THE BLOG

Brent Schaffrick for Edmonton Ward 11

10/18/2013 09:12 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

Thank you for considering me for the position of City Councillor for Ward 11.

My name is Brent Schaffrick, and I want to make Ward 11 a better place to live! Specifically, I want faster snow removal in the winter, smoother roads, a reasonable speed limit on the Whitemud, and a stop to water Fluoridation. I also want to ride the LRT all the way from Millwoods to the west end, and make certain the downtown Arena does not cost more than promised. Finally, I want to keep taxes affordable, and ensure that the people I represent have an on-going opportunity to tell me what THEY want.

My Background

I am a resident of Ward 11 and have been for most of the past decade. I was born here in Edmonton, I grew up on a farm just south of our City, and I have lived here for most of my adult life. I graduated with Distinction from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. Since then, I have worked as a Measurement While Drilling (MWD) Consultant in the oilfield, where I have learned not only the MWD trade, but have gained practical experience in useful skills like: project management, public speaking, teaching, and running a small business.

Before University, I spent twelve years in the Canadian Forces Primary Naval Reserve, working my way up through the ranks as I did a combination of full time and part time service to save up the money to pay for further education. Along the way, I was given the opportunity to serve on many budgetary committees, serving as President, VP, Treasurer and Secretary for numerous committees and organizations.

If I am chosen to represent the citizens of Ward 11, I will use the knowledge I have learned throughout both my formal and informal education to try and make our city a better place to live in the long term, by providing greater leadership to ensure the voice of small business and community organizations is heard and balanced against the needs of the city overall.

My Beliefs

My political position can best be described as Fiscally Conservative, Socially Liberal. I believe in being responsible with money, but I also believe in "going green" and helping others as much as my budget allows.

My Stance on the Major Issues:

1. Snow Removal

Edmonton's current snow removal philosophy is to have snow cleared within 5 days of the end of the snowfall. This is unacceptably slow. When I was in the Naval Reserve, I spent several years in Halifax, Nova Scotia. While there, I was impressed with how quickly crews cleaned the streets and sidewalks after a snowfall. When I returned to Edmonton, I was not impressed with the comparative length of time it took to get the roads here cleaned. Edmonton has, on average, 124cm of snow per year. Halifax receives 231cm per year on average*, and Halifax has committed to cleaning their streets within 36 hours of the end of a major snowfall*. This timeline is what Edmonton should be striving for.

2. Potholes and Road Repair

While crazy weather here in Edmonton wreaks havoc with our roads, it also affords us an opportunity to show how innovative and adaptable we can be. This year our city crews have already repaired over 450,000 potholes. I am not convinced that the constant freeze-thaw-repair cycle is the best use of our money. There are new "Polymer Modified Asphalts" that have increased lifespans due to better durability (less rutting), temperature resistance (cracking and potholes) and can be more rigid.* The resulting road lasts longer because it is stiffer and can resist temperature swings.

Most cities do not use these, as the added expense is not worth the return on monies invested. Edmonton is not a normal city in this regard, and I want the city to consider using Polymer Modified Asphalts to give our roadways a more robust resistance to the formation of potholes, thus solving the problem before it starts.

3. Millwoods to West End LRT expansion

Edmonton's LRT system is the best way for our city to move people in an efficient yet environmentally friendly manner. I also realize that the high cost makes this project feasible only with support from other levels of Government. In my opinion, PPP (Public Private Partnerships) are seldom the best method of funding a capital project, however, if our Federal Government requires we do this in order to qualify for funding, we need to give their proposal serious consideration.

4. Arena

If we're going to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to reinvigorate the heart of our city, needless to say, I want us to get as much bang for each buck as possible.

As the elected representative of Ward 11, I will insist that this project stay on budget and that it is built to be enjoyed by each and every citizen -- regardless of where they live.

5. Whitemud Drive Speed Limit

With the latest widening of the Whitemud drive now complete, we should give serious consideration to increasing the speed limit. 90km/hr throughout seems reasonable, and we should consider at increasing the speed limit to 100km/hr closer to the edges of the city where there are no left hand ramps.

6. Fluoride in Edmonton's Water Supply

Edmonton, along with many other cities, still occasionally puts fluoride in our water supply with the stated goal of helping prevent tooth decay. Unfortunately, there has been a significant amount of research demonstrating that fluoride in the water is linked to significant health and developmental issues in children.* This unintentional harm is not acceptable, and it is in the long term interests of all of our citizens to stop fluoridating our water supply.

7. Taxes & Citizen Involvement

Many people have brought up their concerns that the City seems to raise taxes every year by far more than inflation, and this is especially difficult for those citizens with fixed incomes. I am committed to limiting tax increases to no more than inflation throughout my term in office; if unforeseen events would cause a larger tax increase, then City Hall should seek approval from the citizens of Edmonton before implementing that increase. Continuing on that line, I would like to see our city generally move towards a more direct form of democracy. Therefore, I am committed to polling you at least once each year, to ask how well Council is doing, and to ensure it is on top of the issues that matter.

8. Privatizing Police Services

Many of you are not happy with the use of private third party police services to "enforce law and increase safety." The current City Council has stated that photo-radar and red light Cameras, as delivered by third party corporations, is a cost-effective manner of increasing road safety. I feel this system is a "cash grab" and that this is the first step down a long, costly road that has led many American cities to financial ruin. The people of Edmonton should be taxed transparently, fairly, and justly. Any type of "hidden" or secondary taxes such as the revenues from third party police services simply increase the amount of distrust and disillusionment that citizens have of their governments.

9. Campaign Funding

One of the most common questions people are asking is: Are you willing to publicly list all your financial backers before election day? My answer is an emphatic YES.

With 56% of all campaign funding raised in the last municipal election coming from the development industry*, I can understand why people are concerned, which is why I am completely self funding my campaign, and as a result, I am accountable only to YOU, the Ward 11 voter!*

*

http://www.currentresults.com/Weather/Canada/Cities/snowfall-annual-average.php

http://www.halifax.ca/WinterSafetyOperations/SnowRemoval.html#Question1

http://modifiedasphalt.org/educational-library/case-studies

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/fluoride-in-water-linked-to-lower-iq-in-children-112261459.html

Edmonton Journal, Page: C1 / Front, Edition: Final - Sat Jun 22 2013

Conclusion

Edmonton is growing at an incredible pace, so Ward 11 needs a leader who can cope with change and promote prosperity, but who never loses sight of what's truly important: building a community within which every man, woman and child is able to flourish!

I have the background in business to understand the economic issues, the educational background to make the right decisions for our city, and the militarily instilled sense of discipline to steer the right course. When I am chosen to represent the citizens of Ward 11, I will use the knowledge I have learned in University and life to try and make our city a better place to live in the long term, by providing greater leadership to ensure the voice of small business and community organizations is heard and balanced against the needs of the city overall.

Thank you, once again, for taking the time to consider me for the position of City Councillor for Ward 11. I will do my best to make sure you have a voice in Edmonton's next government.

If you have comments or questions, you can:

email me: brent@schaffrick.ca

call me: 780 974 9410

For an online version of this document, check out my website at:

www.SCHAFFRICK.ca.