Election 2013 questionnaire Response: Melinda Hollis, 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.]

Melinda Hollis, candidate for Ward 6
Melinda Hollis, 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?

Our City must continue to grow in a way that ensures the needs of its existing communities, and that the uniqueness and the ethos of existing communities are not lost in new development. I think it is important that elected officials work closely with these communities and businesses in the community for a common purpose.

At one time local improvements such as sidewalk repairs in neighborhoods were paid for by the City of Edmonton out of tax revenues. My goal is that Edmontonians get these local improvements or repairs through taxes they pay and not be charged extra and have the cost downloaded into family budgets through the imposition of additional local improvement charges.

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

I would like to make it easier for start up small business not to drown in the cost of city permits, taxes and other charges they may incur. I would like to create opportunities for new business in our city by working closely with The Edmonton Economic Development Corporation and the Downtown Business Association to attract new business into the City. As for Locally owned business I would like to see the City provide venues for these business to sell their goods and products. For example I would be in favor of having the Rossdale Plant converted into a year round farmers and artisanal market just like the one In Vancouver on Granville Island. I would Work with local business to insure local or municipal taxes and levies do not adversely impact the viability of local business.


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

We can possibly look at the city charging less taxes, license and permit fees for businesses that sell local food and urban agriculture in our city. I would like to see little market marts throughout the City in communities that sell local food and urban agriculture along with a year round farmers market.


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

I have a long standing and close relationship with many Aboriginal Communities in Alberta. A lot of aboriginals are displaced from these communities. I would like to work with these communities to make sure that the needs of some of these displaced aboriginals are met. I would also like to see programs put in place to foster healthy lifestyles and support for aboriginals. In the urban environment this could include increasing availability for counselling services, and supporting their history by participation in local community festivals in a way that is sensitive to their unique role in north american culture.


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

My ideal dream and hope for this city would be to have a public underground transit system like those in London, New York, or Toronto . I would like to see bus system that is more user friendly. For example, I would like to review lowering the bus fare along with buses running more frequently and extending the bus hours on weekends to reduce drinking and driving. I think it is going to be very challenging to provide a great public transit system on the budget that has been allocated for the rapid transit system. I think it is very important that the needs of the local communities be considered and met while designing the rapid transit routes through them, and that the uniqueness and ethos of communities are not lost in the design.


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

Post secondary education is very important and also getting very expensive. I would like to work with other levels of government to make sure that the needs of our students are recognized and that there is support is at the municipal level to work as a liaison between these different levels of government and student bodies.

The Edmonton Research Park (ERP) was established in 1980 for companies with new ideas. Edmonton Research Park mandate is to support companies with a variety of facilities and services while accommodating company’s development, from incubation for start-ups. and for larger companies to build their own research & development facilities. I would like to work with the Edmonton Research Park to assure that the municipality continues to support the ERP mandate.


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

The challenges that Ward 6 faces are multifaceted: debt and taxes, development such as the new arena, revitalization of Ward 6, infrastructure, reducing crime, and community mosaic. 

When I worked for city council as an Executive Assistant to a Councillor, we where two years away from being a debt free city. Now since 2000 our debt has increased to almost $3 Billion and taxes 50%. Leadership in Edmonton needs to address past mistakes and plan for the future by creating solutions that work. 

We must allow our City to grow and develop in a responsible way while preserving the ethos and uniqueness of Ward 6. With the new arena going in, it will result in the migration and displacement homeless people, which needs to be addressed. 

While revitalizing ward 6 we need to maintain a dynamic process for design and development of a vibrant downtown, which includes the participation of local residents and businesses, and could involve free parking on weekends, more pedways and underground connections, increased street level retail and restaurant establishments, mixed use options for the Rossdale Power Plant like a year round Farmers Market. I would also like to see implemented an expedited process for permitting restaurant outdoor seating areas and to work with the Community Enhancement Program to build, renovate and upgrade recreational facilities and cultural programs. 

As for City infrastructure, it is no secret that our roadways have become a mess during the past decade. Our roads and bridges have not been maintained sufficiently nor have roadways and other transportation infrastructures been adequately designed and put in place to meet the needs of a growing city. The amount of potholes, lack of winter sanding and clearing is not acceptable. I would like to look at the budget for the transportation department and possibly request that a proper audit be done to ensure that the funds allocated to these services have effectively been effectively used.


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

If elected I would Like continue a process of dialog and consultation with the local good community. 

For contact: follow me on Twitter: @HollisWard6 or Facebook: Melinda Hollis

Please view my website: MelindaHollis.com or email me at: MelindaHollisWard6@gmail.com