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Modern family recreation and leisure facilities for Ward 8 communities

Modern family recreation and leisure facilities for Ward 8 communities

The city is letting inner city facilities close one by one

Playing basketball and spending hours at the local leisure centre was an important part of my childhood. The time I spent doing physical activity, which we all know can be challenging to do year round in Calgary, helped shape who I am today. Unfortunately, for Ward 8 communities,- we’ve watched our aging inner city recreation facilities like the Eau Claire YMCA, the Beltline Aquatic and Fitness Centre and the Inglewood Aquatic Centre close down. At the same time, the city made nearly half a billion dollars of publicly-funded investment in new world-class facilities in brand-new communities on the far edges of the city. If we want Ward 8 neighbourhoods to continue to be a great place for families, the city needs to reinvest in inner-city amenities.

 

City Climate Action Must Include Everyone

City Climate Action Must Include Everyone

I am proud of Calgary’s history of environmental leadership. But, we have work to do to ensure that City climate action efforts include everyone. If elected, I will fight for ambitious and immediate climate action by the City of Calgary to address the ongoing climate crisis. I will ensure that no one is left behind by City environmental services—even if they live in a condo or apartment.

Council Must Reject Plans to Subsidize 11 More New Communities in 2022

Council Must Reject Plans to Subsidize 11 More New Communities in 2022

Plans to subsidize more new communities would cost taxpayers $23-million annually

In the coming year, Calgary’s next City Council will face a decision on whether or not to approve 11 more new communities. The plans, first presented in 2020, were kicked down the road by the outgoing Council, leaving the decision squarely at the feet of the next Council who will be elected on October 18th. The proposal for 11 new communities on the city’s far reaches would cost Calgary taxpayers an estimated $23-million annually, or a 1.5% tax increase.

 

The proposed 11 new communities on the far-flung edges of Calgary would cost Calgary taxpayers $23-million annually, or a 1.5% tax increase. (Source: CBC)

Reflection, Resolve, and Commitment: Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Reflection, Resolve, and Commitment: Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

For the last 7 years, I have celebrated September 30 as Orange Shirt Day, and this year, it is also the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The creation of this statutory holiday is one important way to publicly honour and commemorate Survivors and all those lost to the hands of the residential school system. Its creation and observation fulfils #80 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: 94 Calls to Action, and is a step on the journey towards reconciliation. However, we are still just at the beginning.

Two-way traffic pilot in Beltline and Sunalta supports businesses and residents

Two-way traffic pilot in Beltline and Sunalta supports businesses and residents

The start of Green Line construction offers the opportunity to pilot two-way streets

Advance construction of the much anticipated Green Line LRT begins in the Beltine this fall, starting with utility relocations. The new LRT will ultimately provide a connection from Calgary’s airport, routing along Centre Street North, over the Bow River and Downtown, and running under 11th Avenue in the Beltline all the way to Southeast Calgary.

While construction will cause some disruption with temporary closures and detours along 11th and 12th Avenues, it offers a unique opportunity to pilot what local businesses and community advocates have long urged: converting 11th and 12th Avenues back to two-way streets.

Community Safety in Ward 8 is Paramount to Calgary’s Recovery

Community Safety in Ward 8 is Paramount to Calgary’s Recovery

Closure of Victoria Park Police Station was short-sighted

In the last twelve years, Calgary Police Service has closed its last remaining police stations in the Beltline and the Downtown Core, making Calgary the only major city in Canada without a permanent “bricks and mortar” downtown police presence. While the decision to consolidate police stations may have been spearheaded as a way to reduce operating costs, it has ultimately proven to be short-sighted and come at the expense of community safety in Ward 8, and Downtown, Calgary’s largest job centre.

COVID-19: The Responsibility Is Ours

COVID-19: The Responsibility Is Ours

All Levels of Government Must Act to Protect Our Citizens from COVID-19

It is a challenging dynamic to be both a leader and to serve. Elected officials must straddle the line between taking the lead on issues, while knowing when to listen before speaking. I have worked as a public servant for years where I balance the demands of taking care of my students while knowing when to consult those with knowledge and experience beyond my own. It always comes down to one thing: Evidence.

 

The evidence is clear on COVID-19 – public health protocols work.

Current as of Sep 13, 2021. This image shows the daily case rates in correlation with public health measures. 

 

Current as of Sep 13, 2021. This image shows the daily case rates in correlation with public health measures. 

 

Public Health Measures and Protocols Save Lives

Let me be very clear on this, there is nothing more important than keeping people alive.

Alberta’s public policy in the last two years failed to stand up to the enormous challenge COVID-19 has presented us. City Councils should not carry the burden of implementing public health measures in the absence of provincial government action. It is not the job of municipalities to fill the void, but it has become our responsibility out of necessity—and we must act now.

There is always the evidence. 

  1. Every time public health measures are enacted, we see drastic decreases in community spread of COVID-19.
  2. On an international level, we know vaccines work to reduce severe outcomes of COVID-19.
  3. Vaccine passports present us with an opportunity to return to some semblance of economic normalcy, while also having a greater incentive on vaccination rates than a lottery or a small monetary incentive.
  4. Public health measures reduce the burden on our healthcare system and our front line workers–who need us now more than ever.
  5. Our kids need to be protected until they can be vaccinated.

 

Businesses Demanding Proof of Vaccination

Our provincial government speaks often about keeping our economy “open for good.” Open for good can only come with the certainty that we are not going to see health measures ebb and flow as measures come in and out. The burden for certainty has rested on individual businesses to protect themselves by implementing their own vaccination rules in the absence of government action. 

Proof of vaccination, or a vaccine passport, would enable all businesses to stay fully open and not be subject to punishing and arbitrary half-measures — like shutting down alcohol sales at 10:00 pm. 

By implementing health measures, we build up trust in each other and our ability to care for one another. Doing so increases the confidence people have in going about their day-to-day lives, trusting that adequate precautions and protocols are in place to allow for businesses to function and our health care system to avoid critical strain. 

This is our responsibility as leaders, as members of society, as neighbours.

 

On Protests Outside of Hospitals

I have stood between students and Anti-Choice protestors, as the latter handed out pamphlets with  graphic images to young students. This was never okay, and it has since been determined to be inappropriate by Bylaw. 

We have long recognized that an individual's right to peaceful assembly can sometimes conflict with our responsibility to protect and care for our most vulnerable. 

Anti-vaccination protests happening outside of hospitals are deplorable. It is embarrassing that even a single person would choose to protest outside of our health care facilities as people in their moment of highest need are forced to deal with the abuse of the ill-intentioned. 

To be clear: I believe in Canadians' right to peaceful assembly. However, the act of obstructing access to a hospital is anything but peaceful. 

While these groups of protestors appear to be extremely loud and vocal, their numbers appear to be relatively small at this point. This pandemic has been upsetting for a wide range of reasons— but protesting hospitals is not the way forward. I urge you all to get vaccinated and do your part in the fight against Covid to keep each other safe. 

Building a Legacy for the Next Generation of Calgarians

Building a Legacy for the Next Generation of Calgarians

I have spent years of my life investing in the next generation. I want to see that investment grow here, in Calgary.

Last year, CBC reported that despite Calgary being “one of the fastest-growing cities in Canada, those aged 20-24 are the only shrinking age group.” But why?

As a high school teacher, I often ask my students what they plan to do after graduation. They say they want to leave the city and head to Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Kelowna, Ottawa, Halifax—the list goes on.

There is already a fight for talent in our country, and I promise you this: The students that leave take with them immense potential and talent that would’ve anchored Calgary’s future in something bold and innovative.

 

Why are our youth leaving?

 

"It's a lot of people who don't really see a future for themselves there," Chloe Loblaw said. 

To be a major city in Canada, and yet have youth who do not see a future for themselves here, is an unacceptable reality. Young people are moving to cities they feel have embraced a diversity of people, thought, and opinion—cities that build vibrant arts and culture scenes, and provide plenty of  education and industry options.   

Young Calgarians may see a life for themselves in many other places, but I am committed to seeing them make that life here.

 

Let’s see our next generation grow in Calgary.

 

Deborah Wong, an organizer with Calgary’s Future said that “[Calgary youth] don't feel like they are being heard or valued by decision makers."

It is only natural that people seek out places to live where they feel heard and valued—it’s a bare minimum, really. So as part of my commitment to Calgary, I asked young people what they want to see for their city so that I know what I need to build as Calgary’s next Ward 8 City Councillor.

Here are some of the responses:

“I want to live in a city that provides opportunities for growth for future generations,” said  Cassidy Osadchuk

“I want to live in a city where artists can thrive” and where they are “proud of their young people for trying to make social change.” said Yaisha Stilwell

I want to live in a rich urban environment that encourages alternative forms of transportation such as walking, biking, and public transit,” said Oscar Dewing.

The numbers have been quantified, and the stories are wide ranging and varied. The only question left is, are we ready to commit to doing the work necessary to support our next generation?

 

My Commitment to Calgary’s Next Generation

 

If we are not thinking two generations, five generations, seven generations ahead, we are doing ourselves a disservice. It all starts with ensuring that we are constantly including young people at the table as we look to let our city evolve.

Here is my commitment:

I will immediately implement a Ward Youth Council that will give young people, almost literally, a seat at the city building table. In collaboration with Calgary’s artistic and creator community, I will consistently advocate for the expansion of Calgary’s arts and culture scene, supporting strategic investments at every opportunity. I will also pursue intentional relationships with Calgary’s post-secondary institutions to make sure that Calgary continues to cultivate innovation right here at home.

Cities are inherited. What was built was left for us. What we now build is what we leave behind for the next generation. That is why I am committed to building a city that we can be proud to leave our children. Our youth know exactly what type of world they would like to inherit and I commit to invite them, engage them, listen to their stories, and empower them to be city builders.

The Future of Richmond Green

The Future of Richmond Green

There are no maybes as a city councillor. We vote yes, or we vote no. The public deserves to know why our elected leaders lean one way or another. On such an issue as the Future of Richmond Green, as I vie to be your next Ward 8 City Councillor, you deserve to know how I would vote. 

After much time spent speaking with the community, the City, and key stakeholders, I would say yes to the proposal to the Future of Richmond Green because it serves the goals of our city socially, economically, and environmentally – but with qualifications. 

Fund our communities: no more public dollars for the Flames

Fund our communities: no more public dollars for the Flames

The Flames were my introduction to Calgary

I moved to Calgary in 2006. One of my earliest memories of Calgary was seeing a sea of red get off the train and pile into the Saddledome. But I wasn’t going to a Flames game. I was heading down to the Red Mile to join the chorus of people who lined every restaurant and bar in sight cheering on our city's team. 

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