Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chamber of Commerce Survey Responses

Around election time a number of different organizations want to hear candidates views on specific issues. I previously posted my responses to a survey from the CFIB and you can see my responses (and all the other candidates in GP) to the Canadian Cancer Society here.

This time around it's the Grande Prairie & District Chamber of Commerce. I haven't been able to find the responses posted to their website yet so I thought I'd post mine here.

1 – HEALTH CARE FACILITIES AND SERVICES The recent announcement of a $520-Million Dollar Health Care Facility has a potentially huge impact on our city and/or region. If elected, how would you advocate to ensure the needs of our community are met as detailed plans for the facility are determined.

The city must support the construction of the new hospital by ensuring the planning & development approval process is fast tracked, not just for the hospital site but for the whole of the college lands. In partnership with the province and GPRC we must also advocate to see the learning & education component of the project completed. Finally we need to work with community partners to ensure the provinces properly funds the operations & staffing of the facility

2 – REGIONAL COOPERATION The recently approved Intermunicipal Development Plan was touted as a big accomplishment of the current council. What are your thoughts on the plan? In your opinion what opportunities does it present for future development?

The plan is a step forward but we must recognize that actual annexation of county lands into the city is likely another 3 years way, and development on those lands could be even further off. Working through the annexation process must be a major focus of the city over the coming term. Council must; ensure landowners and businesses are engaged in the process; develop estimates of what additional costs will come with the lands, and begin to actively encourage servicing and development of the lands.

3 – TAXES & UTLITIES There is a perception by some in the business community that the City is not as ‘business-friendly’ as some of our surrounding communities - a stigma that could result in the potential loss of future city developments. What is your plan to retain existing businesses and attract new economic development to our community?

My goal is for the city to be recognized as the most customer orientated municipality in the province. The City of Grande Prairie can has already implemented the BizPal program which substantially reduces “red tape” by allowing businesses to get information from 3 levels of government at once. In the area of development we are working to revise our development permitting process to make it faster and more efficient for customers – I support this and will continue seek ways to streamline city processes. I also believe the city has a roll in advocating on behalf of businesses in our region when it comes to trying to address the costs of doing business in our region. In particular we need to work with the province to address the high cost of electricity which impacts homeowners and businesses alike.

4 – TRANSPORTATION What is the greatest transportation concern currently facing our city? What would you do, if elected, to address the issue?

On-going maintenance and repair of our city roads will always be the greatest transportation concern for our community. In addition to maintaining our current level of investment in road maintenance, I believe we need to improve the design standards for new roads and consider "front-ending" development of major arterials in strategic locations (such as 116th street south of 84th avenue and 84th Street on the east side). Outside of the automobile the city must work to see that all city streets are "Complete Streets" that are useful and accessible for cars, pedestrians and cyclists. We also need to continue to budget for the full implementation of the Transit Master Plan which will improve our public transportation system.

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