October 12, 2017
As we inch closer to October 16th and residents of Ward 11 make a decision on who should represent them at council, I feel it is important that you know where I stand on the issues which impact you. It’s why our team has collected all of our policy and value releases in to a single page called Linda’s Values, so you can easily find what I stand for and what I will do as your next councillor.
I believe voters should know clearly where their candidates stand on topics such as City Finances, The Arena, Flood Mitigation and Engagement with citizens. You can read my polices here or use the navigation menu.
September 29, 2017
The Southwest BRT has been a topic of conversation and debate for many communities within Ward 11 for some time now. I believe the BRT network, including the Southwest BRT, will have many positive outcomes for all Calgarians including but not limited to increased options for transportation, reduced traffic congestion, and positive impacts on the local economy. We know that over the next few years, The Rockyview General Hospital, Mount Royal University and the business park in the Old Currie Barracks are expected to provide thousands of new employment opportunities for Calgarians, and I believe the Southwest BRT will be a key transportation solution for how we can get residents of Ward 11 to these job opportunities.
I do feel, however, that the consultation process surrounding the SW BRT was flawed and sowed confusion within the community. Many friends and residents of Ward 11 came to me with their concerns regarding this process and this played a major role in my decision to run for City Council. Through workshops and online feedback which followed the initial consultation, I believe the City of Calgary has been able to address some of the concerns citizens had with the project. I am supportive of the SW BRT as approved by Council in July 2016, with the design changes and budget update that resulted from this work.
The SW BRT project communication and feedback process has highlighted the need for Calgary to revisit how it engages and communicates with its citizens. As your Councillor, I will prioritize reforms to the engagement and communication process to make it more meaningful, informative, and constructive for all participants.
On day one, I will ask for a complete update on the project from City Administration. I am also firmly committed to monitoring the financial and ridership performance of the SW BRT once service is introduced, and being fully transparent with citizens by sharing this information with them.
September 25, 2017
During the campaign, I will be discussing the issues facing Ward 11 residents. One of the most common questions I receive is where I stand on reintroducing fluoride into our drinking water.
One of the issues on the minds of many young families that I meet in Ward 11 is the question of reintroducing Fluoride into Calgary’s drinking water. Earlier this year a study from the University of Calgary showed a significant increase of cavities in Calgary since the end of fluoridation in our drinking water in comparison to Edmonton. Findings showed that the inclusion of fluoride is an important way to protect children from tooth decay, and as many families have told me, It is a way to protect families who may not be able to afford robust dental care.
It’s one of the reasons, that I believe City Council made a critical mistake in 2011, when they decided to remove fluoride from Calgary’s drinking water. The decision was made despite a plebiscite where Calgarians showed support for fluoride in the drinking water, and studies since have shown dramatic increases in childhood tooth decay in Calgary. As your Councillor, I will strongly support the reintroduction of fluoride into our drinking water.
- In 2011, City Council decided to end the practice of adding fluoride to Calgary’s drinking water without accessing the advice of an expert panel. This was despite a 1989 plebiscite that demonstrated public support for fluoridation at 53%.
- Five years later, a joint study between Alberta Health Services, the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta, “Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology” was released. The report’s findings demonstrated that while childhood tooth decay was on the increase in both Calgary and Edmonton, it was increasing at a much higher rate in Calgary. Edmonton was still fluoridating its drinking water.
- In response to this study, a Notice of Motion was brought to Council in September 2016 asking the University of Calgary’s O’Brien Institute for Public Health to provide current knowledge regarding fluoridation and answer Council’s outstanding questions and concerns regarding the practice. The motion failed despite the fact the University offered to do it pro bono.
- The Alberta Government views fluoridation as safe, but will not fund it on behalf of municipalities.
- I would support a motion by council to reintroduce Fluoride into the drinking water. I believe that Calgarians have spoken on this topic and the feedback I’ve received from residents is that they want this reintroduced.
- I believe council should move forward with the offer made by the University of Calgary to fully study and report on current findings regarding fluoridation to answer the outstanding questions and concerns raised not only by Council, but also members of the public.
- I would also continue discussions with the Alberta Government regarding this essential component of human health and continue to lobby for funding.
September 17, 2017
During the campaign, I will be discussing the issues facing Ward 11 residents. The next topic I want to dive into is, the proposal for a new arena.
This past week we’ve seen a lot of debate and rhetoric from all sides on the new arena proposal. Calgary is a culturally vibrant city, from our arts, to music, to film, and of course to our sports– and a new arena will continue to build on that vibrancy. But we can’t let the project play out in public theatre, and most importantly we can’t have Calgarians’ public investment be held hostage.
As a Calgarian, I’m supportive of any projects that grow our cultural economy, and a new arena builds into our reputation as a world class city; the continued revitalization of Victoria Park is something I also welcome. At the same time projects that use public funds need to benefit Calgarians and respect the use of taxpayer dollars.
The proposal released by the City on the three-way ⅓ funding split is a solid framework that a new deal can be built on. The deal respects public investment and is financially responsible on the public versus private investment.
- The Saddledome is an aging arena, and needs upgrades to infrastructure, capacity and aesthetics.
- The level of municipal funding for the project needs to align with the public benefit of the project for Calgarians and the local economy.
- The Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC) is a private business, that needs to demonstrate financial accountability for a new arena and highlight the use of public investment. The deal needs to be a partnership and a business transaction.
- The arena deal needs to be respective and transparent; Calgarians deserve to know how their public dollars are being spent.
- Get A Deal Done; Transparently – For the last two years the negotiations between the City and CSEC have taken place behind closed doors, and have been plagued by ultimatums, rhetoric and mudslinging. Both parties have a common interest: build a new arena and contribute to Calgary’s cultural economy. But in order for this deal to get done, we need a new forum for discussion and a platform that is transparent to the public. Discussions need to be fair and reasonable – we can’t have either side being held hostage in this debate.
- Clearly demonstrate public benefit – Using public dollars for the new arena needs to be supported by clear public benefit. The project needs to be a partnership between the City and CSEC and Calgarians need to see the benefit of their public investment. An arena is an important part of a vibrant urban centre, but I would push CSEC to demonstrate the full value of the partnership and the return on value to Calgarians on their public investment.
- Risk and Return Must Align – A basic tenet of finance is that there is a relationship between risk and reward. If multiple entities are investing capital into a common project, they share in the rewards or losses. This must be true in the deal for the arena, the City and CSEC should share in the rewards and losses of the venture pro-rata their contributions of capital. A deal that reflects this will be a fair deal for all parties, a market deal.
September 11, 2017
During the campaign, I will be discussing the issues facing Ward 11 residents. One of the more recent pressing issues in Calgary is the city’s public art policy.
With the unveiling of the ‘Bowfort Towers’ art installation earlier this summer, the City’s Public Art Policy has been a topic on the minds of many Ward 11 residents. We all agree public art is important; it promotes innovation, it showcases a city’s culture and personality and it highlights our incredible talent. At the same time, we cannot lose sight of our fiscal responsibility to Calgarians.
I support the motion put forth by councillors earlier this month to reexamine the City’s Public Art Policy and I believe now is the time to make sure we get this policy right. Recent events have shown that Calgary’s Public Art Policy consultation process must be improved and simplified, as I hear at the doors — let’s not unnecessarily complicate policy.
- Calgarians feel they are not given enough opportunity to engage with and provide input towards the public art process.
- Several recent public art projects have been unveiled without significant engagement by citizens and have been received negatively by Calgarians.
- Existing federal and provincial regulations are over-restrictive on how dollars for public art can be used; This has resulted in public money being spent on art projects which are located in areas which are inaccessible or otherwise undesirable.
- Enhance the Visibility and Robustness of Citizen Engagement – In my conversations with residents, they have expressed their concerns on the lack of opportunity for citizens to engage on the public art process. It’s clear from feedback, that current opportunities for engagement are not well communicated or accessible. City Hall needs to be better at communicating how Calgarians can provide their feedback, including:
- Participation on the public art selection panels.
- Priority setting for the types and location of public art projects.
- Push for Changes to Provincial and Federal Regulations that restrict the way money is spent on public art – City administration identified the need to change provincial and federal regulations a number of years ago, but this has not yet been done. Changing these regulations will allow Calgary to build projects in areas that are more desirable and accessible to provide maximum public benefit.
- Review the Public Art Funding Model – The City’s economic circumstances have changed considerably since the funding model was last modified in 2014. A review of the funding formula is necessary to ensure that current levels of funding align with Calgary’s current realities and priorities.
- Link Public Art Engagement to the Main Streets and nextCity projects – City Hall can leverage existing consultations under the Main Streets and nextCity project to engage public feedback on public art, and link public art projects to accessible and inclusive locations in the City.
Ward 11 Outcomes:
- Better citizen engagement: Providing Ward 11 residents with more opportunities for their feedback and engagement is a priority for me. Reviewing the public art engagement process means that more of our neighbours will have a chance for their voices to be heard on this issue.
- Better use of tax dollars: Calgarians across the city, and in Ward 11 deserve to be assured that their tax dollars are being spent wisely, while living within our city’s means and the new economic realities.
- Creating inclusive, and accessible community spaces: It’s important to have spaces that all neighbours can access, enjoy, and benefit from. Revising Calgary’s public arts process allows for better linkages to existing public space consultations like nextCity and Main Streets and will create better communities across this city, including in our own Ward.