I am often asked what motivated me to run for City Council. The answer is that there isn’t one specific policy or issue that makes me want to make my voice heard in City Hall.
Instead, what I want to see in Edmonton is a meaningful process that allows all our voices to be heard.
Community-building and city-building should be citizen-driven. But right now, it feels like the most important goals and priorities for our communities are dictated to us from above. There is a lack of connection between the day-to-day lives of most Edmontonians, and the City’s planning and policies.
The City follows a very limited definition of public engagement and does not effectively include the voices of marginalized Edmontonians in the conversation. I’ve seen first-hand the frustration that comes from the City’s existing engagement strategies, which too often leave Edmontonians feeling ignored. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
My professional life has been dedicated to finding collaborative, grassroots solutions to complicated problems.
In my graduate research, I engaged a First Nations community as a partner in exploring physical activity and identifying solutions to promote wellness. I’ve been able to bring this experience into my own communities as a volunteer, for example, in the early phases of the QA Crossroads project in Queen Alexandra. In that project, a group of neighbours presented the City with a list of principles and priorities for revitalizing their neighbourhood.
I believe the true value of public engagement lies in the empowerment of people and communities to advocate and speak for themselves on what they think is important. Two-way communication, and more importantly negotiation, can have a long-term return on investment because of the community buy-in that they help to build. This will be my priority as your Ward 11 Councillor.