Secondary suites, transit, leadership and fluoridation. These are just a few of the issues that came up on Sept. 27 at a Ward 6 forum at the Glendale Community Association.

 Jeff Davison, Esmahan Razavi, Alex Columbus, Grace Nelson, Steve Turner, Sanjeev Kad, Jeff Brownridge and Sean Yost are hoping to take the spot of the incumbent Richard Pootmans.

The Calgary Journal asked the candidates their thoughts on the ward’s past and future representation.

Q: What is something that the incumbent, Richard Pootmans, did not do that you will do if you are elected:

JD: Ward 6 needs a younger voice, there are lots of young families in this community and older families too. We require someone who can turn up the volume because there is such a diversified group of needs in this ward.

AC: I just want to continue to build on the positive foundation that he has set for us and continue to move us forward. I definitely want to make sure that we have the west end of the ring road funded, I know he tried hard for that but I definitely want to get that done.

ST: I would like to revisit the whole issue of secondary suites and establishing a new process for that, not having council handle that but rather putting that to a committee or to the administration to handle with council oversight. Councillor Pootmans consistently voted against secondary suites blanket legalization. I think the issue needs to be revisited. I would have to consult with constituents to determine what position to take for them on that issue.

SK: There were certain times that Pootmans  failed to act on the issues constituents had.

JB: One of the areas Pootmans needed to have is a bit more of a very strong active voice for some of the interests of the ward, there is a number of issues that the ward is facing in terms of traffic and congestion.  I would bring about more of a leading voice for the ward.

SY: Pootmans was not very effective at communicating if something went wrong. I want to have the opportunity to talk with the constituents about what the issues are and take them forward.

ER: I would like to see fluoride back in the water.  It’s a health concern and I think we need it back.

GN:. Communications were flawed during Pootmans’ time and some of the questions residents had were not answered or acknowledged.

Esmahan RazaviEsmahan Razavi talks about her plan to bring back fluoride in the water in Ward 6. Photo by Tyler Ryan

Q: What did the incumbent Richard Pootmans do during his time that you think can be done better?

JD: Pootmans worked on some development issues but I think Ward 6 should partner with some developers to create a more integrated stance within new and existing communities.

ER: I say in my platform that I would like to be an even more engaged councillor than he was, people say that he was pretty engaged but I want to show him up on that.

ST:  I think a little more councillor engagement, I think he did well on that but there are 15 communities to go to in this ward and I think there has to regularly be a townhall with each one of them individually because they each have their own specific issues.

SK: I think engaging with the communities better, he did engage but I think he could have done better. My intent is to have townhalls every month.

AC: He did vote to keep fluoride in, so let us make sure we get it back.

JB: One of the areas he needed to have was a very strong active voice for some of the interest of the ward. I will be more proactive in taking complaints of citizens and fighting for their interests.  

SY: I think that there is a few different ways to make the townhouse forums that he used better that are going to encourage more conversation.

GN:  Communication with residents with what is happening, sharing ideas and taking action on getting issues and problems resolved or giving reasons why things are not resolved.

Q: What did Richard Pootmans do during his time that you thought was effective and you would continue to do if you were elected:

JD:  One of the greatest thing Pootmans did was to get extremely active with the community associations and have his ears to the ground and I would manage that process extremely well if elected.

ST: Pootmans was very effective in arguing for fluoride in the water. I think we need to take another look at the issue of fluoridation and build a consensus as to which way to go.

AC: Pootmans showed up at all the community events. He represented the residents’ concerns and fostered a transparent environment.I would make sure that we continue on that transparency because what you see is what you get with me and I would continue to work hard for ward 6

JB: Pootmans was very effective on different social media channels and he was very good at taking events happening in the community and publishing them on twitter and I would ensure to be active on social media if I get elected.

SY: Pootmans often helped his constituents in difficult situations and took their voice forward. and I plan to continue to do this if i get elected.

GN: The open houses Pootmans had, to share information with residents on important issues with the city, was a very effective way to get in touch with the residents.

Sean YostSean Yost addresses the issue of housing in Ward 6. Photo by Tyler Ryan

Q: What is the first issue you would tackle if elected?

ER: I will tackle the budget first and how I can get Calgary open for business again.

JD: Traffic, safety and infrastructure.

AC: I will help the ward understand where they are spending money and foster businesses to help create sustainable communities.  

ST: Taking a look at the budget and more responsible management of taxpayer dollars, elimination or reduction of funding to public art projects.  

SK: The first issue I will tackle would be improving property tax assessment and reporting.

JB: City council needs to look at more strategies and more programs that involves taxes, regulatory policy and being very proactive of driving new economies and new industries to see Calgary as a place to relocate.

SY: Transparency is a big one for me. I believe if we can get out of being in camera, that would help get a lot of things resolved.  

GN: The first issue we will all tackle will be dealing with the budget deficit and it will be related to making decisions on what has to be cut and what has to be maintained.

Editor: Mason Benning |

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