EDMONTON- With Election Day less than two weeks away, there’s been a great deal of focus on who will become Edmonton’s next mayor. But what about the other 12 people who will fill the seats on city council?
There are 119 people vying for those 12 positions, at least six of which will be held by new faces. And each of those 119 people have a clear vision of what they’d like to see for their respective wards and the city as a whole.
“I’m a firm believer that unless the core of our city and Ward 6 is doing well, the city won’t be doing well,” said Ward 6 candidate Heather MacKenzie.
MacKenzie is one of 16 people running for council in Ward 6, one of the most highly contested races in the city.
“In particular, we need to make sure that we’re doing a better job of bringing more people to the core, bringing a more diverse array of people to the core… having a more child-friendly core.”
“Edmonton needs to look at its future industry,” said Ward 1 candidate Bryan Sandilands.
He says he’s focusing on economic diversification, particularly when it comes to bio-technology and health innovation. He says waste management is also a key area of focus for his campaign.
“Edmonton can be a world leader in these two. We have been in one, we’re emerging in another. We need city councillors who understand that.”
“Mine all boils back down to community involvement and dealing with the people,” said Ward 5 council hopeful Rob Hennigar.
He says many of the ward’s issues are still issues because people aren’t being listened to. And one of the concerns he’s hearing from residents has to do with local traffic.
“In our older areas, definitely cut-through traffic, speed mitigation; they’re mostly the result of connecting outlying communities to both the Whitemud and the Henday.”
Ward 9 incumbent Bryan Anderson would be the veteran if re-elected on October 21.
“I hope to be able to offer them (council newcomers) my office, the cooperation of my assistant or my availability, to answer any questions that they might have as they work their way into a comfort zone.”
He says there are three key issues the new council will have to deal with on an ongoing basis- regional cooperation, moving forward with the downtown arena, and the Blatchford redevelopment project at the City Centre Airport.
As these candidates vie for spots on council, they’re also expressing their thoughts on the type of person they’d like to be sitting in the mayor’s chair.
“What I look for in my politicians when I go to vote is someone with integrity and someone with backbone,” MacKenzie explained. “And that’s what we need in a mayor as well, is someone who is there for the people, who is there to represent those that are electing them, and puts that at the front of all their decision making.”
“We need a mayor who can really galvanize a group of, let’s say, novices,” said Sandilands. “We need a mayor who can galvanize differing interests, expedite orientation for those who need it… We need a mayor who can manage that, continue with the agenda, and frankly, we also need someone who understands how cities are funded.”
“I really look for vision and leadership. I feel that our next mayor not only has to have a huge vision of bringing our city out to a place where we can all be proud of, has to be future-focused, has to be highly innovative, has to be looking around the world at other cities to do things a lot better,” said Hennigar. “A team leader and team builder is going to be massive as well.”
“Development of consensus, I think, is critical,” said Anderson. “Everybody’s got one vote. A mayor’s only as strong as his six best friends on council.”
With files from Vinesh Pratap, Global News.