[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?
Ward 9 is a large and diverse area with over 40,000 households, but the single common issue raised is transportation.
At the north end, in established neighbourhoods, the primary issue is traffic congestion, the need for roadway infrastructure investment on Terwillegar Drive to alleviate the congestion, and concern around current and potential future in-fill projects that will add to those traffic woes.
In the south end of the Ward, south of Anthony Henday, the concern is the seeming lack of anticipation of rapid expansion and development, and again that seems to coalesce around transportation. The lack of community amenities (schools, health centres, community halls, etc) and the need to leave the community to access these amenities combined with an underdeveloped Anthony Henday and inadequate arterial roadways leaves people very frustrated on a daily basis.
The Henday is under provincial jurisdiction. The development of arterial roadways falls under the Arterial Road Assessment Program which is poorly defined and poorly regulated to the point where residents don’t know if the city or the developer is responsible. At the end of the day, residents want the problem solved regardless of who is responsible which means the provincial government must be lobbied and Arterial Road Assessment Program needs to be reviewed.
My policy solutions would include garnering support for a new interchange at 40th Avenue and Terwillegar Drive. This interchange is the fist step in alleviating the unsafe congestion that frustrates drivers on Whitemud Drive and Anthony Henday Drive alike.
I would work with my colleagues at the Province of Alberta and advocate for critical improvements on Anthony Henday Drive, including an additional lane in each direction from the QE2 to Callingwood Road, to add a second overpass to the Terwillegar Drive – Anthony Henday Drive interchange, and to construct a new interchange at Anthony Henday Drive and 136 Street. I would work diligently to ensure that these roadway projects were balanced and supported with improvements to transit and to alternative transportation infrastructure.
I would work to improve the Arterial Road Assessment Program, such that there is more transparency around when developer-constructed roadway improvements are scheduled.
How will you help Edmonton become a greener / more environmentally friendly city?
By far the biggest environmental concern in Edmonton is the car-centric nature of Edmonton’s built infrastructure. But Edmonton is also challenged by the reality its economy. While many work at centrally located employment nodes (the universities of Alberta and Grant McEwan, NAIT, downtown), a large proportion of our population travel to employment and education destinations on the city’s periphery.
We cannot ignore the need to maintain our already built roadway infrastructure to continue to support these key components of our economy. Our economy will likely ultimately migrate away from supply and maintenance of our oil and gas based economy, but those changes will not be sudden or immediate and must be planned for appropriately. Practically speaking, we need to make investments that accept this reality.
From an environmental perspective, I would like us to make targeted investments to eliminate major areas of congestion, which in turn would eliminate long lines of idling traffic. I think we do far more harm forcing persons into congestion than the good that results from frustrated drivers turning to mass transit or bicycle commuting.
However, I would balance these investments with associated investments in alternative transportation methods that permit effective, economical mass transit ( like Bus Rapid Transit) and bicycle commuting. Where we can transfer motorists out of their cars onto mass transit, we can create a more environmentally responsive system.
I would like to see Edmonton do a better job of separating its recycling streams. Currently our recycling system provides a blended paper output, which is of limited economic value. If we can separate our recycling systems further, and reap greater economic rewards, we can use those enhanced revenue streams to further support education efforts and make further environmental investments.
I would also like to see Edmonton limit and eliminate storm water outfalls that feed directly into the river, particularly in the west (upstream) end of the city. Besides being more environmentally responsible, eliminating these outfalls would make the river cleaner and safer. In a recent blog, I discuss that Edmonton should try to preserve and build on the Accidental Beach/Edmonton Beach/Cloverdale Beach, and provide more and varied water interaction experiences along the river in central Edmonton. Enhanced water quality, besides being environmentally responsible, would support such development.
And finally, I would support district heating projects, including smaller scale geothermal district developments. If we can migrate large communities of structures to district heating (which balances cycles of demands and consumption), and at the same time, migrate away from hydrocarbon combustion to geothermal heating, we can realize real environmental gains.
How will you strengthen Edmonton’s local economy and support our city’s independent, locally-owned businesses?
The city, as a corporate entity, cannot “create” employment or strengthen the local economy. But what the city can do, within its areas of direct responsibility, is create an environment where business can thrive.
We need to reduce bureaucracy and “red tape” for the various approvals and permits that businesses require from the city.
We need to reduce the amount of regulation that governs the operation of small business. Be more open to businesses that take a unique approach to providing a good or service.
The city of Edmonton should not compete with business. The city should not be involved in work that can be provided by third party independent businesses. For instance, I do not believe Edmonton should be involved in development of Blatchford, or potentially in the redevelopment of the Northlands property.
Edmonton should try to find ways to procure goods and services that favor locally owned small businesses. We need to ensure that we are not favoring larger companies out of a misplaced fear that smaller companies cannot deliver, or may disappear the moment a challenge arises.
At the same time, we need to be careful; we want our locally owned business to be able to compete in other markets while making Edmonton home. If we want access to other markets, we have to be careful in how we limit access to ours.
How will you make this a more inclusive city and support Edmonton’s marginalized communities?
While I believe that Edmonton is – generally – uniquely inclusive and welcoming, there is no doubt that we do have our marginalized citizens or those who represent a minority.
There is not a “one size fits all” to address each person or group’s particular circumstances, so I believe that a multi-pronged approach will be required.
Firstly, I would try to demonstrate with my own actions and behaviour, a welcoming and inclusive approach to all persons and communities.
Second, there is more that can be done to include marginalized and minority citizens in decision-making that impacts their lives and I would advocate for a way to bring representative members of marginalized or minority communities to the table.
Specifically, I am a supporter of Edmonton’s efforts to eliminate poverty and homelessness. A significant determinant for these communities is access to supportive and affordable housing. Edmonton should continue to invest in these housing alternatives, but I want to see it done in a more effective way. I am not a believer in supportive / affordable “buildings” or developments or facilities unless necessary for those with complex needs. I have concerns that this approach can lead to “ghettoof these communities, which I think ultimately can cause more harm than good, particularly with the stigma attached to those who live there. I would prefer a model where the money follows the person, so that when and if that person becomes (more) self-sustaining, they are not forced to leave a community where they have established a support network.
How can our readers learn more about your platform, contact you with questions or concerns, or get involved in your campaign?
timcartmell.ca is a great place to start for more information about me and my platform! I’m also available on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. My team and I welcome all inquiries and volunteers. The website has forms to submit for questions, volunteering, etc or please feel free to call 780-937-4TIM (4846) to chat directly. We look forward to hearing from you and if you’ve read this far, thank you for your time!