Election 2013 questionnaire response: Dexx Williams, Ward 6

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

Dexx Williams, candidate for Ward 6

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


One of the many issues I have observed in my role as a community liaison officer in Central Edmonton is the neglected infrastructure and reduction in municipal resources provided to existing communities. 

This reduction in resources is largely due to financial constraints that have resulted from the creation and expansion of new neighbourhoods that require new infrastructure, services, amenities, etc. 

I plan to ensure a better balance is implemented which ensures a comparable focus on the upkeep and revitalization of existing communities in relation to that which is dedicated towards new developments. 

I have received some excellent feedback as to why there is more focus on development in the surrounding areas of Edmonton compared to existing communities.

One of the main reasons, as you may have already guessed, is that the financial costs of building within Central Edmonton is supposedly much higher than building in the expanding areas. 

I will explore, and ideally implement, incentives to create more appeal and generate more interest in developing on suitable vacant properties or neglected locations within Ward 6.

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


Listening to local business owners is the first step in ensuring their success. 

My background as an entrepreneur, with my own consulting company that helps small businesses to increase their profits by 30 – 90% in as little as 30 days utilizing proven, systematized strategies, gives me a unique perspective that many other business owners don’t possess.

As a consultant, I listen to the small business clients I work with, and help them to resolve their frustrations and concerns in order to make them more profitable.

As a civic leader, I will continue to utilize my skills to do the same thing for the businesses and residents I’ve been elected to represent.

Meeting with local business owners, hearing what frustrations they are having (i.e. customer accessibility, infrastructure concerns and criminal disorder in their area etc.), and working in collaboration with these owners to resolve them, will address immediate roadblocks in their path to prosperity.

The second way I would help local business owners is ensuring they have proper support. 

Support in the form of helping to promote networking groups and related events that can help bring them more exposure to their target customers.

Support for our homegrown, Edmonton-based startup companies, to make their road to success much easier.

Support in the form of reviewing outdated (or needlessly complicated) and time consuming processes and policies that deter local businesses from wanting to provide more for Edmontonians. (i.e. the frustrations regarding the outdoor patio application process etc.)

Lastly, support in the form of encouraging as much local talent and resources are utilized for municipal events and activities as possible.

From the use of food in catering City of Edmonton events, to the use of innovative technology and services provided by local businesses to create a more positive Edmonton experience for residents and visitors alike. We must support our local businesses to the fullest.

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


I believe we can all agree that support of urban agriculture and local food providers will play an important role in our economic success as a City.

As a community we need to ensure that we truly ensure our own future sustainability and quality-of-life as we continue to grow at a rapid pace.

From what I have observed, the City of Edmonton is well aware of this fact (as witnessed by the creation of the Edmonton Food Council and the strategic direction being taken in that regards).

I will continue to support the current strategic direction by the City to move forward with not only expanding Urban Agriculture, but also committing to ensure key agricultural land is secured for such a purpose. 

One of the key areas for my vision of Edmonton is our ability to position ourselves as innovative leaders. Taking advantage of the many opportunities we have that are unique to our City. 

Urban Agriculture and its relation to our future ability to remain as self-reliant as possible is a key point. 

Will there be challenges and learning curves? You bet. 

Will we overcome them as a community? Definitely!

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


Having recently attended the EPS tipi ceremony, and observed the commitment being made by Police to build relationships with our aboriginal community via a dedicated Aboriginal Liaison Officer, I can say I have noticed great strides being made from the City of Edmonton in this regards. 

That being said, I do feel slightly disappointed when I come across individuals who are not aware that Edmonton has one of the largest (and rapidly growing) aboriginal communities in Canada. 

This awareness definitely needs to be improved.

The first thing I will do to address this community’s needs and history, which I currently do (and will always continue to do), is to start by asking questions, lots of questions.

I will investigate the source problem and hear from all sides as to what can be done.

I will ask questions about what is currently being done, where and when is it being done, how it’s being done, and why it’s being done that way.

I will talk to Indigenous representative groups and individuals to gather their feedback. 

I want to hear straight from the source (and not via a variety of third party sources which may dilute key concerns).

I want to know what they are currently happy with, what they are unhappy with, and how they believe it can be improved upon.

I will do the same with City representatives, and as well those in any communities that may be affected by decisions made.

Collaboration with everyone involved is vital to everyone being happy with the end result.

By doing this, we can not only ensure that our history as a community is accurately reflect, but also ensure that the groups that form the building blocks of our community feel they are properly credited and respected.

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


I envision a City that is easily accessible by residents and visitors alike. This accessibility will be regardless of their desired mode of transportation: walking, bicycling, driving, public transit etc.

Expansion of our urban trail systems that allow for better pedestrian and bicycle accessibility, proper planning and maintenance of our road infrastructure for maximum efficiency, and expansion of public transit access, will all ensure that traveling from Point A to Point B within Edmonton is a simple, enjoyable experience.

That being said, I envision a transit system that is designed to be as effective as it is cost efficient. While I do feel the expansion of the LRT is a key component of this, I do not think it is the “only solution” that should be focused on.

For example: utilizing more dedicated busses for “express” purposes that go from one destination to another, without any stops between points. 

Perhaps more dedicated bus lanes could be created during peak hours to make public transit a bit more appealing and convenient.

I also plan to explore ideas around the proposed late night bus service concept. This is a concept that was to help with getting more of the “bar crowd” home easier after last call and the various drinking venues close. 

Providing another option for individuals, who would rather not stand outside in the cold, waiting hours for a cab on Jasper or Whyte Ave, is important in how visitors and residents alike recall their experience in Edmonton.

This is just one example of an innovative approach to how we can utilize our public transit infrastructure to its fullest potential.

Basically, I plan to encourage the testing of new ideas and strategies to enhance the transit experience in Edmonton. 

Implementing innovative and practical solutions to help move more citizens throughout Edmonton more effectively is vital.

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


A large component of Edmonton’s future economic success will lie in our ability to attract AND retain highly skilled individuals to our City. 

We must be able to attract young talent to our City in order to retain more our youth from leaving after their education is done.

The benefits of better engagement and collaboration with our post-secondary institutions and students can be seen on regular basis within Ward 6.

My team of fellow officers alone has utilized local students multiple times in just this year alone:

We utilized student involvement with our recent project designed to reduce crime and disorder within the infamous Capital Tower on 106 Ave and 101 St.

And we’ve utilized students training in emergency services to help us teach crime prevention strategies and education to hundreds of Edmontonians via our Hard Target Personal Safety Seminars that our team implemented.

Interestingly enough, I was recently reminiscing with Councillor Kim Krushell about the first time we met. 

It was back in the fall of 2004, shortly after she was first elected to City Council and I was first elected to be the President of NAITSA.

Councillor Krushell had invited my fellow executives and I to City Hall to discuss problem-solving initiatives around Edmonton nightclubs and what could be done to make the experience safer for Edmontonians.

Go figure that I would years later end up being a police ambassador for the Best Bar None program to continue to do the same thing!

Then there’s even the recent involvement of University of Alberta researchers to help the City of Edmonton to resolve the flooding issues surrounding our draining systems etc.

One of my focuses with Central Edmonton will be to help build its recognition, as the core continues to grow, as a place of education and a home for our growing student population.

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


The biggest challenge Ward 6 faces is its desirability.

Often the feedback I receive from not only Edmontonians, but also visitors to our City, is that they often avoid coming to the core of our City for a plethora of reasons.

Some say they feel it’s too difficult to access and navigate. Others say they don’t feel safe; that it’s too dirty, riddled with garbage and litter. 

Young families have told me that Central Edmonton doesn’t offer the same amenities that the suburbs do. Business owners have complained about crime and disorder causing them to lose sales.

My goal is to work with residents of Ward 6, individuals and businesses alike, to ensure we have an area that is as appealing and desirable as possible for families to reside, students to gravitate to, and businesses to establish themselves within.

This will be a team effort. Ensuring that the needs and frustrations of families, students, business owners, and social agencies are all involved in the process.

Listening to feedback and taking action, that is how I plan to create a more enjoyable and exciting Ward 6 experience for everyone.

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


I have recorded a short video to share my background and vision for Edmonton on my website: http://www.DexxWilliams.com

I also have some of the action items I plan to focus on immediately once I’m elected to council on the website as well.

Also, requests can be made for a lawn sign on the website to help spread the message of wanting a better Edmonton experience. ☺

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  1. Pingback: Dexx's Thoughts on Local Businesses, Agriculture and More - Edmonton Ward 6 Election - Dexx Williams

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