Election 2013 questionnaire response: Jim Gibbon, 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.]

Jim Gibbon, 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?


Edmonton has done a good job recently of approving new growth as infill. Of particular note is the Century Park complex on 23 Avenue and 111 Street (right on the LRT). Another, the Pearl Tower complex, will draw people into the west end of Downtown and will, I believe, change the face of Edmonton. The rezoning of the City Center airport will add thousands. Finally the new Galleria project will add to the ‘growing up’ of Edmonton’s downtown, when taken in concert with the new arena. I intend to support all attempts at growing up instead of out and at using available land that does not remove green spaces.

Infill, however, is a very complex question for people outside the city’s core. In my Ward, 5, when we discuss growth most people agree that they want to avoid “Urban Sprawl” but when infill begins in their neighborhood, however, most people want to maintain their green space. The city of Edmonton has begun infill in surplus school grounds. (http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/urban_planning_and_design/surplus-school-building-sites.aspx). It is VERY important to me that infill not fill our city’s green spaces. 

Finally, Ward 5 is seeing enormous growth in new areas West of the Anthony Henday. It is important to note that with the volume of new residents moving to Edmonton that we will always require new housing. The opportunity to own a house drew my ancestors and is drawing new residents every day. While we need as much infill as possible, a certain percentage of people will always want want new, affordable housing; more than infill can provide. When this occurs, we need to assure that amenities are in place and green spaces are in place in advance. 

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


I think that my particular experience working to support and promote a locally made product has made me very vocal about local products, and I plan to continue on that crusade. 

Since opening a local microbrewery, I have spent the last six years actively promoting local products to local stores, restaurants, bars and others. I am proud to say that I have seen enormous growth in the buy local movement in that time. 

I was a member of the Alberta Food Producers Association from whom I learned a great deal. I will continue to support their efforts. 

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


1) I would like to see rooftop agriculture. Although many of our flattop buildings cannot sustain full gardens (for engineering reasons) flattops can easily sustain small gardens around their periphery.

2) Urban agriculture will be actively promoted, especially on open spaces around the downtown core. 

3) A local first campaign should be led BY EXAMPLE, by all city of Edmonton facilities. If the city owns it, it should carry local products. As I mentioned earlier, I spent the last six years trying to get local facilities to carry my local product. I will continue that effort on behalf of all Edmonton and region producers.

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


I have a pet project on that front. 

I would like to create a city sponsored group that can help second and third generation survivors of residential school abuse. Delays in addressing these issues have allowed the problems to pass between generations. We need to stop this process from continuing. 

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


My goals are to have the LRT reach as far as St Albert, Fort Saskatchewan, Sherwood park and the Airport in my lifetime.

We have miles of unused track we need to find a use for. http://jimgibbonedmonton.blogspot.ca/2013/08/why-not-weekly.html

Also, if you see my blog I am a proponent of the “Get them to come and then build it” approach. If we can’t get the money for the full service, start a less expensive version, then drag the Federal and Provincial governments into helping. 


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


Firstly, I would like to point out that I am a life long learner with three University degrees from the UofA, am an active alumnus and have spoken at a number of our institutes of higher learning. I think the UofA, NAIT and others are an integral part of Edmonton life. Our high percentage of students help create our cities vibrant atmosphere. 

I am actively supporting the new Galleria project in an attempt to bring more post secondary students into the central core of the city. 


I am proposing running the LRT to Whyte avenue tying together the UofA and the new NAIT line to Whyte Avenue and eventually the airport.


I would like to see 3 month internships for Poly-sci students at city hall, with each of the Councillors, for credit. 

The festival I help direct, Edmonton’s Heritage Festival, offers scholarship opportunities for students that volunteer.


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


Our biggest challenge is attaining the same services that the rest of the city enjoys for the constituents that reside West of the Anthony Henday.

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


See the website: jimgibbonedmonton.com

All the contact information is there.