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Questions for Grande Prairie

Last week I talked to a woman who was eighteen years and one week old. We had a long conversation, mostly about recreation. She had great ideas and awesome questions. I hope she stays engaged with where our City is going. I also hope to be the first person she ever votes for.

I love hearing what topics people are passionate about and what questions they have. And I would love to hear yours. What are the questions that candidates should be discussing this election? What are the biggest questions that the next Council will need to address? What do we need to be talking about to make a more sustainable, livable, and connected Grande Prairie?

Following are the main topics and questions which have been brought up with me. What am I missing?

  • Taxation. More than anything else, people are talking to me about living in an expensive city. How can we realize savings for tax payers?
  • Cleanliness. A lot of people are telling me that the City feels dirtier than it did in the past. Is it getting dirtier? If so, why? What can be done about this?
  • The Leisure Centre pool. This pool has a price tag of about $15,000,000 to bring back into service. What do we do with it? Do we repair it? Do we demolish it and build a new pool? Do we demolish it and do something else with the land or the building?
  • City and County partnership. Regional partnership is vital, but sometimes we don’t act like partners. Upcoming provincial changes to the Municipal Government Act (mgareview.alberta.ca) are going to force us to work better together or go through mediation. How can City leadership work better with County leadership? Where can the organisations partner? When negotiating, what does the City need to stand firm on and where is there more room for give and take?
  • Roads. It being spring, pot holes are abundant. Are we investing enough into our roads? Are there better methods for fixing them?
  • Snow removal. This is always going to be controversial, largely because there is no one right way to do it. What method best addresses the current needs of Grande Prairie? How much should we spend on snow removal?
  • Downtown enhancement. Some much needed infrastructure work is happening down town, which brings opportunities and challenges. In addition to basic infrastructure, what extras are worth paying for? How can we help businesses survive through construction times? How do we get certain buildings downtown fixed or demolished? Do we need to do anything to create more parking downtown?
  • Downtown safety and services. How do we ensure employees and customers feel safe downtown, especially after dark? What social services do we need to add, and where do we put them? Do we need public washrooms, and if so where do they go?
  • Photo traffic enforcement. Some see it as a cash grab, some see it as an important safety strategy. Should it have a role in our City? If so, how do we ensure citizens have confidence that it is about safety and not revenue? If it is removed, do we increase other types of enforcement? What are other ways we can slow people down?
  • Liquor stores and dispensaries. Many people are concerned about the opening of new liquor stores. And upcoming changes to Federal law are going to create new businesses focused around marijuana. Do we need regulations or limits on these types of businesses? If so, what is reasonable?
  • Multi-family housing. This is vital- it provides people in all family situations with affordable places to live, and it is more efficient for the city to service than detached single family housing. At the same time, Council can cause damage by forcing too much of it or by forcing it into poor locations. What should the City’s policies around multi-family housing development be? How do we get the right amount of it in the right places?
  • The Eastlink Centre. This is an awesome physical facility, but most people are frustrated with it. How can Council work with city staff to help fix the ongoing problems at this facility?
  • Civic engagement. This is a topic I am very passionate about. How can the City and Council do a better job of communicating with citizens? How can we do a better job of giving community members input into our City?

In my next few blog posts, I’m going to get more concrete. I will be sharing some of my ideas about how to address some of these questions. But for now, I’d love to hear from you.

Which of these questions is the most important? What are the important questions that I have missed? Do you have some answers to any of these questions? Let me know. Comment on this post, give me a call or email, or post this on Facebook and tag me.

-Dylan