Questions provided by Nolan Crouse (edited by T8N)
T8N: If you were to change one thing specific to the City of St. Albert itself, what would that be? And if you were to change one thing within the community itself, what would that be?
SS: Our City’s slogan, Cultivate Life represents for me, the nurturing and healthy growth of the community, rooted in a secure and stable environment. This is my guiding principle.
T8N: What will be the first item that you plan to bring forward for council debate immediately after the election?
T8N: What governance or policy change that council operates under today needs to be changed immediately?
SS: There is a need in Council to honour and respect human dignity. It has degraded to the point where we need to have an ‘Integrity Review Board’. This does not speak well for those in the highest office of the City. Lately, we have witnessed a disregard for Municipal Procedural Law, regarding changing of the Capital Projects Plebiscite questions. That was disrespectful and betrays the citizen’s trust.
Questions provided by David Climenhaga (edited by T8N)
T8N: Never mind the question of a branch library or the location of services. What is your view of the long-term viability of library services in our community? Are you prepared to continue funding library services at a level that permits continuation of present levels of service while accounting for increases in population?
SS: Many of the library services do not necessarily fall under the business of ‘Library’. We need to see better accountability of actual library services, without including programs that should to be conducted elsewhere; e.g. Community Halls, Schools, etc.
That being said, I support and fully encourage authentic Library Services, as necessary.
T8N: Alberta law requires a legal separation between city Councillors and city employees: Employees report to the city manager; the city manager reports to council. What is your view of the proper working relationship between front-line employees and city Councillors?
SS: We must stick to the Alberta Law. However, the City Manager must also respect and honour Council’s authority in all aspects of governance. The City Manager is fully accountable to Council. In the past, we have seen several violations which have caused chaos. Thankfully, that manager was dismissed from the City’s employ.
T8N: What can and should be done to ensure the continued viability of St. Albert’s downtown Perron Street District?
SS: Downtown Perron Street should be the responsibility of the business community – not the City’s. Yes, the City needs to encourage and support where it can, but it is primarily a business sector’s responsibility.
I will like to see some smart entrepreneur with a clear vision as to how we can revive our downtown. Remember Walt Disney? He converted a swamp into the world’s leading family entertainment destination.
T8N: Never mind the sequencing of traffic lights on St. Albert Trail. Where do you stand on the calls by some residents for a 40 kilometre-per-hour speed limit in residential neighbourhoods?
SS: Until we have professional planning to address several of our poorly designed roadway systems, the problems we have will only escalate. We cannot do patch-work fixes and hope for the best. A 40 kilometre per hour limit I believe is an expressed frustration (and rightfully so), of spillovers from congested main roads into quiet neighbourhoods. There is a valid fear of residents that the increased traffic into their neighbourhoods elevates the risk of tragic injuries and accidents. They also express the hope that a 40 km per hour would act as a deterrent for motorists in diverting into neighbourhoods away from the main roads.
I will support the move to 40 km in neighbourhoods where it is certainly a valid concern – but not a uniform change throughout the city. But more importantly…let’s solve the congestion problems. Pardon the pun. Roadway solutions require concrete action.
T8N: There are many savings and benefits that could be realized by being part of a regional transit system. Are you prepared to work toward the participation or inclusion of St. Albert Transit in a regional transit system?
T8N: What is your position on the extension of a regionally financed LRT system from downtown Edmonton to St. Albert?
SS: Nonsense. Unless we see Edmonton building their LRT towards our border, with a firm commitment, only then can we even consider it. We just wasted $500,000.00 on a study that could have been discerned by simple common sense. If we need an LRT in 20 years’ time, I am very sure technology would have evolved to such a point which would render current designs and needs obsolete.
This is yet another case of poor money management and unprofessional planning.
T8N: There are many savings and benefits that could be realized by being part of a regional policing system. Are you prepared to work toward the creation of a Capital Region Police Force in which St. Albert would participate?
SS: We are large enough and should be smart enough to look after our own community.
T8N: As St. Albert grows, it is coming under pressure for increased recreation facilities, including additional ice sheets and swimming pools. Would you as councillor be prepared to work to create joint public projects for the development of recreational facilities involving any or all of the County of Parkland, Town of Morinville, County of Sturgeon and City of Edmonton?
SS: Yes, I will consider this; but only with proper consultation and feedback from all affected parties.
T8N: St. Albert citizens complain constantly about the cost of operating a city the size of St. Albert, including the costs of duplication of services and the heavy reliance of the municipal tax base on residential properties instead of businesses. If substantial tax savings for residents could be shown, are there circumstances in which you would agree to or support amalgamation of St. Albert with the city of Edmonton?
SS: DEFINITELY NOT. We have the highest taxes in Alberta and at the same time we seem to waste the most money in Alberta. We also have the highest paid civil servants in NORTH AMERICA! We are at about the 97 percentile. Furthermore, our Utilities are ridiculously high and is in fact another hidden tax.
We bring our operating costs down by accountable money management, starting with a revised method of budgeting as follows:
T8N: Parking at St. Albert Place and in the downtown district continues to be a problem for the city. What is your preferred solution to this situation: Leave it alone? Build a parkade? Paid street parking? Other?
SS: Other. I noticed that there is now paid parking in the old Grandin Mall area. This is causing a genuine turmoil in even worse parking availability. The Curling Rink patrons are suffering to no end.
We need to have a discussion on the current shortage. Not acceptable.
T8N: What is your vision for St. Albert’s role in the Capital Regional District?
SS: Let’s make sure we look after St. Albert first. We cannot have any power-plays against us.
Questions provided by Tim Osborne (edited by T8N)
T8N: What do you believe is the role of a councilor?
SS: The City’s website and the Municipal Government Act clearly defines that role. We obviously need to follow those guidelines and “job-description”.
T8N: How would you address the balance between doing what may be in the best interest of the community despite the act being unpopular?
SS: Being unpopular is not a concern. I am not running for brownie points. I will always follow and act in the best interest of the common good of the community.
T8N: Is there a role for third party or anonymous advertising / communication in municipal elections? Explain. We live in a democracy that needs to be respected and
SS: We live in a democracy that needs to be respected and honored without falsehoods and bias media.
I have been a target of anonymous attacks that were false. Not nice. Truth should not suffer and should always be represented without slander. The news-media holds a particular responsibility in this regard.
T8N: What is your vision for increasing the housing options in our community?
SS: Private business initiatives, housing societies, other service organizations and more affordable housing options, non-intrusion into established neighbourhoods by changing zoning codes, etc.
T8N Magazine Questions
T8N: What would be your reasons for / against switching to a ward system in St.Albert?
SS: Not needed
T8N: Are there any actions / directives / projects undertaken by the previous council that you would like to stop / undo / dramatically change? Why?
SS: Lots! But I have reached the time limit set by T8N magazine to respond fully.
For the other candidate’s responses, click below:
Sandyne Beach-McCutcheon http://www.t8nmagazine.com/sandyne-survey/
Nester Andrew Petriw http://www.t8nmagazine.com/nester-questionnaire/