Ward 12 has a combination of old and new developing communities. We must maintain our infrastructure to handle our old and new developing communities. I support infill housing in that it makes use of existing infrastructure. I also support new development like the Meadows Community Recreation Centre & Library that can be taken advantage of by all surrounding communities and keep our children active. However, with the rapid expansion of Ward 12 we now have very congested roads that must be maintained and expanded. One way to lessen the congestion is with the expansion of the LRT into Mill Woods (Valley Line).
As councillor I will make sure that the Valley Line is not only on budget but built within the given timeline. The Valley line will finally give all residents of ward 12 an affordable, quick, and an environmentally friendly option. Hopefully the lessons we have learnt from the delays of the Metro line can be applied to the development of the Valley line. I also feel that city council must be more accountable and transparent, as to the cause of delays of infrastructure projects (Walterdale and Groat Road bridges), rather then finger pointing at city managers and contractors.
We must also feel more secure in our communities. Ward 12 like other Wards has a problem with break and enter, and property theft. This will be a high priority of mine. The only way to decrease the crime rate in ward 12 is by having an increased police presence. We must identify problem areas and increase the police presence. We must be proactive rather then reactive if we want to decrease crime in Ward 12.
As a property owner in Edmonton I am concerned with the increasing property tax rate. The property tax is projected to increase by 4.9% over the next three years. City council is working on a solution to maybe lowering the tax to 3.4%. However, we must hold City Council accountable. How much of our tax money was wasted on adding and removing bike lanes? A city audit this year found that due to questionable circumstances the city waste management department lost over $200,000. Even the cost of operating photo radar is up from the projected $1.3 million/ year to over $10 million/year on average. These are just a few examples. As your councillor I will bring in fiscal restraint and accountability.
I am also not fully convinced that photo radar is lowering the speeding rate in Edmonton and is being used for traffic safety. Studies have shown that photo radar only works when used on a continuous area, which is not the case in Edmonton. In 2002 Sherwood Park scrapped its photo radar program, and didn’t see any significant increase in speed related accidents. An article in the Toronto Sun in 2013 by Simon Kent even stated that “unmanned speed boards were more effective in deterring speeders than radar.” Although it would be hard to find the funding that photo radar provides to the city, we must seriously consider if photo radar is needed in Edmonton.