Flood Mitigation & Ward 11

August 21, 2017

Flood Mitigation In Ward 11

During the campaign, I will be discussing the issues facing Ward 11 residents. The next topic I want to dive into is, Flood Mitigation in Ward 11.


In 2013, our city was devastated by flooding of both the Bow and Elbow rivers. Many neighbourhoods in Ward 11, including The Beltline, Cliff Bungalow, Elbow Park, Mission, Rideau Park, Roxboro, Riverdale, and Erlton, were overcome by flood waters. Damages to City infrastructure alone totaled $445M (with only $166M recoverable through insurance); and our downtown core, an economic engine of this city, was essentially shut down for over a week. The impact of the flood was staggering and estimates put the total economic cost at $5-$6 billion.

While this summer has been one of the warmest in recent memory, we must not lose track of the lessons from 2013. While our city is slowly recovering from the downturn in 2014, as I talk with residents and businesses within the ward, residents tell me that if we were to be hit again by another flood, we may not be able to recover as swiftly as 2013. The concerns I have are whether or not small businesses in our ward will be able to survive another flood; and would we as a city have enough economic resources to recover?

Our Issues:

  1. The work currently completed by the City and Province have only reduced the overall risk of another flood by 30%.
  2. Residents and businesses, especially in the northern portion of Ward 11, are concerned with the potential economic damage a second flood would cause to our already fragile economy.

My Strategies:

  1. I believe we need to continue with the Springbank Dry Dam Project and City Council needs to work with the Province to have it ready for 2021. The Dam Project is a diversion channel which would carry water from the Elbow River to the off-stream reservoir, which will have a storage capacity of 70.2 million cubic metres. This project will provide the needed safety mechanism to mitigate a flood the size of 2013.
  2. I believe City Council needs to work with the Province to build additional upstream storage on the Bow River. The Province has a responsibility to develop upstream infrastructure on the Bow River to mitigate the impact of high rainfall years. This includes potential projects such as: a dam upstream on the Bow River, as well as extending the TransAlta Agreement for the Ghost Dam.
  3. I believe the city needs to continue to look at applying technology solutions for operational excellence. The city should continue to improve the real-time monitoring of the entire watershed. This will allow the City the lead time needed to make optimal operational decisions.

Ward 11 Outcomes:

Once the Springbank Dry Dam Project, and upstream storage on the Bow River are completed, our city will be in a better position to handle a flood similar to the one that hit the city in 2013. The completion of these two projects, as well as other measures, will also help alleviate a majority of the concerns of not only residents, but businesses within Ward 11. In addition, by continuing to improve our monitoring process and looking at new solutions, we can also position ourselves in a more proactive role for any potential floods. It’s why I believe that as your councillor, we need to have an advocate on City Council who will not lose focus on this important issue, continue to push city administration to find new solutions and monitoring tools, and work with all levels of government to ensure mitigation efforts are moving forward.


The City’s Engagement and Communication Process with Citizens

August 3, 2017

The City's Engagement and Communication Process With Citizens

Over the next ten weeks of the campaign, I will be discussing the issues facing Ward 11 residents. The first topic I want to dive into is how we can start improving The City’s Engagement and Communication Process with Citizens.


One of the reasons I decided to run for Councillor in Ward 11 was because of the concerns I have with the City of Calgary’s current engagement process. Over the past several years, many friends, family members, and residents of Ward 11 have expressed their concerns and frustrations with how the the City is sharing information and getting feedback from residents. In many cases, people tell me that they feel they were never properly informed of upcoming decisions or that the outcome of the engagement sessions were all but decided by the time the City came to the community for input.

Our Issues:

  1. The City spends a significant amount of money on engagement and communication strategies, without the ability to quantify the results of these practices.
  2. Residents tell me that they feel that the City does not listen or respect their input or concerns related to projects and services.
  3. When people don’t feel they are properly engaged on topics, they feel isolated and not heard on key issues.

My Strategies:

  1. Engage Earlier – Involvement should occur at the beginning and strategic stages of planning, not at the end, when you do not get a strong say in what is happening. City administration should be required to engage with communities at earlier stages of the process. As your councillor I will provide regular updates regarding major projects in the ward.
  2. Ensure Policy Best Practices and Compliance – The Engage Policy CS009 is already in place to govern the actions of the administration related to the engagement process. We need to ensure that these frameworks are being followed by city officials and that we are always improving upon processes. We should look to and reflect on best practices across other municipalities, and use those ideas to improve our own process.
  3. Leveraging Technology – There are a significant number of technologies and platforms, that can offer a more effective form of communication between us and the City. We need to look at updating the Engage web site to improve conversation and feedback.

Ward 11 Outcomes:

As Councillor for Ward 11, one of the tasks I will look into is improving the guidelines set out in the City’s Engage Policy CS009. The current policy and framework is open ended about the administration’s ability to decide when the engagement process occurs. A certain amount of flexibility makes sense to ensure that the policy can be applied to the variety of services and projects the City offers. It is important the rules relating to the stage at which the City talks with you must be better outlined and defined to ensure it occurs early on in any project process.

I will also start looking into the current online tools for engaging with you. There are two web sites that the city is currently using (and testing) to get citizen feedback – The Calgary Engage web site and Civic Innovation YYC. The current Engage web site is a good start, but when you drill down to a specific topic, you cannot log a comment or leave a message. Also we need to make sure that the data collected from the web sites is used effectively. We need to know: Are the web sites being used? How is city officials or staff using these tools? And are your comments and ideas reaching the administrators in charge of these areas?

The other item I will address is the engagement event process. In particular, city council needs to have an honest look as to whether or not these events are the proper way to reach you. The reach of engagement events has fallen due to changes in how we all communicate. The current event process makes it difficult for those with other commitments and cannot attend to have meaningful impact. Citizen impact should not be determined by your availability to attend meetings – all opinions deserve to be heard and respected. We need to look at the event process and see how we can improve this for your busy lifestyle.


Why I’m Running

July 26, 2017

Why I'm Running

Over the past two months, I have been meeting with and listening to residents of Ward 11 at their doors and at numerous community events. During these conversations I get asked many questions on the major issues concerning residents of Ward 11. From questions regarding taxes, transportation, flood mitigation and some of the upcoming big ticket items being proposed at City Hall.

The other question I am asked frequently during these conversation is Why am I running?

My decision to run as Councillor for Ward 11, was made with the encouragement of many ward residents, along with business and community leaders. From a personal standpoint, I am passionate about being an active public servant – I continue to have the energy, the experience and the willingness to serve residents by championing their views and priorities as a representative of my neighbours in City Hall.

The three areas where I feel City Hall can improve upon are:

  • Citizen engagement and impact on city projects – One of the concerns I have is that city processes have to be respectful and include an open two-way communication about projects outcomes. I believe that engagement is about interaction and joint resolution to a problem, this process should not be a “check the box exercise” to only inform or offer limited choices to Calgarians. I believe that Ward 11 needs a Councillor at City Hall who will work to ensure citizen engagement is truly collaborative.
  • We have to live within our means – Another concern that many residents have raised is prudent management of tax dollars by the city; I believe public policy should encourage entrepreneurship and ensure that the tax and fee burden is fairly shared between residents and businesses across all areas of the city. And most importantly, at all times, spending by city hall has to be done to solve clearly defined problems and it needs to be monitored so desired outcomes are achieved.
  • Maintaining our Thriving Neighbourhoods – The communities that encompass Ward 11 are some of the most diverse, energetic and welcoming areas of our City. The current strength of Calgary, and one that I believe we need to maintain, is that there is sufficient housing, transportation, retail and community options available to support Calgarians of all demographics and income levels.

Since my campaign launch, I have had hundreds of conversations with residents of Ward 11 – overall we are all proud of our city and what has been achieved. The specific concerns I have heard all line up within the three items I outlined above.

In my opinion, the areas needing priority attention are:

  • Transportation – whether you drive, take public transit or cycle – projects should be undertaken that make common sense and serve our needs today and in the future.
  • Flood mitigation – The Flood of 2013 remains a major concern to residents of Ward 11 – whether it is to protect the economic viability of the downtown or the personal homes in the floodplain. Diligence has to be maintained regarding defensive actions taken and planned to ensure we do not experience such devastation again.
  • Development Matters – Residents of Ward 11 live almost evenly in apartment/condo buildings and single family homes. City policy has to be respectful of the choices made by individuals in the past while anticipating what housing will look like in the future. Our current housing inventory has allowed schools, businesses and community services to open and thrive – future zoning changes must be balanced in order to maintain and expand services to maintain our current quality of life.

As Councillor for Ward 11, I believe I can bring my understanding of community dynamics to create respectful solutions; I can use my understanding of business to evaluate city hall decisions; and I can use my previous experience of being elected to ensure timely and respectful actions are taken for the good of the city.

I passionately believe one person can make a difference – whether as an individual, a community member, as an employee, a business owner, and especially as an elected official. My reputation is strong as a constituency focused public servant – listening and acting on behalf of the concerns of those I am accountable to – all the electors of my area. My previous experience of working with elected and department officials of our provincial government is the ideal prerequisite to be an effective Councillor for Ward 11. In summary, I have been a resident of southwest Calgary since 1986, raising my family and experiencing the aches and pains of our turbulent economy; benefitting from the historic and ongoing entrepreneurial initiatives of the Calgary business community. As your representative, I will positively work to bring the right resources to the right project at the right time to meet the needs of Ward 11.

On October 16th, 2017 we will each have the opportunity to vote for members of Calgary City Council. My name will be on the ballot for Ward 11 Councillor. I ask for your support in the October civic election.

Regards,

Linda M. Johnson


The Johnson Stampede Social

June 25, 2017

Johnson Stampede Social

Come out and kick-off Stampede week with Linda Johnson. Enjoy the first beef on the bun of the season and learn more about Linda’s campaign for Ward 11 (and wish her a Happy Birthday!). Come enjoy great music, fantastic conversation and get to know Linda’s team.

Details:

Meadowlark Park Community Association
623 58 Avenue Southwest
Calgary, AB T2V 1V7
When: Thursday, July 6th, 2017.
Time: 5:00pm to 8:00pm.

Ticket Includes:

Free Drink Ticket.
Beef on A Bun Dinner.
Entrance to the event.


On The Campaign Trail!

June 20, 2017

Earlier this month we officially kicked off my campaign for Ward 11. Surrounded by friends, family and supporters it was the first of many events that we have planned in the ward. With our new web site up and running, a fantastic Lilac festival, an engaging Neighbour Day, and numerous meetings with community associations – we are off to a great start!

On The Campaign Trail!

Like so many of you, my family has benefitted from the opportunities that Calgary has to offer. Our city works hard and plays hard, and our entrepreneurial spirit is unmatched. Calgary is a place that thrives in a challenge. As we navigate through economic stresses and families face difficulties, I feel it is incredibly important that your City Council strives to ensure that Calgary is a city that nurtures success and lives within its means.

And to help our City achieve this, Ward 11 needs city council representation that believes in this Calgary like I do. An individual that has a proven record of working with everyone to achieve a common good. An individual that knows that Calgary’s vibrancy and strength is in building each community to the best it can be.

Over the next few weeks leading up to the Calgary Stampede, I will be attending community events and reaching out to as many residents of Ward 11 as possible. You can keep up to date with my campaign by following me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Happy Summer-ing,

Linda