Election 2013 questionnaire response: Dennis Gane, Ward 11

[We sent your questions to all the Election 2013 candidates. We are posting their unedited responses in the order that they’re received. – Ed.] 

Dennis Gane, candidate for Ward 11
Dennis Gane, candidate for Ward 11

1. In the context of our City’s growth, how will you support the development of existing communities as opposed to new neighbourhoods?


I am not opposed to the development of new neighbourhoods. With the number of people moving to Edmonton, it’s inevitable. However that being said, I am concerned with new development at the expense of existing communities. I am also concerned with the associated costs of new infrastructure development (roads, sewers, transit…)

In my Ward, when speaking with residents, they welcome development and recognize it will attract new families. This is essential to keeping up the community’s vibrancy. It also mitigates risk in loosing existing schools to newly developed areas. Community members also say they don’t want to see huge houses or apartment buildings that will take away from the attractiveness and or flavor of their communities. They want a say in what infill development occurs and rightly so. 

As a City Councillor, I will work with the community leagues in my ward where infill development is proposed. The community must be heard. Based on their responses, I will advocate on their behalf to ensure this appropriate development occurs. 

2. How will you support and promote independent locally-owned businesses in Edmonton?


On a personal and professional level, I already do. There are 30,000 businesses in Edmonton, the majority are small business. Bottom line, they are the life blood of our city. There are a number of challenges facing business. If you have ever formed a business in Edmonton, you will know what I mean when I say, “How much more paperwork? What another regulation and another permit!” What can we do to make the process easier? One way is to listen to the various associations representing business in Edmonton, for example, the South East Business Association, Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, CFIB and other associations whose members are impacted by a confusing and arduous bureaucratic and regulatory regime.

Many newcomers are arriving. They have made Edmonton their home. Some had successful businesses in their country of origin. When they want to set up a business here, it can be a daunting task. How can the City of Edmonton aid them develop their business. Again, let’s make the process easier. Diversity contributes to innovation which contributes to workforce development and economic stability.

3. How will you support local food and urban agriculture in Edmonton?


There has been a lot of work done on fresh: Edmonton’s Food and Urban Agriculture Strategy. One outcome is the Edmonton Food Council (EFC). Based on the strategy, they will spearhead the growing movement to buy local. There are 9 strategic directions forming the overall strategy, I support the directions of these. I will also add, strategy number 9 – integrate land use for agriculture – will be the toughest to implement. However, I believe successful implementation of the prior strategic directions will set the tone for the 9th strategy. I will also continue buying from Millwoods and South Edmonton Common farmers markets promoting buy local through my actions.

4. How will you address Indigenous Edmontonians’ history and needs?


Edmonton is located on the traditional territorial lands of Treaty Six and should be recognized as such. I have noticed more and more events commencing with this recognition. This is one step in the process of developing better relations with Edmonton’s Aboriginal communities. 

It is important to note the diversity of our Aboriginal population. Yes we have a large First Nation’s population. We also have a very large Métis population, many non-status Aboriginal peoples and a small percentage of Inuit. Within the next 5 years, we will have the largest Aboriginal population in Canada. I believe we should recognize and embrace this. We must work harder in engaging the Aboriginal community in municipal government.

Edmonton has an opportunity to highlight its indigenous past. We have recognized the contributions of early 1900’s settlers, for example, Alberta’s Ukrainian population. Everyone knows of their contributions to agriculture development and the growth of Alberta. Why hasn’t the same occurred with Canada’s First Peoples? I believe the new Royal Alberta Museum will create a centre dedicated to Aboriginal arts and culture? This is one step in positive direction. We still need to do more. We should be asking the Aboriginal population what their vision is and work with them. 

The general consensus of the Aboriginal people I know, they want to be consulted before decisions are made that impact them. As for Aboriginal ‘needs,’ In the case of First Nations people, we can begin by honouring treaties, and for the Métis, to respect their distinct culture. 

5. How do you envision the public transit system evolution?


Residents in my ward overwhelmingly state we need the LRT and are disappointed it has been delayed. Every year of delay will cost more money. We need to move people to work, other neighbourhoods, schools, and appointments more efficiently and effectively. 

Edmonton has been called a car city. Effective public transportation can change this. The alternative is greater congestion on our roads, in addition, costlier repairs, and more frequent repaving. New roads are cost prohibitive and increase our environmental footprint. We have to invest in our future now. Our children and grandchildren will not, nor should they, have to pay for a rapid transit system that should already be in place. 

We need $515 million to go ahead with the SE Valley line. It is expected the provincial and federal government will step up to the plate, frankly, they should have already. After completion, work will then commence on the West Valley line. Substantial funding will be required. We need to work more closely with our provincial and federal representatives to ensure the money is in place sooner rather than later. 

The SE Valley line is a public private partnership (P3). There is some resistance to this form of financing however the other option is increasing property taxes and continue asking the province and federal government for money at the expense of other projects. Lastly, I would also like to see the private partner for the SE Valley line work with ETS. Their knowledge of transit operations are exceptional and should be valued in moving forward. I would also like to see ETS take on part of the operation, for example, staffing. 

6. What will you do to better engage post-secondary research / students / faculty with the rest of the community?


I would start by asking them how they would like to engage with the community. Frankly to do otherwise is paternalistic. I will also work with existing student bodies and community leaders. Many of our post secondary students will be our future leaders. Engaging them now contributes to making Edmonton their home for life. We can’t afford to lose them to other cities or provinces.

7. Councillor candidates: What is the biggest challenge your Ward faces? What solutions would you seek?


The diversity in Ward 11 is the biggest challenge. In the northern part of the Ward, homes were built in the 50’s onwards, and in the south, 70’s and onwards. The cultural and socioeconomic diversity is broad. We need to come together as one. A cohesive ward has strength. While we do have similar concerns such as traffic congestion, potholes and public transportation, there are different issues that are unique to each community. In Millwoods, LRT is on the minds of residents. The communities north of Argyll road are concerned about infill development and school closures. 

As your City Councillor, it is my goal to work with all members of every community league within our Ward. And the best way to address this, establish an advisory group comprised of representatives from all of them. Coming together, members will voice their concerns and issues. I also believe it will increase community league membership resulting in greater community engagement. Speaking at one table, we will be able to identify and establish a list of needs. This is what I will use when serving on Council.

8. How can our readers learn more about your platform, contact you with questions or concerns, or get involved in your campaign?


Readers may contact me at: Ganeforward11@gmail.com 


Ph: 780-975-3289

Thank you.