Answers to VoteCalgary Questionnaire
You are one of almost 1.1 million people who call Calgary home. What attracts you to Calgary in general and to your neighbourhood specifically?
Calgary is great because people can choose when, where, and how they want to live. Whether you want an outdoor lifestyle, a place in the heart of the city or a family home with room for the kids to run round in, you will find it in Calgary. It is this choice combined with access to arts, green space and recreation facilities, and a strong sense of community that makes Ward 12 and this City great. It was that same sense of community that brought Calgarians together during the June 2013 Flood. I was very humbled at the willingness, selflessness, and efficacy in which Calgarians came together to support one another.
Calgary is one of the fastest growing cities in North America. What do you consider to be the key challenges presented by rapid growth in Calgary and region?
Sustainable growth — Produce sustainable plans for new communities and provide incentives that encourage developers to implement smart growth tactics. This includes high quality public transit, walking and cycling, employment centres and a greater mix of housing options. In doing so, this will provide residents with greater access to economic and social opportunities. In saying this, I do not support the use of social engineering to create higher densities in the inner city. What makes Calgary great is the lifestyle choice between different housing options.
Transportation and Accessibility — Providing Southeast Calgary with a reliable, speedy and comfortable mode of public transit is Calgary’s number one priority. This would benefit not only Ward 12, but all of Calgary. The benefits of improving transit include increased employment opportunities, reduced congestion and travel times, and less strain on city infrastructure in and around the downtown core. To do this, we need to improve accessibility and switch from our current transit service model that primarily connects outlying suburbs with downtown to a model that gives Calgarians the opportunity to travel to and from all quadrants of the city.
Municipal spending and debt has emerged as a key issue in this election. What steps would you propose to tackle this issue?
Continue to find ways to ensure the right balance between keeping taxes as low as possible while continuing to provide essential services. As Ward 12 Alderman I can proudly say that many of my Notices of Motion promoted a fiscally responsible vision. I often asked the question–Is there a better way to spend taxpayer money? For example, the City of Calgary maintains a vast inventory of land and building assets. I put forth a Notice of Motion to cut red tape and administrative overhead by making it easier for administrators to manage these assets. This includes the creation of an accessible database that would allow the City to evaluate properties and determine whether each property is being used in the most efficient manner possible. The saved revenue from creating this database could be used toward projects that may otherwise be delayed or go unfunded.
The Municipal Development Plan sets out substantial densification targets. What are your views on meetings this targets?
I think it is important to promote density development, but not at the detriment of consumer choice. Calgary is Alberta’s largest city and in recent years has experienced rapidly growing population and infrastructure. Much of this development has occurred in suburban neighbourhoods. I think it is important the city and developers meet the minimum intensity thresholds as identified in MDP. Newer projects are increasingly incorporating varied housing types and higher densities. For example, Mahogany was planned and built before the MDP, yet it has met and in many cases exceeded its core measures that serve as proxies for sustainable social, environmental and economic growth. The result—Mahogany has won Calgary’s Community of the Year two years running.