PALLISER BAYVIEW PUMPHILL COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION (PBPCA)

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PBP Community: Questions for the Candidates

The Palliser Bayview Pumphill Community Association wants to know our Ward 11 Candidates better. We compiled a list of questions for our Candidates and feel these responses will help our Community Members better understand their position on Civic Matters in our city.  Thank you to Ward 11 Candidates Lauren Herschel, Rob Ward, Devin Defraine and Kourtney Branagan for taking the time to answer these questions. We hope this helps provide clarity for our community members come election day.

Lauren Herschel

1. What are you going to do as a Councillor to keep or attract young people to Calgary?

I think Calgary’s youth have a number of concerns. They are seeing Calgary as having an identity crisis – on the one hand we promote and aspire to being innovative and entrepreneurial, but I’ve heard that many believe we are too conservative as a city and do not care enough about people. I believe some do not see Calgary as a place of opportunities, with the things they value most. While it is natural for some youth to want to leave and experience new places, we need to make sure we have job opportunities, and other desirable traits found in other large cities. As a councillor I would create a working group to really get an understanding of what youth see as a solution.

2. What in your opinion is the Role of a Councillor and what are your thoughts on term limits?

I support term limits, ideally 3 terms max which is typical for many board /governance positions. I think the role of a councillor is to ensure that all the residents and businesses of Ward 11 have a voice in both community and City matters. It is also the role of the councillor to ensure that residents have transparent information on projects and initiatives that affect the ward. I also believe a councillor’s role is to help steward the funds and resources the city has to ensure they are being managed and used in the most effective and efficient ways while delivering the services we need.

3. What is your approach to Multiple-Community Local Area Plans?

I think multi-community local area plans are key given the shared infrastructure like roads, water resources and other amenities. Our communities are aging, and we need to balance growth and redevelopment with life cycle updates our neighbourhoods require. I think to be successful, we need to make sure as many residents can participate in as much of the planning as possible and bring back confidence in our engagement process.  This likely means changing that process as it isn’t working well for any stakeholder right now. Bottom line, we need to have strong communities that retain the things residents value most, while improving 

4. At this time, the city has lost a major source of income from downtown property taxes. So far individual and small business property taxes have borne the brunt of the shifting tax burden. What are the programs or services you would protect or eliminate in balancing the budget?

I think to address this issue, we need to work with the provincial government to reform the residential and commercial property tax programs so that they are a sustainable source of City operating cost funding, while not placing an unreasonable burden on homeowners and businesses. I believe there are still efficiencies to be found in certain service areas as well. I also believe it is important that we Review City financial processes to ensure funds are being accurately tracked and managed across all departments. Last year it was discovered that $60 million in funds had been misallocated for more than a decade unnoticed – it is important we determine if that was an isolated incident or if there are other issues with financial management. I think we need to maintain services that protect and help the most vulnerable.

Rob Ward

1.What are you going to do as a Councillor to keep or attract young people to Calgary?

Our city is currently suffering, no doubt, but there is potential for our city to flourish again. It starts at the grassroots level, and a key is supporting local businesses who hire our young people, pay into our tax base, and fund local causes. I would work to lower the tax burden on businesses and eliminate inefficient red-tape for business start-up procedures – all with a goal to encourage and support the next generation of entrepreneurs here in Calgary.

2.What in your opinion is the Role of a Councillor and what are your thoughts on term limits?

A councillor’s job is to listen to the residents of their Ward and work with them. I think we need to flip the narrative from a top-down approach from City Hall, to one where our elected officials work for the citizens of their Ward and city. I am not affiliated with any political parties, unions, special interest groups, or other candidates – I work for the people of Ward 11. I believe in a maximum of 3 terms so we can see fresh ideas and perspectives regularly on Council balanced by enough time/opportunity to see plans/ideas through.

3.What is your approach to Multiple-Community Local Area Plans?

Every community in our city is unique, and I love that. When people make the biggest purchasing decision of their life (a home), they choose the community because they like what it offers. It’s incredibly irresponsible of Council to dictate how a community should change without consultation and approval from the people who live there. We need to work with residents to ensure that their voice is heard, and the community is accepting of changes being made. That is how you build a strong community.

4.At this time, the city has lost a major source of income from downtown property taxes. So far individual and small business property taxes have borne the brunt of the shifting tax burden. What are the programs or services you would protect or eliminate in balancing the budget?

I think it comes down to a needed culture change at City Hall. There are certainly efficiencies to be found, and we need to focus on essential services – police, fire, EMS, snow clearing, pothole repair and general safety. Let’s nail these essentials first before spending on the ‘nice to haves.’ Rather than encouraging a ‘spend it or lose it’ philosophy in regard to budgets at City Hall, we need to encourage saving money and rewarding innovative thinkers for doing so.

Devin Defraine

1. What are you going to do as a Councillor to keep or attract young people to Calgary?

Promote solutions that create a competitive business environment. Fiscal responsibility will help reduce the tax burden on businesses, while establishing favourable regulation will attract business investment. Consequently, greater numbers and types of businesses will consider Calgary, which results in more jobs and opportunities to both maintain and attract younger talent.

2. What in your opinion is the Role of a Councillor and what are your thoughts on term limits?

The primary function of a Councillor is to act as a conduit for the wishes of the electors. The Councillor must listen to those he or she represents and ensure that the Councillor is acting objectively when making decisions. Term limits could lead to complacency in a final term or prevent the democratic re-election of a favourable Councillor, such as Jeromy Farkas. As such, I prefer recall legislation, as it gives the grassroots the option of removing a non-performing Councillor at any time, which prevents complacency.

3. What is your approach to Multiple-Community Local Area Plans?

Thorough consultation is a necessity, as we have heard the fallout when community members are ignored. We need to engage with the community associations, organize townhalls, send surveys to residents and, most importantly, incorporate the feedback received into these plans. We must avoid rushing plans through the process and realize that consultation takes time and should reflect the wishes of the communities at large prior to moving forward.

4. At this time, the city has lost a major source of income from downtown property taxes. So far individual and small business property taxes have borne the brunt of the shifting tax burden. What are the programs or services you would protect or eliminate in balancing the budget?

I have heard from Ward 11 that the Calgary Police Service and the Calgary Fire Department should not endure further budget cuts and I would protect these services. To avoid the elimination of other services, I would recommend looking for efficiencies within these departments to balance the budget. This could include streamlining management structures, eliminating jurisdictional creep, introducing hybridized structures that include public and private components and/or introducing a defined contribution pension plan for new City of Calgary employees moving forward to transition from the capital-intensive defined benefit plan currently in place.

Kourtney Branagan

1. What are you going to do as a Councillor to keep or attract young people to Calgary?

Young Calgarians have a valuable perspective in shaping the future of Calgary with differing priorities and perspectives on transit, housing needs, climate resilience, and recreational and cultural offerings. We have seen major shifts and changes to cost of living and availability of affordable housing compared to wages as well as security of employment, ie. contracting or entrepreneurship vs permanent positions. Young Calgarians need a city that acknowledges these factors as both opportunities and challenges; inviting younger voices to be part of city committees and working groups, collaborating with post-secondary institutions around economic development, and planning our city for the shift in need around housing, transportation options, and value on climate mitigation must be considered as we look to attract and retain youth. Supporting youth through entrepreneurship training, job seeking skills, and working with businesses to develop and nurture talent are all strategies that the City could support and foster in our economic environment. We also need to look at our cultural and social priorities moving forward as a city, and work towards matching the movements coming from our youth around being anti-racist, climate resilient, and supportive of practices that support marginalized groups from LGBTQ to physical and mental disabilities.

2. What in your opinion is the Role of a Councillor and what are your thoughts on term limits?

I believe that a councillor has three main roles. First is being a voice between the community and the City. This means sharing information on City initiatives to community members and organizations including programming, grants, and ways to engage on current issues. It also means taking the voices of community members to administration to devise solutions for problems. The second role is working with other councillors and administration to devise and act upon policy to support and create opportunities for improvement around processes, services, amenities, and communication with citizens. Third is to drive economic development, attraction, and support - in particular for local businesses. This may come by way of process improvements, implementation of programs to co-market local businesses, and exploring local procurement of goods and services from Calgary companies.

3. What is your approach to Multiple-Community Local Area Plans?

My goal is for my office, both staff and myself, to be involved in the creation of local area plans including early and ongoing communication to residents and community organizations about the process. I recognize that the process of developing plans will evolve over time and that each set of communities will need a differing degree of engagement based on their unique characteristics, assets, and demographics. Within local area plans there must be room for unique community identity centred around green spaces, amenities, and proximity to factors such as local shopping, libraries, transit, schools, playgrounds, and outdoor and indoor recreation centres. My hope is that communities and local area plans can focus on their key assets and build from these strengths as we move our communities and city forward to maximize the delivery of city services.

4. At this time, the city has lost a major source of income from downtown property taxes. So far individual and small business property taxes have borne the brunt of the shifting tax burden. What are the programs or services you would protect or eliminate in balancing the budget?

The city provides core services that Calgarians across socio-economic and demographic factors rely upon - transit, libraries, emergency services, snow removal, and recreation. These need to be protected. I believe our goal should always be to deliver the best of these services for our tax dollars spent in comparison to other similar cities. I believe we can review how we service and maintain our roadways and boulevards in the summer months, reviewing our mowing schedule especially along major routes. I would also like to see us move towards perennial and native plantings versus annuals in our parks to reduce the need for water use and year over year planting. I also believe that deferred maintenance is costing us more in the long run, either financially with rising costs and additional problems, or the cost of losing neighbourhood facilities altogether, eroding community cha




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