Edmonton Votes, 2007

Believe it or not, Edmonton will elect a new city Council in less than one week. Here's how I see things in a couple of wards.

Ward 4

Ben Henderson is a strong contender to fill Michael Phair's empty seat this time around. This is his third time running in this ward, and he came close to upsetting incumbent Jane Batty last time. I believe that Henderson will be a strong progressive voice on city Council. While I have heard that he is not all that knowledgeable on green issues, his heart is in the right place, and I think that he will vote green on municipal issues such as pesticides, an anti-idling bylaw, smart growth initiatives, and energy-efficient municipal buildings and vehicles.

Two other strongish contenders are worthy of green votes. Hana Razga is very environmentally minded. However, in her wish to ban drive-throughs, she strikes me as somewhat unrealistic. Don't get me wrong. I hate drive-throughs as much as the next tree hugger. However, this is Edmonton, Alberta. Given her extensive experience in other sectors, though, I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt.

Lewis Cardinal is another strong contender in ward 4. I don't know much about him except that it has a chance to win and he talks a good green game on his (amateurish) web site.

Finally, do not under any circumstances vote for Debbie Yeung if you care about the environment. Her campaign literature contains nothing about green issues. She is one of these politicians pushing the tired, boring line of lower taxes and more "efficient government". In other words, she's telling us that we can get good services without paying for them. Lastly, she is cooperating with Mike Nickel in this campaign. See below for my opinion on Mike Nickel.

Ward 5

Don Iveson is your man in ward 5. He is an excellent speaker, and I really believe that he understands the issues. Please visit his excellent web site, and vote for this green candidate for city Council.

Do NOT vote for Mike Nickel if you live in ward 5 and care about the environment. Nickel has never seen a pollution cloud or barrel of pesticides that he didn't love. If it can lower taxes, this man will vote for a dirtier environment. At a recent subcommittee hearing on the anti-idling bylaw, he was practically rolling his eyes at a very courageous 11-year-old girl who was arguing on behalf of cleaner air. Down with Nickel!

You can find out which ward you're in right here.

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His October 9, 2007 letter to the Edmonton Journal:

We're not green yet

Re: "City falls behind on green action," Editorial, Sept. 29.

It is indeed premature to celebrate Edmonton as a green city. Central among the reasons I am running for council is a need for better urban planning focused on smart, sustainable growth.

Our waste management is superb, and we've preserved a great deal of green space. The editorial also correctly notes that we have a long way to go on greening our city vehicles. Unaddressed, however, are the significant environmental implications of our land-use and transportation patterns, which are far from sustainable.

Urban sprawl must gradually shift in favour of higher densities on smaller footprints, especially on "brownlands" in the core, such as underutilized railyards or long-vacant lots. This doesn't necessarily mean highrises; it can mean more duplexes and townhomes.

Cohesive, sustainable land-use and transportation planning will require cooperation across the capital region, lest we simply push urban sprawl into adjacent municipalities. Without a regional conversation, we have little hope of optimizing land use and transportation to create a more sustainable city and region, which is why we must to continue to demand the province broker a partnership between Edmonton and the surrounding municipalities.

We also urgently need to improve public transit by increasing reliability, frequency, speed and safety to encourage a shift away from dependency on cars.

Although greening the municipal fleet is an important step, we need to alter urban planning to design a more sustainable city.

Don Iveson, candidate, Ward 5


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