Your Vote: Focus Should Be on Tight Budgets, Busy Neighborhoods and Jobs, These South Calgary Residents Say
Pass through some of Calgary’s southernmost neighborhoods and you might be wondering if a municipal election is underway.
Signs are scarce in Cranston and Seton, two areas of Ward 12 just a 10-minute drive from Okotoks. But with the federal election on the books, residents say the conversations are slowly starting to turn local.
Ward 12 has an open race without a holder. It is also one of the city’s youngest neighborhoods, with more than half of its residents under the age of 35.
CBC Calgary spoke to several people in the neighborhood earlier this week with the aim of hearing from voters across the city. We will use what we learn to shape our coverage, both during this election campaign and after. You are welcome to add your thoughts here.
Here’s what five residents of Seton and Cranston had to say.
Kara Wurmnest sees herself as part of a younger generation of voters. She moved here to work from Winnipeg several years ago and is just starting to keep up with the issues.
In his experience, Calgary is a great place to find work, but finding long-term jobs is not easy. This is something she would like candidates to focus on. Then there is the arena.
âI would love to see a new arena develop and not just talk about it for the next five to six years,â she said.
âAnd also affordable housing. Living in the south there are a lot of good affordable places, but I would also like to see this downtown area more.
âToday they build the bigger houses but as duplexes. It’s great. I think it’s a lot more affordable. But it just seems out of reach for a single person to even have a house. single family in town right now, unless you’re driving to Okotoks at this point. It would be nice to see that go down a bit.â¦ I would move downtown a lot more if I had the opportunity and the money to do it. “
âI would like them to talk about fiscal responsibility. It’s all kinds of things, like making sure we don’t spend more than what we get. we can’t pay, âCory Murphy said, stopping to speak in front of the Sobeys in Cranston.
Murphy says he’s already had two candidates on his doorstep. But there are so many people running around that it’s hard to keep them straight or remember a name.
âThe only guy was talking about taking a more business perspective. It sounds interesting, but (a city is) not really a business,â he said.
âI would like to see (the board) weigh the pros and cons of each decision a little more.â¦ Like the new arena, there are positives to it,â he said. “Or the whole police fundraising movement. It’s something you can also look at. It’s not about funding the police, it’s about shifting resources for better use.”
When Marie Regimbald walks through her quiet neighborhood filled with new five-story apartment or condo buildings, she wonders about the city’s urban planning. It’s filling up, but the neighborhood businesses that are supposed to come with the density seem to be lagging behind.
“There is more traffic, but there is no cafe, no small store. Everything is on hold. So we have to go to the next neighborhood to do our shopping,” said Regimbald, walking his dog. Loki in the late afternoon.
“There is one (shopping site) on the other side of Seton, but only half of the stores built. It’s supposed to be a park with trees but there is nothing, so no one is going, âshe said. “It’s not smart. It’s smart to plan for 20 years, but a neighborhood development shouldn’t last 20 years, it should last five years.”
Regimbald reduced to a condo here. She said planning and developing new neighborhoods is something she would like to ask candidates about. The other is how they would handle the pandemic.
At the moment, the blame for the fourth wave is focused on the premier of Alberta, she said. But what about city council decisions? Responding to the pandemic is the real priority, she says.
“The trees, they can wait a year.”
Outside of Dr. George Stanley School, Gurbachan Hayer was waiting to pick up his granddaughter from college. He hasn’t given much thought to the municipal elections yet, but taxes are his priority.
âI want honest politicians who can think about property taxesâ¦ which always go up, never go down,â he said.
He says an increase is understandable when inflation is four percent, as was reported this fall. But since moving to Calgary in 2008, he can’t remember a time when taxes went down.
Yet knowing how to vote will take some research, he says: âIt’s not just one problem. There are so many problems.
When Glenn Foster looks around Seton he says the traffic is okay and the neighborhood is developing well. These are the bigger city-wide issues that he will be watching in the countryside, he said.
When candidates come to his door: âI would like to see how thoughtful their ideas are for where they see the city.
âThe downtown area of ââthe city has a problem with vacancy rates reflecting our economy right now. I don’t know how well the city can solve this problem,â he said. “[Council is] spend money to convert buildings into housing. It could attract people downtown. I suspect we need to involve business as well. “
What would you want candidates to talk about, both for your neighborhood and for the city? Tell us about it, give us the details and together we can delve into some key electoral issues. You are welcome to add your thoughts here.