[We sent five questions concerning green living, local economy and inclusiveness to all of the Election 2017 council candidates. We are posting their unedited responses in the order that they’re received. – Ed.]
What is the biggest challenge your Ward faces? What policy solutions would you seek if elected?
For too long, families of the Northeast have been under-served by city council. I will ensure that our communities get the services we deserve from the city. We need more parks, more schools and more businesses so our families can socialize and play in the Northeast. We need more recreational centres and programming for families so that they don’t have to commute to other parts of the city to have fun. We also need better transit that connects our neighbourhoods to the downtown but also to destinations within the Northeast. With the Northeast in such need of services, what have we gotten instead? City council just cut six bus routes and LRT service to the Northeast. The Northeast deserves better.
How will you help Edmonton become a greener / more environmentally friendly city?
When families in Northeast Edmonton were asked about transit they didn’t want cuts. They wanted more transit routes into the downtown and more routes that connect local destinations in their communities. What was city council’s response? Six buses routes were cut and service on the LRT was reduced. I will make sure that these cuts are reversed and that the Northeast is part of Edmonton’s transit strategy, not an after-thought.
How will you strengthen Edmonton’s local economy and support our city’s independent, locally-owned businesses?
The Northeast isn’t just a warehouse to store people for the night. We need to attract more small businesses to the Northeast so that families have, work, commercial and recreational opportunities in our own community. Small businesses are essential for job creation and help make our communities stronger and more livable.
I will also continue the tradition of Councillor Ed Gibbons and work with other municipalities in the Industrial Heartland to attract new industry and new jobs that form the backbone of Edmonton’s economy and employ thousands in the Northeast.
How will you make this a more inclusive city and support Edmonton’s marginalized communities?
Poverty isn’t exclusive to the downtown core. It is present across our city and in the Northeast. We need to ensure that affordable housing is the responsibility of our entire city not just certain regions. As the Northeast grows, we need to make sure that the city invests in more affordable housing units in our communities. I will also work with city council and community partners to address homelessness in the river valley.
I will also work with Edmonton Police to put a stop to carding. It is a practice that creates distrust and animosity between minority community groups and our police. EPS has a fine tradition of community policing. I will work with the police service to focus on building bridges with minority groups.
How can our readers learn more about your platform, contact you with questions or concerns, or get involved in your campaign?
The response in Northeast Edmonton is incredible but we need your help. Visit my website aaronward4.ca to learn about where I stand, to take a sign or volunteer. You can also visit me on Facebook. Our campaign office will be opening soon at 14053 Victoria Trail.