Ben believes in ...
The building blocks for a strong and sustainable Edmonton
I want to ensure that City Council follows through on its vision.
I am proud of the work that Council has done in the last three years to create a long term vision for this City. The real work however still needs to be done to make that vision a reality. In particular, I believe we need to focus on the following issues:
Community Revitalization and Renewal
The City must find a way to halt urban sprawl and encourage growth instead in the existing neighbourhoods of this city. This includes not only discouraging suburban growth but also ensuring that the growth of our mature neighbourhoods is done in a way that ensures their continued existence as desirable and strong communities.
We must ensure that as our mature communities change they do so in a way that respects their character and enhances what makes them special. This means ensuring that they remain whole communities with all the amenities that this entails. In particular, it is important to understand the vital role that schools play at the heart of communities. All orders of government must collaborate to do a better job protecting these schools.
We must continue our commitment to funding the neighbourhood renewal program that will ensure all community infrastructure is returned to an acceptable condition as quickly as possible. We must continue to fight for up-to-date area development planning for all neighbourhoods under stress to ensure that communities have a meaningful voice in how they change and that development does not happen in an ad hoc manner.
Public Transportation, Bikes and Walkways
We must ensure a continued commitment to completing the LRT system as quickly as possible. Our commitment to public transit also must include a bus system that is efficient, affordable and convenient for the whole city.
We must facilitate and encourage active transit, including cycling and walking. Following through on the goals of the Bicycle Transportation Plan will help us grow into a city where bicycles are a convenient and safe mode of commuting. Our neighbourhoods should be designed with walkability in mind.
Quality of Life
We must support and strengthen those things that make Edmonton a vibrant and modern city: affordable housing, volunteerism, arts, festivals, libraries, parks, sports and recreation. We must take pride in and support our diversity: differences of culture, sexual orientation, generation and ability. It is these very elements that make our city a place where individuals and families want to live, a city that attracts and retains people and business.
Leadership in Environmental Sustainability
This city has the chance and the responsibility to be at the forefront of environmental sustainability. We can reduce our environmental footprint by building a more compact city and limiting urban sprawl. We must enhance environmental sustainability in the areas of water, solid waste, bio-diversity, greenhouse gas emissions, protection of natural areas, preserving our city’s trees and limiting the use of herbicides and pesticides.
We can encourage public sector responsibility. Every citizen is entitled to, and responsible for, clean air, clean water, and proper land use planning.
Crime and Safety
We must continue our renewed commitment to community-based policing. We must also act on the recommendations of the REACH Report that recognize that real changes in crime and safety can only be brought about by an investment that intervenes in support of struggling families and youth.
The City must maintain its commitment to its ten-year plan to end homelessness and in particular the housing first strategy that has proven so effective in other municipalities. As Chair of the province-wide Inter-City Forum on Social Policy, I commit to bringing Edmonton to the table to develop a long-term poverty reduction strategy for our province.