Sep 12, 2021
Sep 11, 2021
Sep 05, 2021
I’ve heard from many ward residents about their desire to see their taxes reflected in the services the City provides. Transit, waste removal, road clearing, recreation, water management, road and infrastructure repairs are services that are important to residents of Ward Anirniq.
Privatization isn’t the answer. Simply, corporations get involved in delivering public services to make money and they’re accountable to their shareholders, not to the public. In contrast, public services have quality, accessibility, and effectiveness at the heart of their objectives - not profit.
For example, public services have an obligation to provide services equally to people across different demographics and in all areas of the City. Case studies show that several municipalities across Canada have ended up bringing services back in-house because they could deliver the services for less.
I firmly believe the transfer of ownership from public to private hands will not reduce cost or enhance the quality of services, and in some cases, may actually reduce quality or access to services. I’ve outlined in my platform my goal of ensuring public services create good value by finding efficiencies within City Administration, while being clear on my commitment to keep public services public.
Aug 23, 2021
I’ve heard from residents who are concerned about their cost of living. Residents of our ward pay their fair share and deserve to see their tax dollars at work for them.
One place we can start curbing spending is with consulting contracts. In 2018 and 2019, the city spent about $269 million in consulting services - a 32% increase from previous years. In addition to this, $59 million of that was in contract scope changes alone! I’ve seen first hand the fees the City pays to consultants at anywhere from 3 - 6 times the cost of staff in-house.
I believe we need to take a hard look at contract spending - especially when it comes to unplanned scope changes. We can do this by assessing our processes for contracting services including identifying opportunities to do projects in-house, as well as using a sustainable procurement framework to generate financial, environmental, and social value for every dollar spent. Both these changes can help make sure our money is going further as a City and having a greater impact on the lives and livelihoods of Edmontonians.
Aug 01, 2021
The City has developed a strong Energy Transition strategy, approved by Council in April 2021. Currently, Councillor Walters and Henderson sit on this committee and neither are seeking re-election. So, with a new Council set to take the reins in October, we need champions on Council willing to ensure we reach this goal.
When it comes to climate change, time is up. We’re now discussing climate adaptation and resilience. The decisions made by this next Council are going to be key in shaping not only our future, but the future for generations, including our children.
This chart shows how important the next 5 years really are for reducing emission rates long-term.
I recognize that there are going to be many tensions and trade-offs in the years to come. As a leader, I see the opportunity to create economic, social, and environmental value by achieving the goals set out in this strategy. Edmonton can be a leader in climate action that will attract new investment for generations to come.
Environment is a key focus area of my platform. I will be a champion to get where we need, and set Edmonton up for a strong and sustainable future.
Jul 24, 2021
A key focus of my platform is environment. By introducing sustainable waste management now, we can prevent incurring the kinds of costs we can’t afford in the future. Of all plastic that has ever been produced, over 50% of the worlds plastic has been produced in the last 20 years. And, 40% of what is produced ends up in the garbage within a month of purchase. That's why I support a single-use plastic bylaw, but like most things that matter, we know that the issue isn’t as simple as to may appear.
Single-use plastics would not exist if they weren’t useful. Many Edmontonians with disabilities require bendable plastic straws when they are unable to lift a cup or bottle to drink. Depending on the material they’re made of, reusable straws may also be prone to piercing the mouth for those who have tremors or muscle spasms.
There’s also an issue of cost for lower income communities who may be relying on what is currently quick and affordable. Non-profits, for example, often use single-use plastics when providing food or bottled water to their clients. It becomes important in the conversation to ensure that the bylaw proposed makes steps forward to protect the environment and at the same time doesn't leave our most vulnerable behind.
As your Councillor I will always ask about people that are uniquely affected by a decision or change. How have we addressed or mitigated those impacts? How can we move forward, leaving no one behind?
Jul 18, 2021
Did you know that Edmonton’s Zoning Bylaw is getting a major overhaul for the first time since the 1960s?
The Edmonton Zoning Bylaw is a set of rules that control how things are built, from the tall skyscrapers of downtown to your deck on your property. It applies to all property and land within city limits, yet the rules we’re using to build the city of today (Canada’s 5th largest city), are the same ones that applied to an Edmonton that looked very different.
Some examples where Edmonton residents deal with the zoning bylaw are:
purchasing a house (there is a process that banks/realtors/lawyers do to make sure the property for sale conforms to all development rules),
building an addition, deck, or some other structure on your property
applying for a home-based business
doing a park or playground development or expansion
making a change of use to open up a shop.
The process of navigating these development rules is complicated, hard to understand, and complex. This is the result of the City amending the bylaw in a piecemeal way for decades.
The City of Edmonton is working on a major rewrite of the zoning bylaw to make it more user-friendly, accessible, equitable, and reflective of the realities of our city today and into the future. I had the opportunity to attend a workshop on the new zoning bylaw this past June and see clearly how it will substantially change how our city grows to two million people, as envisioned in the City Plan. For example, there are currently 16 residential zones. The City is proposing to substantially reduce that number to simplify and add more adaptability.
The next Council will play a deciding role in how, what, and why we regulate development within the City of Edmonton for years to come. As a member of City Council, I'll be keeping a close eye on this project to make sure these changes work for the residents of Ward Anirniq and create a city where we move forward, leading together.
For more information on the Zoning Bylaw Renewal click here.
Jul 01, 2021
Since the additional discovery of 751 more children in Saskatchewan, I, like many, have been processing this undeniable truth. It's painful but necessary to not look away. This information is not new. Survivors shared their experiences of trauma of stolen land, residential schools, the 60’s scoop, intergenerational-trauma, and racism through the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Now is a time to continue to work to uncover the truths and process our collective and individual mixed feelings as Canadians. We can both love this nation and be deeply disappointed and upset with how we have gotten to where we are today.
There is a path forward. Let’s look to the communities that have lost children to lead the way to healing. Let’s receive guidance from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action.
This Canada Day, I will be wearing orange and personally stepping back from celebrations. I also reaffirm my commitment to learning and advancing the calls to action.
Jun 28, 2021
On June 25, Edmonton City Council voted to amend the Temporary Mandatory Face Coverings Bylaw in response to the provincial Open for Summer Plan (July 1).
The recommended option (and motion on the floor) was to align with the provincial health regulations. Other alternatives were provided for Council’s consideration as part of the report.
I want to be clear that I would’ve voted “NO” to the motion on the floor. Edmonton was a leader in instating a mask bylaw before the Province and they had the opportunity to continue to be a leader. This was a nuanced decision, but one in which key factors needed to be considered:
- Variants of Concern (e.g., Delta). We know that fully vaccinated individuals have contracted COVID-19 Delta variant right here in Alberta. We have a significant portion of the population that does not have their first or even second dose putting vulnerable groups at heightened risk.
- My background in Social Planning indicates that once measures are removed, they are harder to put back in place. If case counts go back up in the fall, as many are speculating, and the bylaw is reinstated compliance will likely be lower.
- Social disorder. We have now put public health responsibility on individuals and businesses. Many businesses will likely continue the mask requirement in their stores to comply with Occupational Health and Safety regulations (the requirement to create safe working conditions for employees). Individuals will continue to choose to wear masks for their comfort. Given what we have already seen, this will lead to unnecessary confrontations in public spaces.
- The alternatives were fair and balanced in terms of meeting the rights of individuals and public health considerations. For example, one recommendation was reaching the threshold for 50% of the population fully vaccinated which was estimated to occur by early August. Given that even as Council was debating new information from the Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health was coming in, this delay is significant in seeing how the context changes with the Provincial opening.
I also want to highlight that there is a reason Bylaws are required to have three readings in our democratic process. The time for three individual readings allows the public to see the bylaw, register to speak at 2nd or 3rd reading, and send their thoughts to their Council representatives. It also gives Councillors the opportunity to reach out to the people they are meant to represent. While three readings can be given to a Bylaw in a single meeting, on contentious issues such as this, I would have supported the delay of third reading to allow time to hear from residents of ward Anirniq on this important issue.