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?
UO: The one think that I would want to change in the City of St. Albert itself is to the need for it to engage in focused cost reduction action and using the City Auditor activities to focus this efforts. On the community side and through the leadership of the City, I want to enhance our social consciousness, particularly in relationship to our vulnerable, marginalized and disadvantaged. For example, work on the suicide attempt and ideation file.
T8N: What will be the first item that you plan to bring forward for council debate immediately after the election?
UO “St. Albert Community & Social Development have no accurate numbers for St. Albert of death by suicide, attempted suicides or death by over doses and to my knowledge, Alberta Health Services releases suicide rates and numbers by region (Edmonton) and not specific to St. Albert. Administration has reached out to colleagues in AHS but they are not able to provide any specific information to St. Albert at this time. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to accurately report on such due to the circumstances, privacy issues and other factors surrounding such behaviors.
At the time of the report we were using anecdotal evidence and we have not done any update to the original report. We do not anticipate any further research being done in this area for numbers and are rather focusing resources on prevention, education and awareness instead.”
The above was the response I received to my request on update on May 2016 one in three suicide ideation and attempts. My first action will be to request an update research to monitor progress.
T8N: What governance or policy change that council operates under today needs to be changed immediately?
UO: The need to situate its community engagement and evaluation activities within its Charter obligations. This way we would have a truly diverse Citizen centred administration that challenges the need to intentionally address their needs as policies are developed, implemented and evaluated.
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?
UO: The new MGA mandatory collaboration obligation medium in the form of the Inter-municipal Collaboration Framework provides additional opportunities to meet our library services demands. This is something that I will be looking to our engaging our neighbours on irrespective of our participation in the Capital Region Board
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?
UO: Respect the Law.
T8N: What can and should be done to ensure the continued viability of St. Albert’s downtown Perron Street District?
UO: As an ardent supporter of autonomy and personal freedom, my instinct is to find out from the property owners and businesses in the Perron District about what they would like to see happen. The City can then seek to work collaboratively and in partnership with these stakeholders on viability issues efficiently. In this context efficiency includes avoiding participation that Residents are likely to view as wastage such as unnecessary road paintings or digging up the same spot multiple times within short window of time.
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?
UO: The question depends on the nature of the problem the reduction is trying to resolve. For example, if we are trying to improve safety but dealing with those who are speeding more than 50 on a 50 km road, reducing the speed to 40 by itself may not be they way to go.
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?
UO: Regionally financing is certainly a plus for an LRT extension to St. Albert
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?
UO: I am in support of a collaborative approach to policing.
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?
UO: That sounds interesting. It is certainly consistent with my collaborative stance and use of the inter-municipal collaboration framework proposed by the amended MGA.
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?
UO: Perhaps, there is certainly more than one way of addressing our concerns. However, the devil is always in the details. I look forward to evaluating the details of any potential amalgamation.
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?
UO: Although, I have personally experienced parking challenges occasionally in the downtown district and St. Albert Place, I do not know the extent of the problem. It is worth noting thought that the problem has not impacted my ability to engage with this district or the Place. Therefore, I would need to know the impact of the parking challenge to make a judgment on preferred approach relative to other priorities.
T8N: What is your vision for St. Albert’s role in the Capital Regional District?
UO: The Capital Regional District appear to engage through the growth management board often referred to as Capital Regional Board. St. Albert needs to have a strong voice to take advantage of collaboration opportunities for the benefit our beloved City.
Questions provided by Tim Osborne (edited by T8N)
T8N: What do you believe is the role of a councilor?
UO: To govern so that the City achieves its purpose of providing services and facilities as well as developing and maintaining viability
T8N: How would you address the balance between doing what may be in the best interest of the community despite the act being unpopular?
UO: NO ANSWER
T8N: Is there a role for third party or anonymous advertising / communication in municipal elections? Explain.
UO: NO ANSWER
T8N: What is your vision for increasing the housing options in our community?
UO: NO ANSWER
T8N Magazine Questions
T8N: What would be your reasons for / against switching to a ward system in St.Albert?
UO: NO ANSWER
T8N: Are there any actions / directives / projects undertaken by the previous council that you would like to stop / undo / dramatically change? Why?
UO: NO ANSWER
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/