[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?
Infill (its failure in creating affordable houses and bringing young families to the core) in mature neighbourhoods and lack of core services (i.e. transport, recreations) in newer communities are the two biggest challenges – with the overarching theme that the city is NOT listening to its residents.
How will you help Edmonton become a greener / more environmentally friendly city?
I support efforts to curb urban sprawl but advocate a more coordinated, large scale infill effort, spearheaded through non-profit development agency(ies). Working with Province to support energy efficiency initiatives, tax or other incentives for building net-zero homes, or transition to electric vehicles are some of the things I will be happy to advocate for. It’s disturbing that use of public transport has actually been declining in Edmonton the last couple years, despite increasing population. Though it might not appear to be the obvious solution I believe investing in park & ride facilities will encourage more people to at least not drive for longer distances to the core.
How will you strengthen Edmonton’s local economy and support our city’s independent, locally-owned businesses?
I am a strong believer of supporting locally owned, independent businesses. In fact, I made sure that all my campaign materials were printed by a local business in my own Ward. (Ward 10). I figured that’s the best way to lead by example and make sure a local business benefits from my decision to run for office even if I don’t win a seat. This didn’t mean that I blindly accepted quotes from local business. It’s possible to do your homework, get a good deal, and still prioritize local business when we make procurement decisions.
How will you make this a more inclusive city and support Edmonton’s marginalized communities?
I have a specific plan to implement this. One of the major trends that will impact our city’s future is the increasing number of immigrants. In the last 10 years almost 100,000 new immigrants arrived in our city. In about 5 years 1/4th of our city’s population will be foreign born. Canada is generally an exceptionally welcoming country for diverse populations but times have changed and it’s easier for these new immigrants not to fully integrate and embrace those same values that make Canada strong and unique. Similary, it’s easier for prejudices and stereotypes to be fueled through social media and internet. I would like to revise City’s small grant programs for non-profits to tie any form of funding to collaborative projects. e.g . I would love to see a muslim multicultural group collaborate with the Pride Centre, or a different multicultural group collaborate in projects with the homeless shelters. I would love to see initiatives where new immigrants get a chance to learn about residential schools (i.e. children learn at school but their parents never get a chance to learn about Canadian history). There are many things we can do to make our city more exclusive and this will be an area I will work passionately on.
How can our readers learn more about your platform, contact you with questions or concerns, or get involved in your campaign?
My campaign website is www.simsenol.ca. I am not a career politician. In fact I’m a new Canadian running for office in the very first election she’s eligible to vote in. I also have to continue working full time while running my campaign. So, my website is not perfect. However, a lot of my ideas about the future of the city and my platform can be found under the “Tap the Potential” section of my website. I am also more active on social media answering people’s questions, so they can follow me on Twitter or Facebook at @ElectSimWard10. If anyone is interested in putting up signs and helping me in the next few days they can email me at email@example.com