Edmonton voters will be electing at least three new city councillors this municipal election. Wards 4, 5 and 9 have no incumbent and the races are wide open.
“In these vacant contests, these new competitors have to sell themselves to the community,” says Chaldeans Mensah, a political scientist at MacEwan University.
Outgoing city councillors Bryan Anderson, Michael Oshry and Ed Gibbons are not running in the 2017 election.
The southwest Edmonton area also has the highest percentage of children from kindergarten to Grade 6, and transportation is one of the top priorities.
“At the best of times, it really gets jammed on Terwillegar [Drive] and then if something goes wrong, like an accident or bad weather or something like that, then it really goes crazy,” says Karim Jamal, a Ward 9 resident.
In Ward 5, outgoing councillor Michael Oshry is bowing out after one term and nine candidates are running to replace him. The area includes a mix of mature neighbourhoods and newer developments. In the Rio Terrace neighbourhood, infill development is fuelling the debate.
“It’s going to change the whole look of the neighbourhood,” says Rio Terrace resident Ryan Kirkland. “People buy in to these neighbourhoods for the bungalows, the large yards and the privacy.”
Ward 4 includes neighbourhoods like Belvedere and Clareview and has several mixed-used communities and the pressure caused by growth is a key issue.
The area also has a high percentage of children from kindergarten to Grade 6. Resident Kathleen Boschman says the area is lacking in community recreation centres.
“There’s most definitely a need for community centres – stuff for young kids,” Boschman says. “My kids are all active and into sports.”
Ward 4 is probably the most competitive ward with 12 candidates on the ballot, more than any other ward.
Watch below: On Monday, Edmonton voters will be electing at least three new city councillors this municipal election. Wards 4, 5 and 9 have no incumbent and the races are wide open. Carole Anne Devaney moderates a panel discussion on the upcoming vote.
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