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?
JE: I would change St. Albert Transit to improve efficiency and route structure. I took the bus for five years, and there are definitely things that could be improved, especially on those extra-cold winter days.
T8N: What will be the first item that you plan to bring forward for council debate immediately after the election?
JE: Following the election there are several smaller traffic initiatives that I would like to bring forward. After that, I intend to bring forward a motion to create a one-number system for St. Albert in the form of a 311 number. From there, my larger policy initiatives will come as needed during planning.
T8N: What governance or policy change that council operates under today needs to be changed immediately?
JE: NO ANSWER
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?
JE: My generation – Millennials – are more likely to use a public library than any other, according to this study by the Pew Research Center: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/06/21/millennials-are-the-most-likely-generation-of-americans-to-use-public-libraries/. That number is divided between traditional media use, and the attendance of seminars or events. As someone trying to promote the long-term viability of my generation in St. Albert, I intend to continue funding the library so that current service levels can be kept up. This is something my generation wants, and something my generation needs.
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?
JE: City employees should advise council, and act on the governance of council. Council is not in the business of management, but governing the city. That means providing the vision, the framework, and the funds for the administration to do their jobs. We direct the city manager to hire good people to do their jobs, and we should let them get on with it.
T8N: What can and should be done to ensure the continued viability of St. Albert’s downtown Perron Street District?
JE: There is currently an initiative before council to enlarge the sidewalk while replacing the utilities for end-of-life. This, mixed with a promotion of local business, and improving ease-of-access should ensure the continued viability of Peron.
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?
JE: I have been speaking with residents who live in neighbourhoods with small children, and there has been good support for a 40km/h speed limit there. I for one don’t feel comfortable with going above 40 km/h in any neighbourhood. My primary concern is how to communicate this to people from outside our community. The proposal calls to adjust the speed-limit in un-posted areas. Since that remains at 50km/h elsewhere, finding a way to communicate that to people coming into the city is a must. While I’m not actively calling for it, it is an idea with merit, and deserves some further consideration.
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?
JE: NO ANSWER
T8N: What is your position on the extension of a regionally financed LRT system from downtown Edmonton to St. Albert?
JE: I like taking the LRT when I am in Edmonton, it’s a convenient way to get around. That being said, there are several problems with it. As seen with the extension of the line to NAIT, there can be delays with the signalling compatibility. There is an incredible cost to the line development as well. I would like to eventually see an extension to St. Albert, but for the time being we just don’t have the riders to support it.
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?
JE: NO ANSWER
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?
JE: I support the initiative by Active Communities Alberta, which intends to provide a multi-use facility that would also be accessible to those from Edmonton. I think not-for-profit based initiatives, in co-operation with other municipalities, might be a good way to get the facilities we need without over-burdening citizens with taxes.
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?
JE: NO ANSWER
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?
JE: Firstly, I would like to improve transit service to make it easier to access the downtown core. Secondly, I would like to diversify services out from just in St. Albert Place, to secondary facilities around St. Albert, like a second library. Reducing parking demand is the key to maintaining the quality of life in downtown St. Albert, while providing the services people want.
T8N: What is your vision for St. Albert’s role in the Capital Regional District?
JE: NO ANSWER
Questions provided by Tim Osborne (edited by T8N)
T8N: What do you believe is the role of a councillor?
JE: The role of the councillor is to govern the city. That is why part of my platform is intelligent governance: we need to govern, not manage, and we need to govern based on facts. To govern is to set policy, and provide planning for the future. It is not to interfere in the operations of the Administration.
T8N: How would you address the balance between doing what may be in the best interest of the community despite the act being unpopular?
JE: The people elect representatives to govern where they cannot. They select people to do the day-to-day work that is required in a municipality, which they do not have the time for. If it is demonstrably in the best interest of the community, and is a necessity, then it should go forward. If there is enough backlash, then there are ways for the citizenry to intercede. Optional projects can be put off, however.
T8N: Is there a role for third party or anonymous advertising / communication in municipal elections? Explain.
JE: Whether or not there is a role to be played, there will inevitably be this sort of communication. I am for freedom of speech, and with that comes the use of this sort of communication. I did not use nor encourage it this election, but it was used.
T8N: What is your vision for increasing the housing options in our community?
JE: When we are doing the annexation over the next several years, I want to ensure that denser housing options are available in the land-use bylaw. My generation is not going to be able to afford a detached house easily, and will need more affordable housing. The same can be said for the seniors in our city. My best-case scenario is to district the construction so that we can build communities. I would like to see all types of residences near to each-other, to build on the best qualities of each type of person who might live in them.
T8N Magazine Questions
T8N: What would be your reasons for / against switching to a ward system in St.Albert?
JE: A reason for switching to a ward system would be the number of candidates running in this election. Another would be the fact that Deer Ridge has different wants and needs from Braeside. A reason against is that we still have a relatively small population, and it is good to have a more direct government. This too, I am not advocating for currently. But it is another idea with merit that deserves our attention.
T8N: Are there any actions / directives / projects undertaken by the previous council that you would like to stop / undo / dramatically change? Why?
JE: NO ANSWER
Read the responses from the other councilors by clicking below:
Sandyne Beach-McCutcheon http://www.t8nmagazine.com/sandyne-survey/
Nester Andrew Petriw http://www.t8nmagazine.com/nester-questionnaire/