Election 2013 questionnaire response: Mujahid Chak, Ward 11

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

Mujahid Chak, candidate for Ward 11

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


There must be a focus on developing existing and mature neighborhoods. There are a number of opportunities to partner with local community stakeholders to create greater community support, walkability and desirability. We need to make sure that the costs of spending the extra monies within the more established communities are offset by the bevy of value adds that are given within these communities. A strong economic case can be made that the more we infill pre- existing spaces the less we will spend on expanding infrastructure and increased need for higher property taxes.

At the same time we as Edmontonians must realize that new neighborhoods have already been approved and we need to create the same level of community involvement and support that exists in older communities. It is my platform that we must support and nurture Family, Community, and Diversity.

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


I will first work as a team with Community businesses and Council. We will encourage a rich and diverse business approach within neighborhoods. We will prompt and push for a myriad of business delivery methods outside of traditional store front models. Through inclusive conversation and engagement we will work to ensure that neighborhoods are accepting of home based businesses, non-profits and community organizations that give back to the richness of the community. We will look to an inclusive framework of how homes can have independent, sustainable, revenues within their local neighborhoods and communities.

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


I am excited that there has been such an expansion of Grow and Eat Local. Regional food security and food insecurity are issues that a northern city like ours does not have enough conversations about. I will support the recently established Edmonton Food Council to discuss topics like urban agriculture, food supports to the less fortunate, and burgeoning agriculture technologies, such as vertical farming.

I have always looked at ways in which each home can grow part of their food needs themselves. I would support programs that are developed to allow for those who have a specific skill to help train others in the neighborhood and the support a more comprehensive community garden approach.

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


One of our Ward 11 platform vision is the promotion of Diversity. Ward 11 is an incredibly diverse and vibrant community. My ability to build bridges between different ethnic, religious and culture groups over the last 38 years is something I would draw from. For me, Edmontonians who have contributed to the current culture, infrastructure and communities should be included in all discussions. The wisdom of those individuals and groups should be included as a separate stakeholder in critical decisions for the present and the future. This is how we honor history by being inclusive to those who have made it possible to have a future

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


I envision that we have to take all steps to make public transportation more accessible and continue to be the great equalizer as in other cities. If our system is going to develop through the imposed utilization of P3s, we must have extensive, inclusive dialogue about our expectations, role of private industry in a public service and the cost to the Citizens of Edmonton.

Public transportation should be the primary choice of transportation for all Edmontonians. We must promote the benefits to our City, its infrastructure and our municipal budgets if we develop a vibrant, barrier reducing and interwoven LRT and public transportation system.

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


I am excited to engage those in our community that have new ideas and new technologies. Working collaboratively will present areas that need new, potential and effective solutions. The areas covered could be roads and energy, and encourage through a variety of City supports, innovation. New opportunities to find cost effective solutions to difficult budgetary problems will be sought at every opportunity. The City has done this in the past with great success, as evidenced by our world leading waste management program. Developing new technologies such as rubber roads and other alternative energy programs like solar parking lots, will improve Edmontonians satisfaction and develop a sense of dynamic optimism in how we are managing issues.

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


The expansion of the LRT will be the biggest issues for Ward 11. First, I will be seeking is to include all stakeholders within the Ward to be informed, engaged and included in the expansion process. Fully accessible, effective and reasonably quick public transportation is key to building a better society. Secondly, build upon my strong relationships with Provincial and Federal representatives to make sure the budgetary shortfalls of $550 million is closed and not placed upon the City to complete. Third, that the method in which the imposed P3 plan will function, is cost effective in the short and long term, and will not sacrifice service delivery. Finally I will focus on making sure the LRT is built within the scheduled time and enjoyed by all of Ward 11.

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


Please visit us at 8211 Argyll Road from 9-9 PM starting on September 2, 2013. All Edmontonians can also Call/Text the Campaign at any time at780.994.6895. You can also email me: chak@chak11.ca. As well, we have an extensive social media platform which can be found at www.chak11.ca, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram. We will be door knocking on every neighbourhood as well we are always open for meetings with and home, community organization, business and non-profit and will be more than happy to visit if invited.