I have lived in Ward 11 for the majority of my life and I am aware of our issues. I have 4 children, 2 biological and 2 adopted (Metis and First Nations). I am committed to diversity, inclusion, and our environment. Speaking of the latter, I kept my campaign literature to a minimum and my signage to 500, plus 25 large signs. I believe it is important to live in the community one represents. Ward 11 residents can expect to see me in our community and can speak to me anytime at Bonnie Doon, Millwoods, South Edmonton Shopping centres, or at one of our local restaurants or coffee shops.
The majority of my campaign donations are from family, friends and one union. I have received no funds from developers or any other businesses. I want to maintain my neutrality. I believe this is important in making Council decisions on behalf of our City. I believe in fiscal responsibility and my campaign total will be at the $20,000 mark.
The media have positioned Ward 11 candidates as taking either a social or business approach to their role as a city councillor. I am running for council as I provide balance and bring my knowledge and experience to the table. This comes from working extensively with business, social and political communities through my work for two exceptional organizations, the Canadian Red Cross and the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce. My current role with the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce is business development manager. I am also the current president of the Alberta Congress Board, an organization bringing together business, government, not for profits, education and unions to address Alberta labour issues. In fact I am quite proud of receiving CUPE 30 support for the position of Councillor Ward 11 as it speaks to my ability to work with all groups. Adjacent to Ward 11, Councillor's Ben Henderson (Ward 8), and Amarjeet Sohi (Ward 12) also received their support. Speaking of Councillor Sohi, I am pleased to have worked with him for the past few years on the Racism Free Edmonton initiative. I have also worked with Councillor Ed Gibbons, Edmonton Economic Development Corporation and City of Edmonton administration on northern Canada relations. Together we recently attended a conference in Yellowknife with the objective of maintaining our role as the economic and service hub to the north. As one noted federal politician has stated, "If you want to see Canada's future economic prosperity, look to the North."
I believe some of the major issues often overshadow the day to day lives of our residents. What are some of the other issues? One example from a Sakaw resident, "It's crazy to try and get across that street (66 and 12 avenue). I take another way that's much longer but a lot safer to get my kids to school. We need a traffic light, or at the very least, a pedestrian cross walk light." Another example from an Avonmore resident, "When the ice melts, I have water that tops over the curb and when it freezes, you can break your neck slipping on it." These are important issues that must be addressed. I subscribe to the view that when our residents cannot get the required assistance from administration, they need to call their councillor. On a positive note, many of the residents in Ritchie, Hazledean and King Edward are extremely happy their community's revitalization is well underway.
Like the majority of Ward 11 (and Ward 12) residents, we want and need the LRT. The City of Edmonton applied to P3 Canada for funds and was approved for $250 million. The City has committed $800 million. The Green Trip fund (set up by former Premier Ed Stelmach) will provide $285 million. The provincial and federal government have not stepped up to the plate. The best way to ensure this happens is to be more vocal in advocating on behalf of our City. One important point I would like to make about public, private, partnerships (P3). I support them. However, I don't believe all projects fall within this model (for example, schools). Furthermore, they should not be used as a means to privatization. The South East Valley Line LRT P3 is a design, build, finance, operate, and maintain model. City Council must include our current transit system operator in discussions when this P3 project goes ahead.
There's been a lot of talk of potholes. The City of Edmonton has been working with the University of Alberta engineering department to see if better solutions can be found. We also need to look at what other countries with similar climates are doing. Frost and thaw, snow plowing and traffic can only be partly to blame. Ward 11 has become a thoroughfare for vehicles travelling downtown and to the northern parts of our city and much of this can be attributed to urban sprawl. Rather than just fix potholes, we need to provide efficient and effective public transportation and repave roads based on their condition. The road in front of my home was repaved last year and frankly, it was in significantly better condition than the roads in Avonmore.
We all know our infrastructure is aging and in need of much work. In 2004, the drainage system in Millwoods overflowed. Many residents' basements were flooded. The cost back then to repair was $146 million. In 2012, the 1 in 100 storm (the experts say we can expect these odds to change), caused another overflow. This will be on the upcoming Council agenda. Some discussions suggest it could be potentially be $150 million. I feel for the homeowners who have raw sewage in their basements. None of us want to experience this. We need to be proactive not reactive.
Like most Edmontonians, I didn't like the way the deal was struck. There was a lack of transparency. However, I believe the logic behind the arena has merit. The future of Edmonton is going to be dependant on our ability to maintain a strong economy. One of the biggest challenges to this is a lack of skilled workers and their families. One outcome of globalization is increased competition between cities and countries. We need to be competitive. One of the best ways to do this is to have a vibrant downtown core. One that is the envy of the other cities we compete with. Lastly, we need to do a better job of informing our citizens on what is going on in our city. Did you know the arena is only one part of the Capital City downtown plan? We need to be more transparent.
For more information, my website is: www.GaneForWard11.ca Twitter @ganeforward11 I would be proud to represent our Ward and act on behalf of our community. Your vote counts, please vote for Dennis John Gane, Ward 11 candidate for Edmonton City Council.