Steve continues his efforts to knock on every door in Ward One. He is eager to meet with you, engage and listen. During his door knocking efforts the conversations vary but have a few common themes. Here you can read more about the conversation ‘at the door’. We will update this section up until election day, Monday, October 18th. We encourage you to reach out if you would like to speak to Steve individually.
When it comes to anything involving COVID-19, I’ll preface the answer by giving full disclosure: I’ve been fully vaccinated since June. I studied science at the University of Victoria, where I worked on my Bachelor of Science with a major in biology. I follow what makes sense to me from my perspective and my education. I will, however, engage with businesses and residents who have differing opinions than myself.
I stand for people's freedom, and I stand for people's safety and prosperity. I don't believe in ruling through fear, but I also think that decisions must be made to ensure Calgarians can live as normal of a life as possible, safely. My focus will be on cooperating with the developing Covid measures and the interconnected response between the city and the provincial government. I’m not looking at past votes or decisions by municipal or provincial governments to make my decisions; it seems to me that no one has gotten the pandemic response totally right. It’s been a learning experience for all governments. My own opinion about how the pandemic is being managed will not influence how I make decisions in Council. I’m going to represent the people of Ward One and support their needs and wants. Not my own. I’m now looking at the path forward considering what has already occurred.
I believe that it’s my duty to keep the residents of Ward One safe and ensure their voices are heard. I’ll ensure in whatever way I can that they get the essential services they expect and the support to navigate the pandemic. I also want to ensure businesses can survive through the pandemic. I’ll move to ensure Council collaborates with the province, not against it, to guarantee that the mutual work of Calgary and Alberta is geared toward helping our residents and businesses and ensuring their safety and prosperity. Currently, the disconnect between the Province and the City does nothing for the residents of Ward One or Calgary overall. It’s created division and confusion surrounding the pandemic, and that will be the real focus of my attention while trying to fight the effects of the pandemic, i.e., by creating meaningful collaboration across the two levels of government that we rely on to get us through this challenge. We also need to engage the community when making decisions. I’ll ensure that residents and small businesses are consulted prior to casting votes that will impact them the most. I’ll listen to their concerns rather than dictate the rules. That’s my promise!
Please read my ‘3 Pillars’ on my website to learn more and understand how I’ll engage the residents of Ward One to amplify their voices and not my own personal position. I would welcome your input on the topic. The more input I get from residents of Ward One, the better decisions I make.
I will be pragmatic and practical when it comes to the inflationary state of the economy and work to restore voter confidence at city hall. The cost of living, wage inflation within the city and worker shortages for small businesses will have to be addressed. I will ask city hall to look at innovative ideas to ensure we are prepared to help individuals and get out of the way of small businesses in the Post Covid World.
To be practical and pragmatic means I understand the need for efficiency and productivity for success. That’s why I am proposing a budget freeze for 3 years at city hall so we can do a cost benefit analysis on the current finances and ensure we add value to taxpayers’ money. I will work with our residents to help our communities come out of this pandemic hitting the ground running.
- We need to work more collaboratively and not combatively with the provincial government to make better decisions for the safety of Calgarians getting through this pandemic. Only then can we restore confidence in our municipal government in the eyes of my fellow Ward One residents.
- We must get innovative with how we provide services at City Hall and look at what services might not be in the best interests of broader Calgarians.
- We need to collaborate with technology, entertainment, indoor agriculture and innovation companies and give them breaks on fees and bureaucracy to encourage them into our downtown core and other areas that have seen a increased vacancy rates.
Budget & Taxes
Over the past 20 years we have seen a trend of increased taxes that dramatically outpaces inflation and the CPI with no measurable increase to city services other than an expanding bureaucracy and a plethora of pet projects. We do not have a tax problem, we have a spending problem. Between administration and planning, we’ve seen 20 years of out-of-control spending which we are now seeing the results from on our tax bills.
- Currently, the city of Calgary does not have an annual budget. This highlights how our institutional bureaucracy focuses on process rather than outcomes. As we know a failure to plan is a plan to fail.
- At the doors, I’ve been hearing that city services and city owned businesses are coming into question. We need council representation back on the Enmax board. We need to be able to review the cost benefit analysis for all city services and businesses to ensure we’re providing transparent value for Calgarians. We need to be pragmatic in our approach of reviewing city budgets by measuring cost inputs and measurable outcomes again, focusing on outcomes rather than processes.
When we get a handle on the spending problem, we can start adding value back to Calgarians tax dollars.
- Bike lanes. My family and I do a lot of dog walking and bike riding in the community where we live in Scenic Acres. Communities in Ward One for the most part they are well planned, offering highly connected pathway systems that provide access to residents to walk or cycle through our communities safely. There’s a safety issue present on the new Silver Springs Blvd. bike lane. I’ve personally witnessed a cyclist nearly get hit at Silverthorn Rd. In addition to this the Silver Spring bike lane is seldom used and will require twice annual setup and takedown. Is this a responsible use of taxpayer’s money?
- Speeding and intersection safety: I think Calgary should focus on dangerous intersections and high collision locations rather than blanket policies for speed and safety considerations. I’ve heard at the doors that feeder roads are where the biggest issue are. Scenic Acres Drive, Silver Springs Blvd, and Varsity Drive where a young girl was killed a couple of years back are examples of where we need to focus our efforts. We need creative solutions that calm traffic but don’t choke off main roads like the situation in Bowness & Montgomery. I’ve spoken with first responders who are concerned about their ability to get through the new bottleneck in Bowness that may hamper fire trucks and ambulances. Keeping our resident’s safe is a key priority.
- Snow clearing and removal. Our equipment for snow clearing is not effective for a city that gets as much snow as Calgary. We need to do a better job. Front end plows instead of undercarriage graders can allow the city to do what other cities have done. With large front-end plows, we can push the snow to the centre of the streets. I can’t commit this can happen in a year, but we need to start the conversation at city hall now. This means the senior citizen from Bowness who just shoveled out their parked car does not have to do it a second time after the plows come through. I’ve heard a lot of stories of seniors who end up in an ambulance after excessive snow shoveling and now, we don’t know if they’ll get to the hospital in time because the city has choked off the street in Bowness/Montgomery. We also need to be sensible about our priorities.
We need collaboration with all stakeholders to combat this increasingly prominent issue. Let’s be clear that this is not simply a financial issue. This is an issue of social fabric, family dynamics, educational procedures and availability of services, programs, and facilities. It requires a collaborative discussion amongst all 3 levels of government. The city at no cost to taxpayers can still provide help with free or affordable transit and integrated plans that work with volunteers, non-profits, and the community to create a measurable plan to combat homelessness, poverty, and addiction.
The plan must be a wholesale plan that addresses these interconnected issues. Council must engage with other municipalities who have achieved success in this area to learn and craft a plan for Calgary that fits best to help those who have fallen on difficult times.
Retaining & Attracting Residents to Calgary
It costs substantially more to attract new people and business than it does to nurture local. Having said this, I think we need to first focus on keeping our local businesses and residents in Calgary and then secondly, focus on attracting new residents and businesses.
How do we keep our locals local? First, we need to ensure we are giving them confidence in their government. a city that has an unpredictable tax environment will never encourage new businesses to set up shop in Calgary. This means having an accountable government, so people feel secure, and they are confident that they know what to expect from their leaders. Calgary needs to be a green and vibrant city. We need to nurture our fine arts, but the current program needs an overhaul. Art is a key part of a vibrant city that can express its culture and contributes to the mental well-being of our residents.
Calgary places last on the top 10 cities in Canada, greenest cities report. We must protect and maintain our parks, green spaces, and canopy. We also need to collaborate with the province to look at the long-term protection of our water and the bow river corridor for generations to come. Flooding and water availability are both issues facing ward one and Calgary that need to be addressed.
I have spoken to companies that also work outside of Calgary and internationally and the common message is that Calgary is one of the most difficult cities in the world to do business. To attract new businesses, we must streamline the process at City Hall which means less institutional bureaucracy and more collaboration.
I will be researching my position on my school board trustee, my position on equalization payments, my senator nomination, and my stance on fluoride after 9:00pm on October 17th. At present I campaign consumes 16-20 hrs of my day and I simply won't have time to do my research before then. What I can tell you is that my own opinion on fluoride won't mean a thing when it comes to representing the voices of Ward One. My commitment is to connect and collaborate with Ward One residents and then to champion their voices. That's how this system is meant to work, and I'd like to see it restored!
My plan to engage the community is this; I will create advisory committees that are made up of community leaders, business owners, community representatives and anyone who wants to volunteer to help me make decisions on behalf of the community. I will hold regular town hall meetings to ensure I hear the voices of the Ward residents firsthand. Finally, I will make myself available by email or phone to respond to residents. I plan to implement the opposite of what Ward One has become accustomed to over the past 8 years when it pertains to availability of your Councillor.