The mayoral and city council candidates were asked to reply to four questions that we hope will give voters a better idea on where they stand on some of the most challenging issues of the day.
1. The current city council voted 5-4 to keep Pine Valley. If this matter were to come before council again, how would you vote and why?
1 .I would have voted in favour of keeping Pine Valley. The City owns many pieces of land, and we need to take a hard look every option available to boost our budget; however, the Pine Valley Golf Course was not a good place to start. Pine Valley is a valuable recreation amenity that experiences high usage and great community support. To increase the value of the facility, I would like to explore options to convert it to an urban cross-country ski course during the winter season to maximize its parkland potential.
2. City council voted 8-1 in favour of the Northern Recovery Centre for Women in the former Haldi Road elementary school. How would you have voted and why? (Incumbents: how did you vote and why?)
2. I would have voted in favour. A government's primary job is to protect the most vulnerable members of society. Women suffering from addictions and seeking help are, indeed, some of our most vulnerable citizens. Women especially face great inequalities in our society, and I will fight to improve that. The former Haldi Road elementary may not have been the ideal location for the centre, but it was an affordable option. Ultimately, the proof will be in the pudding. I look forward to hearing feedback on the Haldi Road Centre after it has had a year of operation under its belt.
3. The current city council gave its bargaining committee a target of a net-zero increase to negotiate a new collective agreement with city workers, leading to the first-ever labour disruption by municipal staff. What will be your recommendation when the current collective agreements for city workers expire in 2016 and why?
3. My recommended target for a wage increase for city workers would be in line with the rate of inflation. It's clear that the city faces a tight financial squeeze, and I would not support increases beyond the rate of inflation, but front line workers are not the people to start squeezing. An organization can achieve amazing results and efficiencies if its workers are happy, healthy, and valued. Having a workforce that is treated fairly and is proud to get up every day and serve the city is critical to good public service.
4. Why should residents vote in the Nov. 15 municipal election?
4. If you like what I have to say, you should vote. If you don't like what I have to say, you should vote. If you are not sure what to think, you should vote. How can leaders make clear decisions about the fate of the city every day, if most of the community can't make a clear decision once every four years? We need you. Voting is fun! There is no wrong answer on the ballot. Voting is about YOU more than it is about the candidates you chose. It's about being counted.