Ben Henderson
Personal message from Ben

Usually sitting down to face re-election the only question that a candidate needs to answer for themselves is if I run again, what next do I hope to achieve? Can I still be of service? This time out there was an equally hard question that I also had to answer. With the splitting of the Ward in two as we go from a six ward two Councillor per ward system to a one Councillor per ward 12 ward system, which half of the ward can I best serve as we move forward?

The answer to the first question was obvious to me. I am very proud of much of the work that Council has done in the past term. In my last campaign I called loudly for the need for Council to plan for the long term, articulate its vision, and follow up with the work that could flesh out that vision. The planning envisioning work in large part has been done. Now the real challenge is committing and following though on the choices that will get us there. It is one thing to state lofty goals, we must now follow through with the hard choices that can see those goals realized in the decades to come. I am determined to make sure we do not waver in the choices that I feel will be critical for this City: creating a more compact, sustainable and urban City, one based in strong and vital neighbourhoods linked primarily by an efficient, convenient and affordable public transit system as well as a bicycle network and conveniently walkable communities. I believe we must continue to enhance the quality of life in this City because a City that can attract and retain its citizens is a City that will flourish in the next half century. All of this means there will be change and change can sometimes appear frightening. But I believe in the end this change will leave us better and stronger and we must have a Council that has the courage to take us there. I feel I can play a vital role in keeping us on that path.

The second choice was much harder. The thought of giving up either half of the ward I have come to love was not an easy one. In the end though the answer came from the roots of why I ran for Council to begin with.  Most of the impetus that took me to Council was rooted in the work I had done through the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues, largely in defense of our mature communities. If we are committed to curbing urban sprawl and encouraging more people to live in our city’s heart, the pressures for change on our mature communities, particularly those in the new Ward 8 are only going to increase. My fear has always been that if we do infill as carelessly as we have done sprawl that we will be no further forward. We must continue to build on the very quality that makes our mature neighbourhoods special, namely their strengths as communities. First and foremost that strength must be protected. And that means change must be handled with great care and with the support and vision of the communities that are being called upon to evolve. These are the critical issues of the City as we move forward, and these are the issues that will increasingly be faced by the mature south side communities of Ward 8. Protecting what makes them special is where my heart is and where I feel I can be the most service.

For all of these reasons I hope you will give me the opportunity to return to City Hall and serve you for another three years. For me the past three years have been an honour. With your continued support I look forward to another three years of the hard work that will be needed to keep us moving forward.

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