QUICK QUESTIONS – Yes or No?
Given the time constrains on this evening’s questions, would you commit to answering the remaining questions in writing so that we could post them on the GNA’s website? Have you answered the questions on the candidates’ survey on the Happy City website? If not, will you?
Yes to happy city website.
In recent years Bannerman park has undergone significant changes. The pool was closed for upgrading. This year the children’s programs offered at the pool were significantly reduced. Swimming lessons and life-saving courses are no longer offered. Will you work towards reinstating those programs which have served the children in this neighbourhood for decades?
Yes, for sure.
The GNA has asked, for many years, for a comprehensive study of parking needs and solutions for the neighbourhood. Would you support this?
Yes, for sure.
Are you a resident of Ward 2?
Recent news reports have highlighted the serious issue of used needles on school and park grounds in our neighbourhood. How will you support efforts to address this issue?
We need to address first the root cause of this. Then needle exchanges, education programs instructing kids not to touch them and a call service where they can be collected immediately
Snowclearing – The ongoing issue of snow clearing and specifically winter walkability is a serious one for this neighbourhood. How do you see addressing this issue in this downtown, walking neighbourhood?
Snow cannot be pushed, it must be removed. MY suggestion was alternate side of street parking and snow removal not snow clearing.
Snowclearing II – How would you improve the sidewalk snow clearing in downtown St. John’s?
What are you thoughts on urban density in Georgestown? Do we need more or less or the status quo?
Each and every issue has to be examined because of the diversity of the region. Resident input is critical.
In a few places in the neighbourhood, city parkland is being used to access the rear of properties. No one minds if this use is occasional and done with care not to damage the land. While residents understand that infrequent access may be necessary, instances have arisen in the past few years where the use is frequent and damaging. There is, moreover, now a garage backing onto Davey’s Field. What would you suggest in order to manage this problem?
The city must be responsible for all alleys etc. Each and every one of these areas must be looked at and ruled on separately.
Georgetown is an older neighbourhood, which is mostly residential in character. Its population is fairly diverse, as is the nature of its housing stock. Since housing stock tends to influence population type, what do you see that will protect and enhance the diversity of housing stock while also seeing that new construction is in character with the neighbourhood and that the heritage value of older housing is maintained?
I bow to the heritage committee on this issue. I once owned a heritage house and some of the rules and regulations were very difficult. We can’t prevent people from selling their homes but we can develop standards for construction and for maintenance that are realistic.
What importance do you give to the many alleys and pathways throughout the neighborhood, which allow a fairly free flow of pedestrian traffic through the neighbourhood. Do you feel these should be maintained and enhanced?Should the three or four that have in recent years been encroached upon, or even closed off, be opened again?
All alleys and pathways should be maintained and monitored by the city.
What are your views on adding additional commercial uses to the neighbourhood? In particular, how would you balance the needs of residents against those of the clientele of the commercial uses.
Again this is an issue that has to be discussed with residents.
Century Park – We were told that work would begin on the park in Spring 2017. Now we hear that the City is waiting for the completion of sidewalk / curb repairs prior to work commencing on the park. Moreover the City is not taking care of the basketball court that is the centre piece of Century Park. The neighbourhood kids are still buying nets and spray-painting 3 point lines. Will you undertake to get things moving on the upgrades that were promised for the park and the repairs that are necessary for the basketball court?
Ridiculous situation. It will top my priority list
Given that Ward 2 is a series of formal and informal neighbourhoods, some quite close knit, and that all would benefit from greater citizen volunteers in their own back years, what would you do to champion this in Ward 2, and encourage it in other wards, while maintaining strong stewardship of the budget?
I don’t understand this question. Volunteering is important in all areas. I have dozens of them in our organization. We can’t have enough volunteers but.
There has been an ongoing degradation of the infrastructure in the ward for many years, and a recent uptick in vandalism, including three new “artists” tagging public and private structures. This is well known as a precurser to further dangerous acts, and is an indicator of dissatisfaction in the community. What will you do to address the wear and tear, the damage and the root causes of both?
This current council has elected to spend millions on new rec facilities, kenmount rd, Reynolds centre at the expense of inner city needs. This will change.
I recently saw Al Gores’s latest movie AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL: TRUTH TO POWER, which reminds us how dramatic and catastrophic climate change is. We need to act locally to reduce our carbon footprint and actively combat the destruction of fossil fuels. What are our candidates planning to do at the municipal level to address this problem?
The single biggest contributor to the carbon footprint in our city is vehicles. We need to start at the city level by undertaking a study to see how the city can possibly change some of its fleet of cars to electric vehicles. Further to that possibly discussing with the province an incentive program to have resident make the switch.
Do you consider permaculture, environmental, economic and social sustainability important methods and foundations upon which to improve the city?
Yes, of course but on each issue I could write a paper.
What are you going to do to get St. John’s ready for climate change?
Again, this is an issue that does not have a simple answer. I really don’t know what the effect a 1 or 2 degree change in weather will affect St. John’s. I don’t know if increased sea levels will affect St. John’s. It is an issue on which I have little knowledge but I know must be addressed.
It’s so common to hear people say that you need a car to live in St. John’s, but living with fewer cars on the road or going car-free is good for finances and promotes healthy people and thriving communities. Do you think that the transportation system in St. John’s needs to change, and, if so, what is your vision for the transportation system in St. John’s?
Yes. When I lived in Ottawa I almost exclusively used the city bus service. We need a review of metrobus to see if express routes and other services will better serve the public.
WHY ARE YOU RUNNING?
What drives you to want to be a city councillor?
I’m running because I believe the current Ward 2 councillor has performed horribly. I have nearly 40 years of senior financial administration experience. I have been a senior personnel director. I have been a marketing and communications manager. I am personable, approachable and I get the job done.
What are your skill sets and experience by which you will enable the city to thrive?
Name three reasons we should vote for you.
Education, Experience and Success.
What would your dream team be for city council from the pool of those running?
Mayor Wells, Ward 2 Tom Badcock, Ward 3 Walter Harding, Ward 5 Frasrer Picket(sp)
Which ward do you live in?
I live in Ward 5
What is your vision for Ward 2?
I began my working career living in Ward 2 in 1966 for one year. I returned to ward 2 to live in 2002 for two years and then moved to Ward 5. I have worked in Ward 2 since 1993. I want to move to ward 2 and have had my house for sale for over a year. I chose not to run in Ward 5 because the incumbent, has so many family and friends in the ward that he will be re-elected without any consideration for the fact that there are many more better qualified people running.
What, in your opinion, are the three major planning and development issues currently facing Ward 2?
First there is the issue of winter snow clearing. Second is the issue of street repairs and traffic flow. Third is the issue of a more friendly approach to the business community as well as a more enhanced recreational infrastructure program.
What steps would you take to make Ward 2 a better place to live and to do business?
Crawl out of my hole, get involved, meet with community leaders and business leaders
POLICY, PLANNING and BUDGETS
Would you support the idea that for all proposed developments and redevelopments which entail significant changes, including but not limited to changes in zoning, significant changes in height, footprint and general building size, changes of use even if in a permitted zone, and significant alterations of the existing streetscape, the urban forest, public and private parking and general vehicular and non-vehicular traffic flow, the developer must provide signage on the site which illustrates the proposed development and redevelopment and provides general information such as height, footprint, landscaping, parking and traffic impacts?
Your question does not have a simple answer. Each and every issue could be debated for months. My position has always been to consult before approving or denying.
In concrete terms, how do you intend to change the short sightedness and outdated ways in which important municipal decisions are made? (city planning: infrastructure planning and implementation, building development, social well being, cultural development and tourism)
By grabbing some of these city officials and councilors by the short and curlies and bringing them into the 21st century. All of the issues you have mentioned are important issues. In the United States politicians hold town halls. We need to do the same thing here. Meet with our residents, seek their input. After all, we work for you.
We hear a lot of complaints about potholes, snow clearing, parking, complications and inconsistencies with renovation permits, and public transit. Where do you stand on those points?
I have address those issues
Do you think that planning is important and a means of achieving your long term goals for Ward 2? And, if so, why?
Yes, that is a self-evident issue. I’m ex-military. We planned every long term goal we attempted to achieve. Running a city is no different.
Do you think that the capacity of the planning deparment in the City of St. John’s is up to the task of creating municipal wide plans and neighbourhood plans such as a plan for Ward 2?
I really don’t have the indebt knowledge of the city planning dept. If it’s not then it will be.
How do you propose to improve interaction between Council, City staff and the Public on key issues for meaningful results in Ward 2?
As I mentioned, Town Halls
How will you strengthen Heritage Preservation in Ward 2?
I will revert to the heritage committee. I have a cultural geography degree so heritage of course is second nature to me.
What will you do to ensure that the current Municipal Plan and Development Regulations are completed by the new Council?
I do not have the detailed knowledge I need to effectively answer that question. Please be assured that if elected, I will become intimately familiar with the plan as it affects ward 2 and ensure it is what the residents want.
How will you ensure that the Council is accountable for its policies and procedures in a transparent manner?
How can the current planning process in the City of St. John’s be more effective?
How do you view the importance of downtown in our community as a social, economic and culture resource? What is required to enhance it?
What constitutes “sustainable development”? How does a community achieve it for the City of St. John’s in Ward 2?
The UN came up with 17 sustainable development goals. Surely, you don’t expect me to address all of them for ward 2 in this format.
Why are there not more partnerships between the City and community and cultural organizations to render the city more interesting, dynamic thus creating more opportunities for all parts of our social fabric?
Because councilors are lazy and are not proactive.
Do you think that landlords of vacant commercial properties should pay property taxes?
Yes and no. It depends on the business and the plans of that owner.
What are your thoughts on commercial properties in residential areas / mixed use development?
I agree with them but it depends on the business.
How would you solve the problem of obnoxious motorcycles that are unnecessarily loud?
We must enforce the current regulations. If I lose my car’s muffler I am ticketed. But yet motorcycles that are much louder are allowed to get away with it. The law is there. Enforce it!
How much is the City’s 2017 budget?
If you mean what are the rev and exp then its almost 295M
If you were told that something in the City’s budget had become less expensive and there was 5% of the total revenue available, what would you do with that money? Would you spend it (if so, on what)? Or would you use it to reduce taxes?
No I would not spend it. That’s crazy!!! All budgets must be developed with a reserve for unexpected expenses. Unexpected revenues from decreased expenses are a bonus. Every budget I have ever prepared and managed has an area which I have entitled “Nice to Have”. When I worked for Premier Roger Grimes, I provided him with a monthly breakdown of his budget showing any savings and he used the saving to created employment. I would like to see that same nice to have in the city budget and if and when savings occur use that money to fund things that we otherwise would not have the funds for. No, the mill rate is set and should not be ‘fooled with’ partway through a process.
If you were told that something in the City’s budgt had become more expensive and there was a 5% deficit, would you raise taxes or reduce expenditures and, if so, which expenditures?
No. I would examine other areas of the budget where the shortfall could be found. In 982 in Cold Lake Alberta I had a $40 million dollar budget for fuel for my fighter aircraft. The price of fuel within a month increased by 20%. We didn’t ground all our jets. We didn’t lay off all our staff. We met with all the squadron commanders and we took such simple steps as reducing the speed our pilots flew thus using less fuel. While away from base we negotiated better prices for fill-ups. We increased the number of tankers on our trains that delivered fuel to our tank farm on base, and finally, we stopped the pilots from “joy riding.” Budgets are living documents that need to be managed by people with education, experience and success. I have all three.