Election 2013 questionnaire response: Michael Oshry, Ward 5

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

Michael Oshry, candidate for Ward 5

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


With tens of thousands of people moving to Edmonton every year, the city needs to do a better of of utilizing the existing land and infrastructure. I believe there is a balance, as some people, especially with young children, want a backyard and can only afford that in outlying areas. However, there are many opportunities to redevelop lands closer to the core and I will support doing so. We have to so a better job of encouraging that development, whether by tax breaks, subsidies or other support. 

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


I have started five local and independently owned businesses in my business career in Edmonton, mostly small businesses and one that has grown significantly. My current business although has offices in other cities, is still 100% locally owned and employs over 70 people locally. It is vital that Edmonton continue to be a great place to do business. Small business is a HUGE employer in Edmonton and helps to drive our economy. I believe as a community we need to shop more at locally owned businesses and I try to do so. As well, I tweet about the local businesses in my Ward as I know how hard it is to run a small local business. I will ensure that small, local businesses will be able to compete and keep city hall from making it difficult and expensive to start and run one.

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


I believe in Edmonton’s Food and Urban’s Agricultural Strategy (FRESH). It makes no sense to truck or fly in produce that we can grow ourselves or very nearby, plus the local food is fresh! I love the farmer’s markets that are around town, especially the one in Callingwood in Ward 5! I believe we need to use any available land for agriculture and I think the city needs to create more neighbourhood communal agricultural gardens on vacant city property, or even private property, with the agreement of the owners. Why not? (The small garden at my house is producing very nice peas! However, my peppers are a disaster.)

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


Edmonton has the 2nd largest Indigenous population of any city in Canada. We need to do a MUCH better job of acknowledging their history and their part in our city. I believe education, promotion and support can go a long way. The city needs to consult with the Indigenous community to assess their needs and wants and with their input, address their issues appropriately. This is a very complicated and important situation and I do not believe any comments here can do it justice.

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


We are a growing city with huge transit needs. We need to continue to build out the LRT to all areas of the city to ensure our entire population has access to all facilities and employment opportunities in Edmonton. In Ward 5, many residents I have spoken too are greatly anticipating the LRT extension to the west-end. The cost is substantial, however, it is needed. As well, continue to evolve the transit bus routes is the way to go. The more efficient it is to use public transit, the more people with use it!

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


Edmonton has to do better to engage post-secondary institutions and partner with them to bring them closer to other aspects of the city on its citizens. As an example, the UofA moving parts of its operations downtown to the old Bay building was a great addition. I believe the city and the institutions must consult each other more and come up with some new ideas of how they can work together. Edmonton has an enormous amount invested in the success of the various institutions and we cannot stand by waiting on the Province to control our communal fate.

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


In Ward 5, there are many localized neighbourhood issues, as well as city-wide issues that are similar to other Wards. I don’t believe there is one issue per say. I believe city council, in Ward 5, has to do a better job consulting with the local residents before making decisions that effect them. I am committed to doing that. I am discussing with residence local issues like road issues (infrastructure), river valley access, access to recreation centres and playgrounds, crime rates, surplus school sites, and LRT extension, to name a few. I have spoken to over 2,000 residents so far. I will then work with residents and city council to come up with a plan that works.

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


website: voteoshry.com

email: michael@voteoshry.com

phone: 780-719-5755

twitter: @michaeloshry

facebook: Facebook.com/voteoshry

campaign office #400, Marketplace At Callingwood

I appreciate the opportunity to answer this survey. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Michael Oshry