges of a family trying to get school age children everyday around the city, it's not realistic to expect all Edmontonians to walk or bike 20 minutes to the next transit centre every morning. We can't and should not focus all our energy on one facet of transportation. It's not realistic to expect Edmontonians to stop driving when key services like childcare, schools, and recreation etc. are miles away. I am an advocate for building park&ride solutions. Building large surface lots near prime transit locations may not be the most effective use of land, but there are also parking technologies that offer vertical parking solutions in a very small footprint. New communities, that are already designed to have higher population density than the core neighbourhoods in the north of Ward10 can't and shouldn't wait 15 years to have access to efficient transportation. If elected, development of public/private park & ride solutions in addition to supplementing current LRT system with a BRT system will be a top priority for me.

AN ADMINISTRATION THAT PUTS CITIZENS AT THE CENTRE:

What makes Edmonton and our neighbourhoods great is our people. I believe any urban plan, or city service designed without taking into consideration the needs of its citizens is doomed to fail. If there is one trend about Edmonton we can count on and should plan for, it's that our city will continue to become more diverse. From 2000 to 2015, Alberta’s share of the immigrant population more than doubled from 6.8 to 14.2 per cent. I should know. I am one of those immigrants who chose to settle in Edmonton. Increasing immigrant population in our city is both an opportunity and a challenge. On the one hand new immigrants are like a constant boost of energy for a city as they are ambitiously building a new life for themselves and their families. On the other hand, they introduce new challenges. As a city we need to make sure we have plans in place to understand the needs of the immigrant communities and find creative ways that will enable us both to tap the great potential of these newcomers and help them quickly adapt and integrate to our society. Another demographic trend that will define our city's future is that we will have an increasingly aging population. By 2031, one in five Albertans will be senior. As a smart city we have to have better ways of knowing and understanding the changing local demographics so that we're better positioned to create solutions which meet the needs of our city as we change. Initiatives that will help seniors age in the communities they live in, or new immigrants to become fully contributing and integrated members of our community will be my top priority as a Councillor.

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