Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Jennifer answers questions posed to Mayoral Candidates by CBC NL 9/3/13

The CBC recently surveyed the three mayoral candidates on key issues. Unfortunately, they did not reach out to me as a Deputy Mayor candidate, for my feedback. However, i am proactively going to provide my answers and feedback to these issues, as i want all voters to get a sense for my ideas and visions for these critical situations!

1. Briefly, why should voters trust you in the mayor's chair?

2. How do you describe your philosophy on development?

3. What are the greatest threats facing St. John's?

4. What is the best solution to downtown parking problems?

5. What's the best path for the city in terms of how it works with neighbouring municipalities?

6. What's the one thing about St. John's you would most like to change?

7. The harbour fence: was it worth it?

8. The city over the years has been on the hook for expensive over-runs on big-ticket construction projects. What will you do to prevent this from happening in the future?

My Responses:

1 - Voters should trust me because i have a proven record of public stewardship from both a professional and volunteer history. i also have demonstrated advocacy for government transparency and accountability.

2 - We need a longer term vision plan for development. one that includes building up instead of out, in some cases, to combat urban sprawl. we need to develop areas of the city outside of downtown to make the city more stronger. We need to plan and collaborate with neighbouring towns to reduce the reliance on St. John's services.  we need a careful balance between development vs preserving our heritage buildings, cultural history, and green space.

3 - Growth is good, but too much growth too fast, can lead to significant challenges. having a strong plan to anticipate how the rapid rate of growth will affect the city, is critical. 

4 - We need to do a better job finding alternate ways to transport people in and out of downtown. We also need to build up the rest of the city, so people aren't always having to go downtown for things that they may prefer to do elsewhere.

5 - We need an equal level of respect for all and we need to work in collaborative committee-like setting, where we view metro st. john's as a region, in which we are all part of the same team.

6- I'd like to take steps to clean up the harbour as well as the ponds and lakes. having clean outdoor places to walk and swim, adds so much to this city. it would make the city more enjoyable for both residents and tourists. I also have concerns about what appears to be an increase in drug-related crimes. the thought of biker gangs having gun shoot-outs in quiet neighbourhoods, is a serious threat for the city!

7 - While I appreciate that the fence was necessary to meet security standards, I still have not seen a valid reason to justify why the city spent money on something that should have been exclusively paid for by the port authority.

8 - Steps need to be taken to ensure that cost-over runs by private companies, are paid for by private companies or their project insurance companies. No reason for tax payers to foot the bill because of private company error or miscalculations. At the same time, if and when the City agrees to champion a project, there needs to be a protocol in place to determine what level of risk the city is willing and able to take, so that tax payers won't be left on the hook for this.

9 - I'd like to see a more collaboration and partnerships with other levels of government - both in terms of the provincial and federal governments, as well as neighbouring towns.  We need start thinking of St. John's as a metropolitan region, and take steps to ensure the highest quality of life and the most efficiency and effectiveness of products and services, for all.

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