Friday, September 6, 2013

McCreath responds to Telegram Survey for Candidates

1. What is your name?

Jennifer McCreath

2. What spot on council are you vying for or do you already hold?

Deputy Mayor

3. What's the most pressing issue facing the capital city?

I am extremely worried about what appears to be an increase in illegal drug trade, and the associated violent crime that comes with this. I am also concerned about the increase of traffic and its subsequent increase in dangerous driving. I'd like to see more speed bumps put into residential areas to slow down traffic, and I'd like to see more traffic enforcement officers deployed to catch dangerous drivers and get them off the roads.

4. Do you think building height restrictions and heritage regulations should be strictly enforced in designated areas?

Current city council seems to break these rules at random, without any clear cut guideline that demonstrates why or how the rules can be broken. We as a new City council need to engage all citizens to come up with a protocol that everyone can be comfortable with. We need a fine balance between preserving our heritage and allowing suitable growth. While I think it is unavoidable to suggest that no further tall buildings should be erected downtown, I'd like to see a focus on building up in places outside of downtown.

5. Do you support further regionalization of services and facilities, such as public transit and recreation?

We definitely need to take steps to make it easier to transport people in and out of St. John's, from neighbouring towns. Whether this is done through Metrobus alone, or a partnership with other transportation orgs, I'd like to see 'park n ride' programs set up with express bus service, so people can park at the edge of town, and get express shuttle service to areas such as MUN and downtown, in a fast manner.

As far as recreation, i am definitely open to working together with neighbouring towns to come up with better products and services of these natures.

6. Would you support the construction of new arenas to provide more ice time to minor hockey groups, adult recreation hockey teams and figure-skating groups?

There are never too many ice rinks in a place where hockey is our national sport. At the same time, finding suitable ways to finance such projects would be critical. Perhaps forming public-private-partnerships, might be a good way to get more rinks constructed, and rinks that are accessible to all.

7. If St. John's makes a bid for the 2021 Canada Summer Games, how would the city fund the hosting of that event? Would you support the construction of new facilities for the Games, such as a new swimming/diving facility and indoor/outdoor track and field facility?

I love the idea of St. John's hosting a major sporting event, and having new or modified sports facilities will leave a legacy for citizens to use and enjoy for years to come. At the same time, financing a project like this would be expensive. We would have to make sure that we have appropriate resources - including investors, to ensure that we do not put other programs and services at risk, in order to pay for it. If St. John's makes a bid for the 2021 Canada Summer Games, how would the city fund the hosting of that event? Would you support the construction of new facilities for the Games, such as a new swimming/diving facility and indoor/outdoor track and field facility?

8. What would council do to facilitate the signing of a long-term contract between the St. John's IceCaps and the Winnipeg Jets?

It would be my goal to develop good rapport and working relationships with representatives from both teams, so I can best understand what the issues are that may impede the ability to get a long term deal signed. I realize that the Ice Caps have had to take on additional challenges and liabilities - specifically covering travel costs of visiting teams, due to our geographic location. Ultimately, it is important to have this hockey team here. At the same time, we have to make sure that we do not spend an unreasonably high amount of money on them, to the point that other city products and services fall below the expectations levels of citizens. If needed, I would help to find private investors and advertisers for the Ice Caps, to bring in additional revenue needed, to satisfy the Winnipeg Jets.

9. Would you support enforcing conditions on developers which would require them to set aside space for recreation activities (ball fields, soccer pitches) and leisure activities (bike path, walking trails) as part of residential developments?

Yes, I would definitely be in support of an initiative such as this. There are far too many new development neighbourhoods that have all housing and nothing else. This means that folks are forced to travel by car, to do anything, or get anywhere.

10. What can a municipal council do to combat crime?

I think the new City Council needs to push hard to develop stronger relationships with the Provincial and Federal Justice systems, so that they have a strong understanding of the increased challenges we have faced, as a growing city. I would also like to initiate educational programs that proactively engage society on crime prevention work, as well as put together programs that help to understand the root causes for crime, and take steps to proactively prevent it before it happens.

11. What can a municipal council do to address the shortage of affordable housing in St. John's?

I would like to create incentive programs to make it more appealing for developers to create apartment buildings and smaller dwellings, rather than just build mega houses. I would also be open to public-private partnerships, and perhaps even outright City development projects, to ensure low-cost housing units get built in this city.

12. Given the current realities of the economy and the fact that many people's salaries have not kept pace with the rising cost of living, would you support capping residential assessments and increasing commercial mill rates?

We definitely need to take a closer look at existing tax policies to ensure that we are not taxing people too much to the point where their quality of life is suffering. At the same time, i think a sliding scale would be a better approach than an outright cap. Furthermore, we need to also be careful not to over-tax businesses to the point where they are unable to turn a profit deemed suitable to their wants and needs, to the point where they close up shop and take their business elsewhere.

13. What can a municipal council do to encourage business investment in the city?

I think we can demonstrate to any potential businesses, based on our statistics, that we have a thriving economy that contains tons of people who have high levels of disposable income. I think we can also demonstrate that as our city grows, there will be certain neighbourhoods of housing development areas that will be in need of certain types of businesses to come in and complete their neighbourhoods.

14. Would you support a review of conflict of interest rules and the general code of conduct for councillors?

Yes absolutely. Integrity of public office-holders is critically important to having a citizenship population that has trust, faith, and support for the council. Any steps taken to ensure better transparency and accountability, is something I would support. Would you support a review of conflict of interest rules and the general code of conduct for councillors?

15. What can a municipal council do to address the growing gap between rich and poor?

I think we need to work closely with schools to figure out how we can do a better job mapping up young graduates with entry-level jobs in organizations that will allow them to fulfill their potential. It is alarming that there seems to be labour shortages in certain industries, yet at the same time, thousands of St. John's natives seem to be leaving to Fort McMurray to find suitable work.

16. What can a municipal council do to address the downtown parking shortage and traffic flow issues?

We need to come up with alternative ways to get people in and out of downtown, so not everyone has to drive. I'd like to set up park n ride shuttle services on the edge of town, so folks who live outside of the city, can get express shuttle service to MUN and downtown, while being able to leave their cars outside of town.

I'd also like to review Metrobus to see if we can do a better job making the service more efficient, so people will be more likely to take the bus, rather than drive.

I think we also need to promote development of commercial establishments outside of downtown, so more people can work closer to home, and fewer people will have to work down town.

17. Do you think members of council are paid enough?

Considering that 10 of the 11 positions are considered 'part-time', i would suggest that yes, the salary levels are enough. However, given the large rate of growth our city seems to be facing, I would certainly like to take a look at examining whether or not we should consider making more of these positions into full-time rolls.

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