I believe that Leduc should be seen as a leader in open government. This means that we should conduct a policy review regarding in camera meetings. The principle we should always observe, and that is required by the Municipal Government Act, is that council needs to conduct all their business in public, except when they cannot due to contractual or specific privacy issues. In general, we have done a reasonable job in this area. However, at times, in my opinion, in camera has been overused and its use has not been justified. I have vocalized this concern on numerous occasions. Over use of in camera meetings can have a negative impact in terms of transparency to the public and can lead to a sense of distrust and lack of accountability. Also, the lack of public discourse can have a negative effect on the quality of decisions made.
Web Podcasting for Council Meetings
I think it is time that Leduc made all Council meetings available on Closed Circuit Television. Citizens need easy access to find out what is happening at council without having to commit an entire night to attend in person. This access would enhance public engagement and council accountability.
Council Meetings at High Schools
Once per year we should hold council meetings during the day at the High Schools to engage students in council processes and civic issues.
2. Responsible Development
We have mainly Very Good developers in Leduc. I believe we always need to ensure that development plans are clear and well communciated.There have been times that this has not been the case and this is unacceptable. In addtion, where the city is putting in amenities and multiways, this needs to be determined very early int he development process so those who are buying and having homes built know what is going to be put in beside them or near them. this is only fair. Developmers need to be held more accountable in cases where they have not performed their commitments to the detriment of residents and the city.
We need to strengthen our development agreements to ensure compliance and proactive action on weed control by developers. We have to have contractural obligations to keep development area free of garbage etc.. We should look at requiring additonal letters of credit to cover any expenses the City has to undertake including administrative costs involved in follow=up action to ensure compliance. This has been a problem for many years and its time we got tougher in this policy area, in my opinion.
3. LRC marketing
The success of the LRC depends on members receiving a high level of value for the fees that they pay. A key strategy is to continually find ways to add new membership benefits. The first initiative I spearheaded was to arrange the 2 for 1 offer at MacLab Theatre for LRC members. I am also looking to arrange benefits for LRC members from other businesses and organizations, so as to hopefuly make LRC membership cards a city-wide benefit card.
4. City Marketing
In the past we have partnered with builders for our "Build With Us" campaigns, involving shared expenses to highlight the city as a great place to live and build a home. In the future, I believe that when the city markets itself, we should key on our Multiway Trail System. We have over 70 km of trails and more being developed each year. My idea is that we could develop our marketing around the Multiway Trail System, including signage, advertising and structure built around this theme. Advertising would have pictures of the multiways and users around Leduc, with captions along this theme. For example, "Multiways to a great life" or "Leduc is your pathway to Nature, your pathway to family fun, your pathway to fitness, your pathway to recreation," etc. This theme can help in the design of "way finding" signs for tourists.
When we undertake a City marketing plan, we should involve the public and local business. We could have a contest to get the best photographs of people enjoying the multipaths. Winning or finalist photographs could be chosen by the voting public online. Local graphic artists and printers could also hopefully be utilized to devleop our marketing material. The more made-in-Leduc the marketing plan is, the better!
5. Telford Lake Development
I am very supportive of the development of the Telford Lake Master plan. This in itself is an important long-term goal for the city as it will enhance the quality of life for residents and increase tourism opportunities, as well.
6. Downtown Redevelopment
It is important to invest and encourage investment into the downtown area. Benches, flowers and light standards should be put in place on 51 Ave and the side streets to enhance a larger area of downtown, not just main street. We should consider putting in a semi-permanent public washroom near the Gazebo behind the ATB to make it more friendly for families to spend time downtown. We should consider making a mni park behind the BMO when that old civic building is demolished.
7. Economic Development
I believe we could have done a much better job in terms of providing value to taxpayers in the area of economic development during the past six years. We have spent over $2 million dollars in this time and have little success to show for this expense, in my opinion. Two and a half years ago I introduced and promoted the idea of the city needing its own economic development officer, as we currently have no capacity to respond or to proactively pursue opportunities and needs in this critical area. This idea was not endorsed by council but now, finally, the idea has gained some traction.
We have much to promote and much to do in Leduc to maximize the non-residential assessment base in Leduc to keep residential tax rates under control. The EDA cannot do this for us - it is not their mandate. We need to develop our own marketing materials, to promote downtown, to quarterback campaigns encouraging local shopping, to actively pursue specific industries and businesses that would contribute to our community. In the future, the process of economic development has to be driven by accountability and deliverables and value to taxpayers, not by politics, in my opinion.
8. Celebrating Local business
We have an outstanding business community. They generously and endlessly donate to all of our local charities and sponsor so many teams, events and facilities in Leduc. We should celebrate and recognize local businesses in a yearly campaign. The city should provide funding and work with the Chamber of Commerce and the DPA and possibly the EDA to reward shoppers who support local businesses and identify shop-local heros in our community.
9. Commitment to the Arts
As a Board Member of MacLab Society and of the Leduc Performing Arts and Cultural Foundation, we introduced a scholarship program for talented youth in our city. I originated and spearheaded the idea to provide MacLab benefits to LRC members with the view to increase the target market and exposure of MacLab Theatre productions.
I also worked in partnership with the Leduc Arts Club to feature the work of local artists at the Riseup fundraiser event held at the City Centre atrium in December 2012. This event was very successful and very well received. My goal is to continue to promote both public art and public artists in the future.
10. Annexation issue
Edmonton's annexation efforts could potentially have a significant negative impact on Leduc County, as well as the City of Leduc. While Edmonton has the right to grow, they need to be more consultative with Leduc county. It is not fair if Leduc County is impaired financially as a result of annexation. It is not necessary that Edmonton International Airport be located within the city borders. Many metropolitan airports, such as those in Toronto and Vancouver, are located outside the city boundaries.
The City of Leduc should help defend the needs of Leduc County. In addition, our city has important vested interests that we need to protect and we will not sit still when threatened with these negative impacts. Leduc should remain independent of Edmonton as a top priority.
Annexation does not address the on-going need to look at governance models. There will not be fewer municipalities after annexation, in whatever form that might take, so the long term issue of the governance model for the whole Captial Region will still not be addressed. What would a the new capital region model look like and where would the borders be? We need to look very closely at what the future might hold. It is my belief that Edmonton wants to expand its borders to become a greater Edmonton. Where will Leduc stand after the dust settles? However long the process takes, we want to ensure that we do not end up as part of Edmonton at the end of the day.
11. Other Ideas
- We should have A Senior's Day once per year with free access to the LRC and guest speakers and light food etc.to provide appreciation to the seniors in our community
- We should sponsor an annual event for newcomers to Leduc, making them feel welcome and providing information about ways they can become Involved and engaged.
- We should freeze minor sports rental rates for the next year and then keep them at 60-65% of adult rates to ensure that recreational sports opportunities remain affordable
- We should review the need for another off-leash dog park in south Leduc
- We should establish policy/processes for the city to support community leagues for the future
- Review the idea to reduce speed limits in residentail areas to 40 km/hour