Election 2013 questionnaire response: Heather Workman, Ward 8

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

Heather Workman, candidate for Ward 8
Heather Workman, candidate for Ward 8

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


I firmly believe in preserving the character and potential of Ward 8. Green space is part of our culture and mature communities green space is essential to our communities. I understand development plans have more detailed guidelines to follow especially in mature neighbourhoods. These restrictions include height and proximity to property lines. Bending these rules for the benefit of developers is not in the best interest of Ward 8. Truly talented developers can build within the reasonable expectations of our mature and award winning communities. 

City departments can support mature community livability through education and understanding of our community history and attentively oversee compliance to best building practices. I’d like to see a real effort to continue with visually appealing and thoughtful development that will not overextend or interfere with the livability of our established communities. Building structures too close together is a safety and fire hazard and needs thoughtful review.

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


First rule is to support local business by spending our money in local shops. I am very interested in family owned and operated business being regularly supported. Without our unique shops, restaurants and other businesses Ward 8 may lose on some character. Support our local businesses please!

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


As people may know, I have a great love for the farmers’ markets in Edmonton. Buying from local food producers needs to be our top priority for personal Heath and preservation of the culture of the family owned and operated farms. As a City Councillor, I would remind our city planners to preserve any local farms that produce food for the benefit of the residents of Ward 8. Locally grown food is our inheritance and if we plan wisely future generations will benefit.

Many residents of Ward 8 have gardens of their own and should not be expected to build housing or be taxed out of their homes. I have participated in community garden projects and observed the benefit of people connecting with like-minded community people.

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


The Indigenous Edmontonians deserve a peaceful and transparent resolution to past and present errors. I will be very attentive on this matter. People are our history in Edmonton and we need to celebrate the people of Edmonton, while remaining open and fully transparent. Thankfully our city has evolved and now we can move forward thoughtfully.

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


First, we need an Edmonton solution and to insure that policy C-513, which states that “The City of Edmonton believes that a key element of representative democracy is that people have a right to be involved in decisions that affect them” is followed at all times. I am very disappointed to learn how some home owners have been treated by departments involved in the South East LRT Project. Please review the October 2, 2013 Ward 8 Candidate Forum which is linked on my web site www.heatherworkman.ca 

During the forum you will hear a question and factual statements from a resident that knows and has experienced how city departments operate. Clearly candidates who are pushing LRT lines through Ward 8 communities are not aware of the facts nor have they taken the time to understand the risk of the P3 funding model. Please review the Parkland Institute report by John Loxley called ” The Wrong Turn: Is a P3 the best way to expand Edmonton’s LRT?” 

Building an LRT is not an overnight job. We need a transit system that lasts and improves “livability for all” in the areas that a transportation line may run through. We always need to remember to be thoughtful and respectful of residents in established communities. Yes, there have been delays to developing a completely efficient transit system. I do not support any measures that are punitive, lack in good faith and negatively impact the good people of Ward 8.

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


I’d like to participate by completing my Sociology Degree, consult experts freely on civic issues to make services run smoother and hold the city administration accountable or assist to avoid the not so wise choices. 

From what I understand the city relies on academic studies and reports in order to move forward on any plan. In this moment, imagine what a long term study on pothole issues and maintenance would look like. The study may show that potholes are growing in number and can only be managed by regular maintenance. So, if the city was commissioning a study such as this, how are we doing on effectively managing issues! Any academic study the city commissions needs to up hold the highest ethical standards. The report (whether peer reviewed or not) would need to be easily understood and complete for all citizens to review.

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


My big suggestion is to reinstate the Citizen Action Centre in City Hall and to staff this citizen resource with librarians, who like people. Many people need help finding documentation relating to the citizen concerns such as policy, bylaw and statutes. Reinstating the Citizen Action Centre has the potential to be a great resource to involve citizens who have an invested interest in Edmonton. All Councillors need to be in the loop of citizens experiences. 

I hear the citizen concerns ranging from pot holes, safety, resonating LRT, inappropriate public consultations, city debt, lack of community support, lack of transparency, targeting of populations, and a lack of Edmonton based solutions to any issues affecting our communities. My intention is to involve the people of Ward 8 and together we can come up with ideas to get back to a citizen driven plan. 

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


I am doing full days of door knocking throughout Ward 8, but if I don’t land at your door, please visit my website at www.heatherworkman.ca , send an email to vote@heatherworkman.ca or call me at (780) 475-9198. I would like to hear about your concerns, your ideas and what inspires you to make Edmonton a better place to live!

On the web site is a link to the recorded October 2, 2013 forum with all the questions from the community and answers from all the Ward 8 candidates who attended. In addition there are links to interviews on facebook

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