2018 has been a busy year for Edmonton’s City Council! Coming into the holiday break, I want to share some highlights from the past year. Of course, everyday as a City Councillor is different and in reflecting on the past year I am proud of everything we have accomplished. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all Edmontonians!
Working with the new Council
I am fortunate to have had the privilege of working with multiple Councils. I have greatly enjoyed having four new perspectives around the table from Councillor Hamilton, Councillor Dziadyk, Councillor Paquette, and Councillor Cartmell. While we may not agree on everything, having new faces on Council ensures that we are always looking at issues with a new perspective. Now that we are all well into our terms, I have had the opportunity to work with new and returning Councillors and I am pleased to say I think we have a very strong Council with a unique range of views.
Attending Community Events
In Edmonton, there is always something to do. I appreciated the opportunity to have gone to so many community events, town halls, and meetings in 2018. Whether it was visiting a seniors centre, going to town halls for the Lewis Farms Recreation Centre and Library, attending the 50th Anniversary of Candy Cane Lane two weeks ago, or going to the NextGen City Jam – I am always astounded by Edmontonians commitment to their community. One of the many community event highlights from 2018 was attending the annual Edmonton Public Library gala. I am a huge fan of the library and was thrilled to see three new branches open in 2018.
Working on the Council Initiatives
On of my favorite parts of being a City Councillor is working on my Council Initiatives. I have the privilege of being one of the Council representatives on the Accessibility Advisory Committee, City of Edmonton Youth Council and Edmonton Transit System Advisory Board. I am also responsible for four Council Initiatives: NextGen, Public Engagement, Seniors and Transportation Innovation. These initiatives are made up of some of the most dedicated Edmontonians I have met during my time as a City Councillor. Volunteers that are so passionate about making Edmonton a great place to work and live. Everytime I meet with these groups I am inspired and reinvigorated by the work they do.
Everyone speculated in anticipation to see what impact cannabis legalization would have on our communities. Looking back on my time running for City Council, I would have never guessed that these are the sort of issues that I would be making decisions about. Although it is too soon to say the true impact cannabis legalization has had on our police, business, and culture in Edmonton – I am pleased that thus far it looks like the cannabis policy that City Council decided on in October has served the community well.
Passing the 2019 – 2022 Budget
Debating the 2019 – 2022 Operating and Capital Budget was a long,tedious, and continuous task. Although I maintain that more savings could be have been found, I am pleased that we passed a budget which included the lowest tax increases in a decade. You can read more about budget highlights in my previous blog.
Thank you to every single person who I spoke with over the course of the year to give me their perspective on city issues, to everyone who volunteered to make our communities better, or simply chose to be an engaged citizen. Moving into 2019, I feel more motivated than ever to work for Edmontonians.