Q1 Food: Food is one of our most fundamental basic needs, but not everyone in Saskatoon has access to fresh, affordable food. The Saskatoon Poverty Reduction Partnership’s 12 Bold Ideas to Eliminate Poverty states that making food more affordable includes a combination of reducing food costs, ensuring people have more income to buy food, and ensuring everyone has access to healthy food choices. Building food assets (e.g., emergency food assistance, meal programs, gardening and farming, grocery markets/stores, community supports and education programs) in every Saskatoon neighbourhood would improve access to healthy food, reduce social isolation, drive local economic development, and address food insecurity. What initiatives and policy options will you champion or support to ensure every neighbourhood in Saskatoon has access to healthy and affordable food?
I will work to ensure the economic viability of all communities and families. Healthy families equals healthy neighborhoods. Proper daily nutrition is the foundation of families and children. I will work with groups as mentioned above to find solutions to challenges.
Q2 Arts and Culture: A new central library is an investment that will benefit all members of the Saskatoon community for years to come. The new central library build will generate jobs and economic growth. This will be especially important as we recover from the financial fallout of COVID-19. The total project budget has not changed since it was approved and is $134 million. Since 2009 there have been scheduled incremental increases to the library levy to build the capital reserves for the project. Future increases are scheduled to be $645,000 in the years 2021-2024; and $200,000 in 2025 and 2026. The average homeowner will see increases of less than $5 per year in 2021-2024, and less than $1.60 per year in 2025 and 2026. This schedule fully funds the new central library project, including debt repayment and increases to operating costs once the library is open, which means there are no additional increases related to the new central library project beyond 2026. Do you support the building of a library for downtown Saskatoon, as committed to the current City Council?
As I understand the process, this issue has already been decided by the last city council. I would have preferred an investment in suburban libraries as apposed to one large building downtown. I am committed to libraries and literacy. Education is the path to a healthy and vibrant community. A question that I would have asked would have been; would a suburban sized facility meet the needs of the population in the area?
Q3 Arts and Culture: Our built and natural environments provide a framework for our urban living. Our buildings and spaces contribute to a unique sense of place and help tell the story of Saskatoon. Our heritage buildings and structures remind us of our history and provide much richness to our surroundings. They are appreciated by residents and play an important role in attracting visitors to our city. If elected, will you champion support for our built heritage?
As a student of history, including my USask degree, our history communicates important lessons and virtues that our present and future generations need to be aware of.
Q4 Food: Food sovereignty is defined as “the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.” Indigenous food sovereignty refers to a specific policy approach to addressing the underlying issues impacting Indigenous peoples and their ability to respond to their own needs for healthy, culturally adapted Indigenous foods. How can the City of Saskatoon contribute to Indigenous food sovereignty?
Work with, and in partnership with our Indigenous community to overcome challenges to healthy and culturally adapted foods. Research best practices to ensure cutting edge solutions and be sensitive to cultural history and needs.
Q5 Urban Planning: One of the goals of Saskatoon’s Strategic Plan (2013-2023) is “Sustainable Growth.” This includes planning for a healthy balance of greenfield and infill development – to grow the city inward and upward as well as outward. Responsible and strategic neighborhood infill would include consulting with the vulnerable populations affected, protecting existing affordable housing and heritage sites, and taking steps to limit sprawl and disparity in living conditions in new neighborhood developments. Do you support providing affordable housing to people living in core neighborhoods to minimize the social and economic displacement that could result from significant increases in infill development?
Q6 Urban Planning: Mandatory parking requirements have been shown to increase construction costs and decrease affordability of housing. Some cities — including Edmonton — have done away with parking minimums, to allow the market to decide how much parking to build. Do you support Saskatoon allowing the market to decide how much parking to include with new developments?
As part of the Urban Planning issue we need to maintain a process for growth that takes into account both cost and function. A free for all helps no one. We don’t want to build the cheapest only to have problems years later. We need to ensure that our planning process enhances community growth and sustainability. We must also balance the economic viability of those willing to invest in such developments.
Q7 Urban Planning: The Meewasin Trail is one of Saskatoon’s outdoor recreation treasures, used daily by city residents and visitors for strolling, running, and cycling. Winding under bridges and linking parks and natural areas along both sides of the river, it runs more than 90 kms in length. If elected, will you support the Meewasin trail development plans currently in progress and look for ways to continue to sustain the trail network in Saskatoon?
Q8 Urban Planning: Many Saskatoon neighbourhoods now have speed bumps on residential streets to slow drivers and reduce vehicle noise. Do you support the further expansion of speed bumps as a way to manage the negative effects of car traffic in Saskatoon?
This “yes” response is based upon the style of speed bumps. Many new areas have gradual speed bumps that remind people to slow down without jarring vehicles and passengers. Other styles do damage to vehicles. Any use of speed bumps has to be based on independent research of specific locations.
Q9 Public Transportation: Saskatoon has invested significant resources in the development of a Bus Rapid Transit system as part of the City’s Growth Plan (2016). Planning is well underway for a high-frequency, direct bus service along the city’s major corridors and construction is scheduled to begin in 2022. The full system is expected to be in operation by June of 2025. Are you committed to maintaining the timeline to meet the 2025 completion date for the Bus Rapid Transit system?
The investment at this time for a population not yet 300,000 is excessive. With railways running through the city holding traffic up for significant periods of time is certainly a challenge for a “rapid” bus transit system. My understanding is that 4% of our population utilizes the bus system now. My question during these challenging economic times is is this a priority right now based upon our economic situation federally, provincially and to our community. I think transit is an essential service. I don’t believe that the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars for a bus rapid transit project is at this time.
Q10 Public Transportation: Other enhancements to Saskatoon Transit have been discussed that would make bus service more affordable, accessible, and reliable, while still minimizing greenhouse gas emissions. They include, for example, changes to the fare system, better connectivity, provisions for the poor and disabled, and improved communications. What are your priorities in further enhancing Saskatoon Transit to meet the needs of all people in Saskatoon?
My “Back to Basics” platform includes transportation as a essential pillar of civic functions. Saskatoon Transit as stated before is an essential service. I am open to ensuring the most effective and efficient transit service to meet the needs of this community. I would ensure as your representative that Transit solutions are based upon best practices and research to meet the needs both operationally and fiscally.
Q1 Equity: Many youth in our city have limited access to safe, healthy activities after school and in the evening. Within Saskatoon’s marginalized populations, many parents or guardians are either working or not present. This can leave youth at risk of engaging in unhealthy behaviours such as drug use or gang activity. If elected, what will you do to ensure that these young people have access to safe, healthy activities/programs after school and in the evening?
Work with and support the local community associations. The community associations are one of the most valuable sources of community action and feedback. Local people helping local people is the foundation of a sustainable and healthy community. Start a volunteer leadership program of engaged positive community members. After school sport programs and mentorship programs are but a few ideas. There needs to be a community safety action plan with a all partners at the table. We need to start measuring results and less on measuring activity on these important conversations. Start measuring key performance indicators in a timely manner.
Q2 Equity: The largest population increase in Canada and Saskatchewan over the next 30 years will be in the over age 65 age group. In that time span it is estimated that this group will grow to comprise 25% of the country’s population. In Saskatoon the over 65 population now stands at just over 13% of our population. By 2032, that figure is expected to grow to 20%. The city and province need to begin acting now to ensure we are prepared to support and include this new demographic of older adults who want to be active participants in community development and enriched community engagement and inclusion. An age-friendly community is a designation accepted world-wide for cities and communities that are working to make the following elements more age friendly: outdoor spaces and buildings; transportation; housing; respect and social inclusion; civic participation and employment; communication and information; social participation; and, community and health services. Would you support applying an age-friendly lens to all new policies and practices in Saskatoon to ensure the voices and needs of older adults are represented?
I support recognition and respect of all demographics of Saskatoon.
Q3 Environment: Urban forests across Canada and globally are recognized as a municipal asset and part of a city’s infrastructure because of the ecological benefits they confer. Many cities have bylaws in place to protect trees. However, Saskatoon still does not have such a bylaw. As a result, trees are often removed without consideration for the long-term impact and in the absence of scientific evidence on good urban tree management. Do you support creating a tree protection bylaw for our city?
Based upon best practices and bench-marking with other municipalities as to meet the needs of both individuals property rights and the viability of this asset.
Q4 Environment: Urban forests across Canada and globally are recognized as a municipal asset and part of a city’s infrastructure because of the ecological benefits they confer. Many cities have bylaws in place to protect trees. However, Saskatoon still does not have such a bylaw. As a result, trees are often removed without consideration for the long-term impact and in the absence of scientific evidence on good urban tree management. Do you support the development of a long-term strategy for ensuring that protection of trees is part of sustainable planning?
Any additional comments?:
Q5 Environment: There is less than 5% of natural grassland remaining in and around Saskatoon, and only 11-13% remaining in all of Saskatchewan. Every year Saskatchewan loses over 10,000 acres of wetlands and the many ecological benefits these areas provide. For these reasons, Saskatoon’s Northeast and Small Swales are especially valuable, providing habitat, flood protection, carbon sequestration, and recreation for a large area of the city. Their loss would have a negative impact on residents. Many major developments are planned for the northeast sector of Saskatoon, including a major provincial highway, industrial development, and new neighbourhoods surrounding the Swales. What measures would you support to ensure long term environmental protection for Saskatoon’s Northeast and Small Swales, and safety for animals and drivers, cyclists and pedestrians?
I would ensure that any development meets the environmental standards of good urban policy and planning. Future development issues must take into account the best interests of our community.
Q6 Active Transportation: Saskatoon has levied above-inflation residential property tax increases for the last several years. A City of Victoria study found that it costs a municipality $0.01 (one cent) in maintenance for every kilometer of a trip on foot compared to $1 (one dollar) in maintenance for every kilometer of a trip taken by car. Do you support increasing investment in active transportation as one strategy for reducing the amount the City of Saskatoon spends on road maintenance costs?
Any active transportation plan must include the number of users utilizing these alternatives including a cost benefit analysis. Saskatoon is heavily reliant on the current and expanding roadway system based upon our climate and the dependence upon our vehicles. A proper balance of alternatives would be my goal to determine investments and plans.
Q7 Active Transportation: The City’s Active Transportation Plan (ATP) released in 2016 set out the following vision: In 2045, Saskatoon is a leading city for active transportation, where walking and cycling are convenient, comfortable, attractive, fun and normal ways of moving around the city year round for residents and visitors of all ages and abilities. The ATP target is to double walking and cycling trips to 24% of all daily trips and 15% of all commute trips by 2045. Ensuring cyclists and pedestrians feel safe will be one of the keys to achieving these goals. Do you support the City of Saskatoon investing in the necessary physical infrastructure to safely separate cycling traffic from both vehicular traffic and pedestrians?
I am impressed with the new developments in Saskatoon that have incorporated as part of the urban development plans the above concept. What I do not support is trying to incorporate these plans into preexisting urban locations that where not designed to have these designs fit the area. I know that this only causes frustration for all users of the present system.
Q8 Health: Access to public washrooms is a fundamental human right. The United Nations General Assembly declared that everyone, without discrimination is entitled to “have physical and affordable access to sanitation, in all spheres of life, that is safe, hygienic, secure, and social and culturally acceptable, and that provides privacy and dignity.” Access to public washrooms affects everyone in the community and is especially critical for seniors, pregnant women, young children, those with certain medical conditions, and those who are homeless. COVID-19 has highlighted the need for more public washrooms in Saskatoon. Relying on private businesses or non-profit organizations to meet the basic needs of our community is inequitable and amplifies discrimination of some people. In 2017 Washington DC passed a bylaw mandating that city to install 10 public standalone washrooms that are open 24/7, and proposed a program to incentivize private businesses to open their washrooms to the public. Do you support Saskatoon passing a similar bylaw, which will ensure 24/7 access to public washrooms?
This would be an issue that would have to be done in consultation with community stakeholders as to the most appropriate locations, design and cost. I would also appreciate the background on any historical challenges to getting this done.
Q9 Climate Change: Urban areas are responsible for around two thirds of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. They are also greatly affected by climate change. Therefore, cities have a critical role to play in mitigating and adapting to global warming. The City of Saskatoon has national and global commitments to address climate change issues, as a member of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and as a signatory to the 2015 Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. The City of Saskatoon Climate Action Plan includes strategies for climate change mitigation (Low Emissions Community Plan, or LEC Plan) and proactively adapting infrastructure, services, and programs (Adaptation Strategy). Although the Low Emissions Community Plan has been approved by City Council and many actions are moving forward, many others have not been progressing as planned. Only 10 out of 25 actions that are to be started in the next 4 years (Phases 1 and 2) have been funded. According to the Saskatoon’s Corporate Risk 2018 Annual Report, the City may not be prepared for the effects of climate change, which represents a medium level risk to the overall corporation. One of the main stalemates for the Low Emissions Community Plan has been ensuring the long-term budgeting, as this plan is a 30-year long strategy. Do you support the city committing long-term funding to implement the Low Emissions Community Plan?
I believe we should be part of the plan regarding a Low Emissions Community Plan. A plan that this community of 300,000 can afford. I am concerned that any plan that includes billions of dollars is not affordable or sustainable by our medium sized city. We need to be part of the national discussion and look at rapidly changing technology in this area. The federal government is signalling a budget based upon a green agenda. How can we take part in these opportunities without bankrupting our community? How can we balance all of the social issues, job growth, healthy families, community safety etc etc and commit to billions of dollars for this expenditure? Lets lead where a medium sized city in Canada can lead. Lets be partners with senior levels of government for a made in Canada plan. Lets look at best practices from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities as to an effective and affordable way forward. Billions of dollars from civic taxpayers is not available right now in the current challenging economy.
Q10 Climate Change: The 40 actions set out in the LEC Plan will provide a host of benefits beyond environmental protection, such as improving public health, diversifying our local economy, improvement, and increasing equity and quality of life. What actions from the Low Emissions Community Plan would you prioritize to be implemented in your Ward or the City as a whole?
I am in favour of the plan as outlined. What I am concerned about is the implementation of such a plan and the direction of mandated compliance. Adding tens of thousands of costs to new construction when communities outside of Saskatoon don’t have this only means a move from Saskatoon to those communities.
As an example recommendation number 19 …”Implement a vehicle pollution pricing program in
high traffic areas”. I have many concerns about mandated carbon taxing at the civic level.
Present technology and alternatives are ever changing. Lets commit to a plan based upon our ability to afford these changes. Lets work with senior levels of government on a national plan of action. Lets be part of the solution. Lets inspire our community to a plan, not mandate, tax and through punitive methods penalize individuals and families to change. Lets remember this communities ability to pay and the other many structural and social challenges that lay before us.