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2017 Calgary mayoral candidates Q&A: Which 3 projects would you fund?

The loonie is poised to fall further against the U.S. dollar next month when rates start rising stateside.
Calgary mayoral candidates explain which three projects they would fund if elected in 2017. CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Global News asked our Calgary viewers and readers to tell us which issues matter most ahead of the municipal election on Oct. 16.

How money is spent was among the top concerns.

We asked all 10 mayoral candidates to answer your questions below, keeping answers to six sentences per issue. Their answers are reprinted here, edited only to meet our Global News editorial standards.

FULL COVERAGE: 2017 Calgary municipal election

Question: 

If you were given the key to the city’s vault, which three projects would you fund and why?

Answer from Jason (Jason GoGo) Achtymichuk:

“1. Flood mitigation — The 2013 flood affected many people, directly and indirectly, and paralyzed the city; businesses and our economy suffered. While there are many options on the table, we are coming up to the fifth subsequent flood season, and nothing has been completed. Plans to do versus completed projects are two very different things.
2. Arena — I would fund it because it is necessary for Calgary to be a world-class city. If we want to truly compete for international business relocations, large events etc., it is a requirement for our city to have this type of facility. There are tangible economic paybacks for taxpayers: tourist revenue, the economic payback of the people employed to build the arena, ongoing employment opportunities, etc., and there are immeasurable intangible public benefits in the pride and vibrancy of our city.
3. Public art/Art Contemporary Calgary — If Calgary is to be a truly international city, it will need to attract international students, tourism and business. Perhaps the city should look at a tax credit so that the private sector can create a more diverse landscape of artistic themes.”

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Answer from Andre Chabot:

“1. A revised Green Line LRT plan to get more riders for the same price, reducing the net operating cost of $45 million.
2. Crowchild Trail to reduce gridlock and improve mobility for automobiles, transit and sustainable modes of traffic on 16th and 24th. It will also improve traffic flow along Memorial Drive.
3. North Crosstown BRT to improve the existing northeast LRT line, create better connections to the proposed Green Line and improve movement to the University of Calgary and SAIT.”

Answer from Brent Chisholm:

No response by publication time.

Answer from Emile Gabriel:

“1. The most needed flood protection project.
2. The most needed transportation project.
3. A smart incentives programs that can attract business and capital to Calgary.”

Answer from Larry Heather:

“After the past term’s spending commitments, it is an illusion that anything is actually inside the vault but IOUs to various interest groups.
Goal 1 – If we had access to interest-free money from the Bank of Canada, I would institute a Basic Minimum Income for the low income, with a corresponding decrease in social services and welfare funding. We would disestablish the bureaucracy of the ‘poverty industry’ and free people to make their own decisions on their lives. Those squandering their Basic Income would be reduced only to subsistence services and no cash.
Goal 2 – Refund business taxes and purloined education. ‘Vacated Tax Room. Of $52 mill per year.’
Goal 3 – Fund research into the cause and cure of early onset ‘Urbanistra Disease.’”

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Answer from David Lapp:

“Wrong question. The real question should be: How can we treat Calgarians’ tax dollars with the due respect and honour that they deserve? The outgoing mayor and council spend obscene amounts of public money on stuff that doesn’t even matter. They spend like drunken sailors; they are foxes guarding the hen house. We need a new mayor and new council to restore Calgarians’ trust in basic service priorities — like snow clearing.”

Answer from Naheed Nenshi:

“I do have the key to the vault (well, one of 15 keys) and there isn’t much in there! We’ve deployed much of our ammunition in the economy now in order to provide stimulus, but there are a few things we could accelerate if given the funding (and I will mix some capital and operating wishes here):

First, two that I pledge to find the money for this year if reelected:

Calgary Police Service: The Calgary Police Commission has requested an additional allocation of approximately $14 million to hire 55 new police officers in 2018. I believe this request is reasonable and we should find the money. CPS plays an enormous role in building stronger and safer communities and the right combination of boots on the ground and community-policing efforts will help us better address challenges like the opioid crisis and property crime.

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Fair entry: There has been a greater demand for the Low Income Transit Pass offered through the City’s Fair Entry program than we initially anticipated. This program has ensured that more lower income Calgarians are living with dignity and accessing the transportation they need to get to work and access services. In order to keep this vital program operating, I would address Fair Entry’s small funding shortfall with council.

And one that is a longer-term ask (and a lot more money):

Green Line: I would put aside some funds for the next phase of the Green Line, for the province and the federal government to match, so we can keep building the rest of the line after phase 1 opens in 2026.”

Answer from Curtis Olson:

“My CPlan campaign platform has already called for allocating funds for an ‘open government’ model of governing at city hall — this is critical and is a key priority before any other ‘projects.’ This model will allow the collection of evidence-based data to make funding decisions in a transparent, business-focused way.”

Answer from Bill Smith:

“Based on the feedback from the public, the first place we would focus spending is on beefed-up police services to keep our streets safe. Second, infrastructure. We have no new arena, no new stadium, no new art gallery and no field house. That’s because the mayor can’t keep anyone around the table long enough to make them happen. Third, we could look at creating a fund that pays employees to find new ways to find efficiencies, create new partnerships and reduce municipal costs. We have to be willing to be creative and collaborate. Incentivizing front-line workers is one of the ways we could get there.”

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LISTEN: Smith and Nenshi speak with Angela Kokott about policing

Answer from Stan (the Man) Waciak:

“Traffic, Green Line, my concepts on Forest Lawn.”