Ward Karhiio: What I'm hearing from community members
To get to know the people who live, work, and play in Ward Karhiio, I have been having virtual community conversations with constituents, spending time exploring the Ward, and engaging with business owners. Through these interactions, I have heard a number of concerns that connect back to the issues that the entire City of Edmonton is facing.
Community Wellbeing and Safety: With the pandemic, many people in Ward Karhiio have been working from home. As such, there has been an increase in the number of people walking, biking, skateboarding, and just generally moving through the neighbourhoods and using the surrounding multi-use trails. For example, the trail along 91 Street in Mill Woods is incredibly busy right now.
COVID-19 is changing how communities members use space. The residents of Ward Karhiio think that these patterns will continue in the years to come, and are interested in infrastructure and policy that support and encourage people to spend time outside in the ward and actively enjoy their neighbourhoods.
In addition to the pandemic response, community safety is on the minds of Ward Karhiio residents. The attention of many Edmontonians has turned toward policing as the result of recent events and conversations in the city. I have been hearing mixed feelings regarding this issue in the ward. Some residents believe that less police intervention is needed, while others are concerned about thefts and breaking and entering incidents which are on the rise.
Mobility: The City of Edmonton Bus Network Redesign notably impacts the people living in Ward Karhiio. It is the ward with the most bus stops removed, and the least number of on-demand stops added. This is likely due to the Valley Line LRT that is near completion, but it impacts transit access and connectivity nonetheless. The ability for people to commute seamlessly to and from school, work, or wherever else is a key concern in many of the conversations I’ve been having.
Community Building: I’m also hearing that people are feeling disconnected, and they are looking for new and more ways to build neighbour-to-neighbour support and create relationships with others living in their communities.
I believe part of a city councillor’s role is to be a broker of conversation and a catalyst for these connections. One way to facilitate this is through the revitalization of community hubs in Ward Karhiio, promoting places for gathering where people can share their perspectives on the neighbourhood, community building, art, culture, skill development, or any other point of interest.
Local Economy: In response to the pandemic, Edmonton’s economy is recovering, changing and diversifying. Business owners in Ward Karhiio have been hit hard, and are looking to regain economic stability. Through community conversations, I have heard a desire to attract investment in existing businesses and new ventures to add vibrancy to the ward. Community members have seen development and revitalization downtown and believe there is an opportunity to bring the same energy to communities outside of the city’s core.
Accountability: The people of Ward Karhiio are looking for a councillor that will act in a balanced manner and effectively assert their needs at council while upholding a standard of transparency and demonstrating fiscal and social accountability. This level of ethics applies to financial oversight as well as deep structural changes such as anti-racism.
Thank you to everyone in Ward Karhiio who has taken time to share their experiences with me.
I’m excited to continue learning more from you, and sharing the approach I would take as your next City Councillor, in the months ahead.