Who is Ben Henderson?
· As an incumbent City Councillor, Ben is a proven voice for Southside communities.
· As a former VP for the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues, Ben understands the needs of our mature communities.
· With a 25-year career as a theatre company Director, Ben understands the important role culture and community spirit play in enriching our lives.
· As a trained Mediator and Negotiator, Ben knows how to bring people together in addressing complex and challenging issues.
· With his wife Laurie Blakeman, a provincial MLA, and their two dogs and two cats, Ben has lived in Edmonton for 30 years.
His First Term
- In 2007 I argued strongly that the city needed a long-term vision. In my time on Council I am proud to say we have committed to a long-term, 40-year vision for the City. To make this vision a reality, we created a comprehensive ten-year plan, and we passed new municipal development, transportation, and quality of life master plans. Currently, new environmental, city financing, and economic diversity master plans are in development.
- I supported the passing of and funding for the City’s new ten-year bike master plan, offering Edmontonians safer, more convenient commuter bike routes.
- I pushed for accelerated expansion of the LRT, specifically north to NAIT and St. Albert, west to West Edmonton Mall and Lewis Estates and south to Bonnie Doon and Millwoods.
- I fought for the passage of Edmonton’s new walkability plan, which included commitments to building missing sidewalk links and corner ramps, repairing current sidewalk infrastructure, and designing walkable neighbourhoods.
- I was instrumental in passing the new neighbourhood renewal fund that earmarks 2% of taxes in perpetuity into a special fund for the rebuilding of neighbourhood roads, sidewalks, curbs and gutters. As a result, the City has gone from rebuilding just one neighbourhood a year to rebuilding as many as ten.
- I championed the passage of a bylaw that clarifies acceptable levels of sound emitting from loud mufflers on motorcycles. I continue to work to expand this to all vehicles.
- I pushed to include a City of Edmonton Food Security Strategy in the Municipal
- I actively supported Council’s commitment to the new ten-year homelessness plan and housing first strategy.
- I supported Council’s commitment to the REACH Report, Edmonton’s long-term plan to deal with crime and safety issues through proactive engagement with challenged youth and families.
- I spearheaded the City’s new initiative to embrace Edmonton as a leading winter city. In particular, I was instrumental in the creation of the new Winter Light Festival.
- I served on the steering committee that created the Art of Living, a new arts and heritage master plan for the city of Edmonton.
- I worked to bring about a joint school board, city council, and provincial MLA meeting to deal with the issue of schools in older neighbourhoods. The meeting resulted in a commitment to form an intergovernmental joint committee to address this issue.
- I successfully fought for the preservation of the trees along Whyte Avenue.
- I voted against EPCOR’s sale of Capital Power.
- I voted against the sale of Goldbar waste water treatment plant to EPCOR.
- I voted for the phased closure and City redevelopment of City Centre Airport.
Additional Duties taken on behalf of Council:
· Edmonton representative on the Board of FCM (Federation of Canadian Municipalities)
· Chair of the Standing Committee on Social Economic Development for FCM
· Chair of the province-wide Inter-City Forum on Social Policy
· City representative on the Capital Region Waste Minimization Advisory Committee
· FCM representative on the Canadian Reference Group on Social Determinants of Health
· Council representative on the Joint Committee on Stakeholder Involvement in the Planning and Development Process
· Chair of the Contaminated Gas Station Task Force
Prior to serving on City Council:
Ben working in his community
He served as an organizer of the coalition to Keep Drainage Edmonton, as a board member of the Old Strathcona Foundation, and a member of the Sierra Club Smart Growth Civics Committee, as well as an executive member of his community league.
Ben working for Edmonton
He also served as a VP of the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues (EFCL), Chair of the EFCL Planning and Development Committee, a member of the City of Edmonton's Infrastructure Technical Advisory Committee, the Advisory Committee on the Tax Status of Non-Profit Organizations, and the Peer Review Panel for the Tax Status of Non-Profit Organizations, as well as the A Better Edmonton Committee.
Ben working for the arts
He helped to create the Edmonton Arts Council as a member of its original steering committee. He has been an Edmonton Arts Council VP, Chair of the City's Policy Committee for the Community Investment Program, President of the Professional Arts Coalition of Edmonton, and served as a board member for the Edmonton Street Performers Festival.
Ben's professional career
Ben has also been a theatre professional for over 20 years. He was the founding Artistic Director of Nexus Theatre and the Artistic Director of Theatre Network, both in Edmonton. Ben has also built a career as a trained mediator and negotiator whose practice area focuses largely on resolving family and community conflicts. He is currently mediating largely with the Catholic Social Services Family Mediation Program. He was a member of the Alberta Arbitration and Mediation Society and the Mediation and Restorative Justice Centre. He is also a member in good standing of the Canadian Actors Equity Association.