• Prudent financial management
• Prioritize road repair and maintenance
• Revitalize greenspaces and playgrounds
• Responsive snow clearance
• Keep property-tax increases low
• Ensure strong community policing
• Commit to responsive and accountable representation
• Support open-data initiatives
• Help our many senior citizens
• Improve transportation options
Prudent Financial Management & Taxes
Saskatoon has an excellent financial track record and an AAA/stable credit-rating from Standard & Poor’s. Our good credit rating helps us secure advantageous interest rates to fund major capital projects. In turn, low-interest rates help keep property tax increases low.
There must be a balance between debt-financed infrastructure programs and fiscal restraint. Unabated capital expenditure will put pressure on budgetary performance, debt, and liquidity and lead to lower credit-ratings and higher property taxes.
The prosperity we enjoy must not be squandered or unnecessarily risked, so I favour prudent budget management, which includes focusing on keeping property taxes affordable. Staying focused on the priorities of residents will likely reduce the available resources for other discretionary spending. However, keeping property tax increases low for citizens and businesses will help Saskatoon stay affordable for residents, and maintain an attractive climate for new and existing commerce and industry.
“After so many major, and expensive, capital projects, it’s time to refocus on the basics. Let’s get make sure the fundamentals of our city are sound, as we prepare for continued growth.”
Revitalized Green Spaces
Our neighbourhoods have some of the city’s best parks, allowing us to enjoy the beauty of nature through all of our seasons. In order to retain our quality of life, we must continue to invest in these green spaces, revitalizing the fields, the playgrounds, and the pathways. For too long, we’ve allowed our city’s playgrounds to age, and left the effort of replacing them to local community groups. It’s time for the city to step forward and once again fund playground improvement and replacement.
As well, the city should invest further in community association activities, and encourage more winter activities in our parks.
The number one concern of residents in Ward 9 has been, and remains, the condition of our roads.
City Council has taken some steps to increase funding for road maintenance, including property tax dedicated to road maintenance. As well, city administration has developed a Roadway Financial Management Strategy to quantify and remedy the large road-maintenance deficit. As such, the condition of roads in Saskatoon has improved over the past four years, and complaints to the city about potholes, for instance, have apparently declined.
But anyone who drives in Saskatoon knows there remains much work to be done. Years of underfunding road maintenance continue to haunt us. The recent value-for-money audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers pointed out several opportunities for improvement.
So the next four years will be critical: either Saskatoon will reach its roadway maintenance targets, and create a much more enjoyable and safer experience for residents; or it will not, and our roads will again degrade.
My foremost concern is to make sure Saskatoon has well-maintained city infrastructure, with roadways at the top of that list.
We live in beautiful suburbs, with great access to commercial centres. But many residents commute daily to the University of Saskatchewan, city centre, or even further afield, and we must have a full-range of functional transportation options. This includes making fundamental investments in road maintenance and construction, but it also includes having reliable and speedy bus service along with safe walkways and bike routes.
Responsive Snow Clearance
Along with this must be timely and adequate snow clearance. Many residents have told me about snow clearance being done on their street when it isn’t required. We need a system that is more responsive to the specific needs on residential streets, moving snow when it will be effective and efficient. And, of course, in heavy-snow years, City Council must provide for additional snow clearance in our residential streets.
In school areas, we need to revise the city’s standards for removing snow windrows left after graders pass through. While some areas in front of the school are cleared of windrows, many adjacent areas become difficult to park in, and especially difficult for children to walk over/around safely. In short, we need to eliminate more windrows from school zones.
Ward 9 is one of the city’s safest areas of Saskatoon. Nevertheless, there have been several recent incidents that should give us pause.
As our city grows, we must take steps to ensure that criminal activity is deterred from spreading into our neighbourhoods. This means working closely with the Saskatoon Police Service to ensure they have the resources required to provide a robust preventative police presence and are able to respond quickly to calls and complaints.
In representing the residents of Ward 9, I will pursue greater transparency in decision-making at City Hall. I support open data initiatives at the city of Saskatoon to further develop transparency in governance and foster innovation. I will work diligently, and respond promptly to resident concerns and issues. Our ward has a large number of retirement communities and senior citizens, whose life-long contributions to our city and our country demand specific note and their needs particular attention. I promise to provide them the full assistance they deserve.