Election 2013 questionnaire response: Jamie Post, Ward 1

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

Jamie Post, candidate for Ward 1
Jamie Post, candidate for Ward 1

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


This is our home, and the quality of life we provide, always needs to be the driving force for Council; Building a great city and great places to live, work and play.

1. We need greater participation in planning & decision-making. Community development is never done. In our older neighbourhoods, to address standing issues and to attract new residents, we need the vibrancy, ideas & vision that comes from getting involved, holding events, having discussions. Something that’s hindered by a current public involvement process that generally leaves ordinary residents with little say in the end. 

2. Encouraging the creation of ‘housing for life’, and new housing that draws families in – This means infill that provides affordable and well designed single and multi-family homes. Apartments with secure, private amenity spaces that allow children to play under the supervision of their parents. A mix of owned, rented and secondary/garden suites. Housing for seniors, so that those who need a more supportive environment aren’t pushed away from their communities.

3. Trustees will have to make difficult decisions in the coming years when discussing schools in mature areas. For the schools that cannot be saved, future development should preserve playgrounds and some surrounding green space. But let’s do everything we can to preserve the great local schools that we have.

4. Access to parks & gardens is good for everyone, but some communities, like West JP here in Ward 1, only have a single park for the entire community. While individuals living in apartments and multi-units lack a place to grow vegetables or have a garden.

We can require a minimum amount of recreation space in every neighbourhood such as using empty properties for green spaces and community gardens, and encouraging homeowners with large, deep lots, to allow their yards to be used as growing spaces.

5. Providing attentive & energetic local representation to address unique issues and concerns in communities.

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


Our love of big-box stores and power centres, has hit hard our main streets and amenities within walking distance of our homes.

We do have options to support local business, local entrepreneurs, while building great local amenities and employment options:

1. Support our Business Revitalization Zones. In Ward 1, the Stony Plain Rd BRZ has had to overcome uncertainty which deters potential entrepreneurs. It’s put together a strategic plan, and with political support, and programs such as those to improve the streetscape and building facades, it can become an urban market hub for the area. 

2. Restart the Strip Mall Revitalization Project – I was excited when first surveyed by the project a few years ago. We have sites across the city which could be home to local markets, and other great things within walking distance. They’ve experience a decline as shopping habits changed, but they can be brought back to a vibrant life.

The City Region Studies Centre at the UofA did some interesting work on reimagining strip malls, that I’d like to see the city explore.

3. Pop-up retail – Make it easy for local vendors to partner with community, and city events to have pop-up retail booths & opportunities. They’re also a way for home-based business to have a retail presence in their area on special occasions. 

4. Support Business Incubators – TEC Edmonton and Startup Edmonton have done well, helping individuals to start businesses, giving them access to space, resources, and folks with whom to collaborate. That first hurdle, in taking an idea and starting a viable business, in finding space to work, and resources to utilize, is big and getting bigger. But economic development initiatives can help make it easier.

5. Lead by example – A Councillor has a public profile, use it! Shop locally, get out of city hall and hold meetings locally. Volunteer at local events. Walk from business to business in your local community and talk to owners and customers, one-on-one.

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


Edmonton’s Food and Agriculture policy has its flaws, and we’ll see how much support there is on the new Council, in administration, and in the development industry for urban ag opportunities in the eventual new neighbourhoods that were once prime farmland. 

As a Councillor, my push would be for:

1. Providing access to local gardens. As I’ve said, let’s use empty properties, and vacant public spaces for community gardens, and encourage homeowners with large, deep lots, to allow their yards to be used as growing spaces. Spaces for those who otherwise wouldn’t have a spot to grow herbs or vegetables. For programs such as Grow a Row in support of the Edmonton Food Bank, or small local initiatives such as the Fruits of Sherbrooke. 

2. Acknowledging urban agriculture in new area plans. As a EFCL planning committee member, I pushed to have the Food and Agriculture strategy acknowledge in the new neighbourhood design guidelines. However, there likely won’t be urban agriculture opportunities in new neighbourhoods without the direction and political support of Council. 

3. Helping to develop Stony Plain Road as an urban market district for the west-end and the entire city. It’s a great vision, which the Stony Plain Road BRZ has proposed for this commercial strip in Jasper Place. It’s central to thousands of local shoppers, a major transit corridor, and one the busiest routes into downtown. As an urban market, it could serve the product of local agriculture to thousands of Edmontonians.

4. Advancing great ideas that come from the Edmonton Food Council. The Council has some wonderful talent on it. People who have worked hard to cure hunger and address food security issues. Who can speak to urban agriculture, the business of food, the agriculture industry, and who can tell these stories to the public at large.

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


Sitting on the Edmonton Naming Committee, I’ve been a part of a group that’s worked hard to acknowledge indigenous peoples and historic places in the naming of civic infrastructure, and by building the historical names reserve list for future use and naming opportunities. That work will continue, and I’d continue to support it as a member of Council, and in endorsing future naming committee members.

The rebuilt public involvement policy that I’m proposing, will benefit all Edmontonians, the ordinary residents who traditionally have had the least say in city decision-making. In particular, those who have struggled to be heard, will have new ways to work with city decision-makers, to get information, and be recognized as stakeholders in the future of the city.

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


A complete, and comfortable system for users to enjoy.

To start, this means it’s easy, safe and convenient to access, with safe, walkable, and accessible pedestrian connections to transit stops. 

1. Follow complete street principles for major transit corridors, providing comfortable and enjoyable access for all transit riders, of all ages and physical abilities, using multiple forms of alternative transportation.

2. Focus on Transit Oriented Development that includes family-friendly units, allowing anyone to live around major transit centres.

3. Keep it affordable. We need more riders to spread out the cost of running a major transit system, rather than trying to squeeze ever increasing fares out of those who regularly ride, and eventually making the service unaffordable to them.

4. Guide the transit system through public consultation.. The Transit System Advisory Board has done some excellent work, but is only a small group, and can struggle to be heard by Council and administration. Our entire public consultation system needs to be rebuilt and this includes the way ETS builds for the future, and designs routes and connections, with the full feedback of the public.

5. Never stop working to finish building our LRT network. There have been plans to build an LRT route here to the west-end, since the early 1970’s. A complete LRT network is long, long overdue, and the next Council will inherit the job of working hard to get it done. The alternative, is to let another transportation plan fail, and more decades pass without mass transit expansion.

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


I’d like to do it through a combination of work-experience, and learning opportunities:

1. As a way to improve and enhance civic decision-making, Council should create a new Council advisory panel, that includes retired and semi-retired experts, students, and recent graduates. This group can evaluate administrative proposals and provide Councillors with independent assessments and expert knowledge in specialized areas like engineering, accounting, finance, information technology, and law.

Getting experienced professionals working with recent grads, also provides an educational opportunity and work experience for young Edmontonians, and gives retired professionals exposure to new ideas.

2. By partnering with service organizations, non-profits, the EFCL and local community leagues to create learning and work experience opportunities for students. I had the opportunity this past year, at the non-profit at which I work, to bring in a student to help with research, planning, and coordination of activities. It was a great experience for all, and when looking at the community organizations at which I volunteer, I can see some great opportunities at the community level.

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


It’s a diverse ward with so much happening and so much potential. In losing an experienced Councillor, it means that we’re going to need someone who can jump in early, and provide leadership on multiple issues and initiatives.

In older communities, key issues include infill development, the possibility of school closures, infrastructure renewal, and proactive community policing. 

Stony Plain Road is undergoing streetscape, conceptual planning for the WLRT, and an on-going business revitalization effort.

Glenwood, Canora, West Jasper Place and Britannia-Youngstown, are undergoing revitalization and community-building efforts. These make for a great opportunity to hold local discussions, experiment, and test ideas that could be used to benefit other mature communities in the ward. As well, the next Ward 1 Councillor will assume office, just as development scenarios are being proposed for the Jasper Place Area Redevelopment Plan.

In new areas, such as Lewis Estates, there is a need for amenities. A generation of kids growing up, should have more to do than having to head to the mall for amusement. Outside the Anthony Henday, response times for emergency services are an issue. 

The future Ward 1 Councillor will need to be closely involved in discussions around the future of the Yellowhead Trail to ensure the movement of goods for the Ward’s industrial areas. 

Ward 1 has diverse neighbourhoods to live in, multiple transportation connections to the entire city, great places to shop, to eat, to work and to do business. It’s my home, I love it, and I want to see it continue to build and standout within the city.

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


They can visit my campaign site at JamiePost.ca. 

Email – jamie@jamiepost.ca 

Phone – 780-800-7544

Twitter – @Jamie_Post

Facebook: Facebook.com/JamiePostEdm

My campaign is also happy to deliver printed information packets, attend events, or arrange speaking engagements upon request.