In the days leading up to the municipal election on October 16, we will be publishing the answers to questions posed by 2day FM to the candidates running in the City of Grande Prairie. The responses are listed in alphabetical order by position and are unedited. They have not been fact checked and 2day FM is not responsible for any errors or inaccuracies.

Q: What is one infrastructure project you think could improve Grande Prairie?

MAYOR

Dick Baillie

A: I believe one way to continually improve infrastructure is to work towards the future. There are many times we her complaints about new schools and buildings being too small before they even open their doors. We have had an influx of schools built in recent years to diminish the absurd amount of portables that were attached to various schools in our city. I also know that taxpayers think it’s an absolute waste of money to build a roadway only to have to expand it or improve it a few years later. Grande Prairie needs to focus on long term sustainability in all endeavours.

Bill Given

A: Although it’s outside the city the answer has to be twinning of highway 40. This council successfully lobbied the provincial government to get the new highway 43x bypass approved and now that it’s underway we need to set our sights on getting highway 40 twinned from the city limits, across the Wapiti river and further south in to the MD of Greenview.

Highway 40 supports much of the current economic activity in our region and if it’s not improved it will prevent our region from growing and, most importantly it will continue to cost lives in collisions that could be prevented. I’m committed to working with City Council, Administration, Industry and other partners in the region to lobby the province to see this badly needed improvement become a reality as soon as possible.

Theodore Nikiforuk

A: An outdoor water park that can accomodate Grande Prairies ever increasing population. One that has stronger family oriented theme

Rony Pajput

Withdrawn.

COUNCILLORS

Clyde Blackburn

A: The ongoing work downtown is one of the most important projects the city has taken on. Aside from the streetscape improvements, it is vitally important to upgrade the very old infrastructure buried beneath.

Dylan Bressey

A: We need to see the twinning of Highway 40. This is vital both for the safety of our people and the growth of our economy. Council needs to make this one of its priorities in advocacy to senior levels of government. As for projects that are completely within Council’s control:

The current bypass is in rough shape. It needs a resurface, intersection upgrades, traffic light upgrades, light timing, designated turning lanes, bridge upgrades, and more. Currently, the city cannot do anything about this: the province owns it. However, the province is handing it over to us when 43X opens (hopefully in 2019). Once we get ownership, Council needs to be ready to immediately start overhauling this important road. I am told a basic overhaul will be in the $60 million range. And we might consider spending more for extra lanes, a pedestrian overpass, or a walking trail on the north side. The province has promised us $20 million, but we will need to come up with the rest. Roads aren’t exciting, but they criticall. Fixing the bypass needs to be the big project our next Council pursues.

You can read more about my views on big projects at www.voteBressey.ca/bsps

Jackie Clayton

A: In my opinion there is no one single project that could improve Grande Prairie. I think we have many great existing facilities opportunities in Grande Prairie, some older and some new. Before we look at any new facilities we need to maximize the utilization of the ones we have and possibly repurpose some facilities if they don’t fit the current needs. In my opinion before we build anything else we need to finalize the Inter-Municipal Collaboration with the surrounding Municipalities in the Region.

I would rather focus my energy on prioritizing Economic Development and increasing our Industrial and Commercial tax base to eliminate the cycle of raising taxes. The residents of Grande Prairie need to be able to afford to enjoy the many facilities and natural amenities of the City that provide us with the quality of life we need to maintain balance and wellness.

The one area of infrastructure I do think Council needs to support is the paving and overlay program; improving our roads. This year’s budget of $8 million in paving and overlay simply went further than normal due to the downtown in economy, and allowed us to substantially increase the amount of work done this year. Although these projects can cause significant disruption; in the end our streets will be in better shape and in turn safer.

Going forward, I believe that especially in years like this year the City communication team needs to continually communicate with our residents and we need to proactively work with the contractors to ensure disruption is at a minimum.

John Croken

A: The one project I will be lobbying for is the crossing of the tracks by our city service centre it would take a pile of traffic off hwy 40 and 116th street .The right away has been cleared by the railroad so putting the crossing there I believe is following best practises .

Shannon Dunfield

A: I believe there are many projects that could improve Grande Prairie. That being said, I feel we need to have the revenue in place to ensure we are not only meeting our community needs but also being fiscally responsible. As our city grows, evaluating how we are strengthening the infrastructure that already exists and capitalizing on potential opportunities is something we can continue to do while ensuring we have practices in place to address the sustainability.

Sydney Fletcher

A: I would like to see pedestrian walkways over the bypass and proper bike bridges beside the traffic bridges. I am a safety “fanatic”….it’s how I was raised and how I have raised my children. As a result, safety is a huge priority for me. I believe we each have individual responsibility for our own actions, but as a municipality, we need to also consider our decisions in light of improving safety for our citizens, whenever possible.

Eunice Friesen

A: There are many infrastructure projects that come to mind, but downtown is heavy on my mind lately. My vision of downtown is a vibrant community-within- the-community and the previous council made strides toward achieving that, but a critical element is missing: parking. I would like to see a parking garage built downtown (there are one or two locations that come to mind) that would create ample parking for shoppers, festival-goers, and the workers who keep downtown humming.

John Kriska

A: Homelessness and drug abuse in this city is at an all time high. We have good services but they are scattered throughout Grande Prairie. I believe we could make good use of the old Atco building on resources road by moving HIV North, food bank, salvation army under one roof to encourage one-stop services. Former counsellor Helen Rice had a vision of this and I would like to see it come to fruition. It would give us the opportunity to help the people who need it the most in a more effective manner.

Kevin McLean

A: Highway 40 improvements and bridge twinning. This is critical for the safety of our citizens.

Yad Minhas

A: Having the ring road west of the city completed as well have a ring road built around the east side. This would move a lot of the heavy traffic away from the day to day city traffic, improving traffic congestion makes the streets safer and easier to maintain. As the city has grown and continues to do so, city council will have to address rail crossings. Having trains pass through the city during peak commuting times or blowing whistles at 4 am in the morning is no longer acceptable.

Cheryl Montgomery

A: I believe the Downtown Revitalization will undeniably rejuvenate the Grande Prairie’s core and create that atmosphere that makes people want to come, explore,shop and experience shopping downtown. The one component I think should be considered to go along with that plan, is a dedicated traffic route away from Main street for commuters needing to get from the East to the West Side. It is commuters that cause critical traffic issues down main street, but have no intention of stopping. because their traffic pattern is just trying to get from the east to the west on the quickest route possible’. I feel it would solve many traffic flow issues and ultimately enhance the atmosphere we are creating with the new revitalization.

Timothy Nesbitt

A: While I will speak more about crime in a later question, upgrading our street lights in Grande Prairie could have a major impact in the issue for the better. If the streets are lit criminals have a higher level of accountability and risk of being identified. Also, technology has improved a great deal in the years since most of our lights were installed and there are better options for energy consumption that exist now. So, as a bonus we may be able to save some money in the long run.

Kevin O’Toole

A: The downtown project next phases will accomplish at least two commitments one being getting the underground infrastructure up to a standard for today’s needs and for the future. The second being upgrading the streetscape and making the walkability more user friendly for pedestrians this will benefit the business’s and the cliental. Making this area like proposed will see more activities which will bring more people to the downtown core; this could be one piece of the puzzle to reduce crime. Studies have shown this design has been successful in other
centers.

We will have to be aware of time lines, traffic flows, costs, and funding sources before I commit and we start on the project. I have also heard the need to have commitment of guaranteed staff levels, and working into the night. This will need to be part of any proposal in my view.

Wade Pilat

A: Once a new transportation plan is completed it will help in this decision, but currently I am more concerned about the RFP (Request for Proposal) process in the event that a major infrastructure project gets approved. The RFP process will be monumental in whether or not any future infrastructure projects will be financially sustainable for the City of Grande Prairie. In my opinion we need to remember we only have 68,000 residents paying for projects and our taxes are already high so it is imperative that the funding model and tax implications are reviewed before we do any major projects.

Tyla Savard

A: To think outside the box and in an area that gets overlooked to some degree I’d say that a supervised consumption services site would be an infrastructure project that could improve Grande Prairie given the fact that the past 3 years we have been top of the death by overdose from opioids per capita list. This year stats are showing 2017 to be worse than 2016. This would give central and safe place for users to be, staff would be onsite to call for help, access to help get things in order for recovery would be available. This doesn’t need to be a new building but we need to create a safe place to handle the opioid epidemic and support members of our community that are affected. Every member of our community matters!

Morgan Suurd

A: I believe the things we need to work on for infrastructure is this the city infrastructure itself with better snow removal equipment and better pothole filler equipment.

Chris Thiessen

A: Thinking outside the box and away from the issues here, I would say investing in the renewable energy industry. Three ways that I could see this being implemented as infrastructure within the next 4 years via a capital injection are: 1) Retrofitting municipally owned streetlights to Solar LED, 2) Converting city-owned buildings to the green-energy grid via solar, wind, or geothermal methods, 3) Creating a Residential Solar/Wind Program to help facilitate home-owners to invest in similar renewable retrofits. As far as infrastructure projects go, this would be a worthwhile investment for the city to make because after the initial capital expense, it would help us reduce our costs of operation, provide perpetual profit over time and investment, and it would help give the power back to the people (pun intended).

Cam White

A: The proposed performing arts and multi-cultural centre.

The venue could do amazing things for the community as a catalyst for re-branding the internal and external image of Grande Prairie. The venue could be a launching point for inter-municipal relationships and bring tourism to the region. It could launch Grande Prairie into the forefront as the hub and leaders of northern culture and Entertainment. It could do a lot of amazing things but at the moment there is no plan for its success other than negative income expectations. It can not become another under budgeted and poorly managed centre like the Eastlink Centre. We need to take some time to get private and regional partners on board to lighten the costs for the city. If we take some time and do it right this could be an amazing world class facility but it will take planning.

Mike Wolfel

No response submitted.