Election 2013 questionnaire response: Josh Semotiuk, mayoral candidate

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

Josh Semotiuk, mayoral candidate
Josh Semotiuk, mayoral candidate

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


We need to acknowledge the city cannot continue to expand geographically at this rate; it is not sustainable. Existing and mature neighborhoods need to be consulted when infill is encouraged to ensure it is well planned. If we can promote and improve our core and existing neighborhoods people will naturally be drawn to them.We need to encourage builders and developers to create sustainable walkable communities within our city. Various services and amenities need to be available within walking distance.

We need to encourage strong transportation choices while planning infill.

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


I believe the best way to support local business is to not restrict their opportunities or inhibit them with red tape. When planning city events etc, we need to make it a priority to hire locally.

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


I think the city’s role is promotion of things such as food co-ops, farmer’s markets, harvest trades and local businesses such as the Organic box. Community gardens are a great community league project that the city funds, and have great benefits for their neighborhoods; growing food together and sharing that responsibility is a great way to help build a healthy sustainable city. 

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


The City of Edmonton has done a terrible job acknowledging the history and needs of indigenous people. The City needs to move away from a pattern in history of acting without consultation or compassion and then apologizing after decisions are made or construction has started. We need to move forward by working with the Indigenous Edmonton community, not just railroading them or making decisions without their input. I will not make grand assumptions about the needs of Indigenous community members and I cannot speak for them. What I can do is engage leaders and citizens in discussion on how to move forward and help to meet their needs as Edmontonians.

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


I hope to see transportation options as a whole expand in a integrated sustainable way. Public transit needs to expand to connect with neighboring/commuting municipalities, suburbs. I would like to see: wifi on transit to allow for some commuters to clock in and email etc to save commuting time, bike racks on all buses, increased frequency in peak times and improved weekend and late-night services for shift workers etc). The LRT is integral to expanding an efficient service. I would like to see a transit system that is connective (bikes to buses to LRT to walking paths to foot bridges) and planned to allow for ease in getting to the Airport to event centres to service centres to shopping malls to parks, schools, etc.

LRT services need to be expanded west in our city in order to allow efficient transit to all communities in Edmonton. If communities are left without transit connections there is potential for the creation social and physical division from the rest of the city. Transit can aid in unifying a city as well as reduce wear and tear on roads if people are attracted to utilize transit.

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


At this moment, I am not sure, but I am guessing there are some people with some good ideas. I am not a student or a member of faculty, so can’t speak for them, but I think the APIRG has some good resources that would be valuable to promote further into a broader community.

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


You can find me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Josh-Semotiuk-for-Mayor/1414049732143813 or on twitter @Josh4YEGMayor.

I am available via email at joshsemotiuk@gmail.com and will do my best to get back to you as fast as I can but I am working fulltime and do not have a team to answer my surveys and emails, I appreciate your patience.