Candidate Survey Results

Candidate running for Councillor


1

 

Downtown Lethbridge Business Revitilization Zone Question:
What is your position on Revitalization of downtown Lethbridge?

Answer

Downtown revitalization is hugely important. In many cities the down town core dies for one reason: it’s occupied by too many 9 to 5 businesses. When 5 o’clock rolls around, the city empties out and transforms into a place that feels lifeless and unsafe. This is detrimental; for when the heart of a city dies, the entire city suffers and this is what is happening in Lethbridge. My vision is to revive our city’s heart; fill it with life and a good vibe so it’s healthy and beats strong. I see downtown as a bike-friendly, youth and senior friendly, multicultural venue famous for great food and great atmosphere. I see it as a safe, vibrant destination throughout the day and well into the night; a place known for its art scene, live music, ethnic food, specialty shops, street vendors and food trucks…


2

 

Greensence/SAGE/KLEW question 1:
Human activities are contributing to global warming and climate change. Please choose from:
Agree
Disagree
It's complicated

Answer

Agree

Comment

The greatest environmental threat facing the human race is man- made climate change. Addressing it needs to be a priority because the speed of this change is ten times that of previous ‘natural’ climate changes. A UN report on this matter was released on September 27th 2013. Years in the making, this report (1st of 3) points to human causes and explains the physical science behind climate change. As a Councillor, I would advocate for strong and immediate action at the local level. Our City needs to be a leader on this front and do its part to curb climate change - not take a ‘business as usual’ approach. I am informed about the realities of climate change and the urgency to take action. I also recognize that Lethbridge is the Sun and Wind capital of Canada…


3

 

Greensence/SAGE/KLEW question 2:
The Environment Lethbridge Council have requested a seed grant of $120,000/year from City Council. Would you support the City providing seed money for the Environment Lethbridge Council? Please choose:
Agree
Disagree
It's complicated

Answer

Agree

Comment

I am really pleased that Environment Lethbridge (EL) has come into existence. Our city needs such an advisory council because on its own the City has not done a good job on the environment front. A prime example is the City owned CASA building. Recently completed, this 26 million dollar building could have showcased for our community that our City takes environment seriously. CASA could have been clad in solar panels, on a Geo-thermal system, feed-in-tariff with net-zero targets and more. It isn't! Rather - it’s energy efficient, to a degree - but not cutting edge. Vision and Leadership is badly needed. An advisory Council gives us hope but it must be fostered and supported…


4

 

Greensence/SAGE/KLEW question 3:
Do you support expanding the City's waste management plan to include curbside recycling? Please choose
Agree
Disagree
It's complicated

Answer

Agree

Comment

Humans create mountains of garbage and we need to take responsibility and do all we can to minimize waste and re-cycle as much as possible. People want to do their part but need services like curbside recycling. Other cities have done this and we can as well. While there is a cost attached; the cost of not taking action outweighs the benefits. The Waste & Recycling Business Plan 2012-2014 - City of Lethbridge (page 6) addresses curbside re-cycling. The problem is that it is too far down the road (it’s part of their 5 year plan). Victoria BC for example established a blue box pick up in 1989. Its 2014 and we still don’t have one in Lethbridge. The Lethbridge plan warrants another look to see if it the plan could be improved, perhaps some services outsourced to save us money and create more efficiency. I would also like to see the City website on recycling improved.


5

 

Greensence/SAGE/KLEW question 4:
Some cities, like Medicine Hat offer incentives to utility consumers to improve their homes and reduce utility use. Are you in favour of implementing a similar incentive program in Lethbridge to encourage residents, businesses, and the City itself to reduce their carbon footprint? Please choose:
Yes
No

Answer

Yes

Comment

Medicine Hat is on the forefront when it comes to the environment and for making it easy for the community to participate if reducing their carbon footprint. Lethbridge could take a lesson. Currently there is no incentive for a Lethbridge resident to do this; in fact if you wanted to install solar panels on your home and connect to a 2-way meter (feed-in-tariff) system it is difficult because of the hassles and bureaucracy. All this does is discourage and frustrate people. I will work hard to remove the unnecessary hassles. Being mindful of environment and living ‘green’ should be encouraged.


6

 

Greensence/SAGE/KLEW question 5:
In 2012, Lethbridge City Council adopted a non-binding resolution opposing the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in drilling for oil and gas within municipal limits. Would you actively seek to enforce this resolution? Please choose:
Full Ban
Non biding resolution
No position
Support fracking

Answer

Full Ban

Comment

The City has shown wisdom on this front and I align with their decision. Oil drilling, fracking and flaring must be outright banned not only within city limits but everywhere. It poses tremendous risks to the health and well-being of our community and environment. I have been working with several groups to stop this risky and unethical practice. One of my groups delivered close to 200 letters of opposition to our MLA Greg Weadick; the other group I’m involved with has delivered over 13,000 signatures of opposition to the Government. I've written many letters to government, had meetings with our MLA's, written Letters to the Editor, attended numerous meetings, forums and open houses.


7

 

Lethbridge & District Labour Council question 1:
What is your position on Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) and the function they serve in the future growth of the City of Lethbridge? Please choose:
Oppose P3s
No opinion
Support P3s

Answer

Oppose P3s

Comment

I checked off 'oppose' only because this questionnaire did not have option called 'opinion'. I’ve been following the pros and cons of Public Private Partnerships for many years. While P3 is a huge benefit to the business sector and often the answer for a City in terms of getting the financing and work needed to build infrastructure, there are risks involved. P3 has a history of problems that go along with this type of collaboration. I would rather see us finance what we can on our own without complicating matters and putting our City at risk. IF we find it absolutely necessary to enter into a P3, I would want to make sure that legalities are in place to protect us from every possible thing that can go wrong.


8

 

Lethbridge & District Labour Council question 2:
Is the contracting out of public services necessary to the operations of the City of Lethbridge? Please choose:
Yes
No
Unsure

Answer

Yes

Comment

Yes, in some instances, its more far more efficient and economical to hire out certain operations. Hiring a contractor that has the equipment, manpower and expertise frees the City from owning, storing and maintaining equipment and training people. Being a trades person with contracting experience, I would want to take a look at the public operations to see how efficiently it is being utilized.


9

 

Lethbridge & District Labour Council question 3:
Buy-local or Made-in-Canada purchasing policies should be supported even if they result in higher costs. Please choose:
Strongly disagree
Somewhat disagree
Neither agree nor disagree
Somewhat agree
Strongly agree

Answer

Strongly agree

Comment

Just as we want our products sold in other markets, we have to be open to countries selling their products to us. Having said that - I believe that we should Buy-Local or 'Made in Canada' as much as possible because in doing so, we are hugely reducing our carbon footprint as well as increasing the financial well-being of our community.


10

 

Lethbridge & District Labour Council question 4:
Closure of Federal Government service offices and reductions in Provincial funding to post-secondary education have implications to the community of Lethbridge in terms of service loss and job loss. What is your position on these closures and reductions and, as a municipal leader, what should the City’s role be when the decisions of other levels of government affect citizens of Lethbridge?

Answer

Increasing then decreasing services creates a financial and emotional roller coaster for people; increases stress and impacts the well-being of our society. When a group of people lose their jobs it impacts the entire community. Not everyone is able to cope or quickly find a new job. Financial stress can lead to mental stress: depression, sleep disorders, impact on the family and so on. At times like this, people reach out to the health care system. Often police service is involved. I don’t know if there is any statistics on this but if a service goes up by a certain percentage as a result, the City should insist that the level of government responsible, contribute financially to cope with the difficulty. Education could play a vital role in alleviating stresses in this area.


11

 

Lethbridge & District Labour Council question 5:
Most of our public services and facilities have a user fee but the City subsidizes the cost of the facility or service. What is your position on the subsidization of public services and facilities? Please choose from:
Users should not pay at all so that everyone can access the service.
Small user fees should be charged but I would consider waiving them for low income people, students, and seniors.
A user fee should be charged to all users.
The City should not be subsidizing someone’s hobbies or recreation.

Answer

Small user fees should be charged but I would consider waiving them for low income people, students, and seniors.

Comment

I am not opposed to user fees but the City needs to remember that most everything we have for infrastructure and services has been paid for by the taxpayer; hence the taxpayer should have access to it. In some areas user fees help offset wear and tear so its justified. But wherever we can provide a service that enhances the well-being of our community, we should do so without user fees and find other ways to save money. I'm all for waiving certain fees for low income people, students and seniors. Transit for example should benefit our community - provide a service so our people can stay connected. I recently spoke to a single mom who told me it costs $18.00 for a round trip for herself and her 2 kids…


12

 

Lethbridge & District Labour Council question 6:
The City of Lethbridge should endorse an expanded Canada Pension Plan strategy and implement a Living Wage policy.Please choose from:
Strongly disagree.
Somewhat disagree
Neither agree nor disagree
Somewhat agree
Strongly agree

Answer

Strongly agree

Comment

CANADA PENSION PLAN I believe we should do all we can to ensure that Canadians have enough for a decent retirement after a lifetime of work. I’ve been following the Canadian Labour Congress report. It calls for provincial and territorial premiers to ask the federal government to expand the Canada Pension Plan. I would like to see our City encourage the Federal government towards this important action and a national retirement strategy. A living wage is essential in order to meet financial commitments and have a decent life. This is something we should want for all of our citizens. Their well-being matters.


13

 

Play Local question 1:
Which of these approaches do you favour and explain why you favour this approach in the comment section.Please select:
Building infrastructure and facilities to meet current needs in order to keep taxes low
Investing additional funds to accommodate future growth

Answer

Building infrastructure and facilities to meet current needs in order to keep taxes low

Comment

Just like a home, a city needs to be thoughtfully planned out so it works well, looks good and provides the infrastructure and facilities needed to serve the needs of the people and increase community well-being without throwing us into so much debt that taxes go through the roof. Many people are not aware of this, but we are currently close to a billion dollars in debt by way of commitments to projects going forward to 2023! This is hugely concerning. In my view, infrastructure projects should be based on needs first rather than wants and zero-based budgeting strived. Projects should be backed by a business plan; currently this is not the case. An examination of how decisions are made is important for this is the origin of many of our problems.


14

 

Play Local question 2:
These three projects may come up in the next community improvement plan process:
  • Performing Arts Centre
  • Developing the Exhibition Park
  • Completion of the final phase of the Crossings Ice Complex.
  • If you could only fund one of these projects which would you choose? Please explain your choice in the comment section.

Answer

Exhibition Park

Comment

My approach is outlined in the answer above. It comes down to needs vs wants. All these projects are attractive and no doubt would be nice to have, but do we need them and can we afford them? Is there a business plan behind each of these projects? I've put a check by Exhibition Park but still have questions as to its feasibility. Will it be a world class facility? Will it be energy efficient - on a Geo-thermal system, feed-in tariff with net zero targets? I would hope so! Will it be financially viable or will it be in constant need of financial help? This would be unacceptable to me. My view is that if we propose a major project let’s make sure that every aspect of the project is done with integrity from design to finance.


15

 

Play Local question 3:
During the last phase of the 2013 CIP, only the aquatic portion of the leisure centre was approved. What would be your commitment to having the final phase (the fieldhouse portion of the centre) completed?

Answer

I like to see things brought to completion and if at all feasible would be behind it if its found that the facility will actually be used and if people would be willing to have their taxes go up to build this. My hunch is they won't. It comes down to needs vs wants and can we afford it? We've incurred a great many expenses over the last few years - are close to a billion dollars in debt. I'm fiscally conservative and want to see value for monies spent. This is an area that warrants careful consideration.


16

 

Play Local question 4:
The Recreation and Culture Master Plan report commissioned by the City of Lethbridge found that Lethbridge has inadequate recreation facilities. Why do you think that this situation developed and what would you do to rectify this?

Answer

Public needs have taken a back seat to administrative needs. Bureaucracy has doubled in 8 years so emphasis has been put on capital projects which serve our city's administration. It’s time to streamline and cut back on bureaucracy so that public needs come first. I’m all for new recreational facilities if it’s proven that there truly is a need; that the facility will actually be used; that a business plan is in place and that there is money to build it. Many people may not be aware of this but we are currently close to a billion dollars in debt by way of commitments to projects going forward to 2023! That means taxes will be going up and with each new facility yet another increase in taxes. Proper maintenance of existing buildings would help alleviate need to build more facilities.


17

 

Sik-Ooh-Kotoki Friendship Society question:
Many Lethbridge residents with First Nations' Status face considerable difficulty when accessing services in the City of Lethbridge. As Status holders, they are referred to support on reserve. On reserve, they are referred to services in the city as they are residents of Lethbridge. As an elected official, how would you propose to remediate these gaps in service and accessibility issues?

Answer

I'm surprised this is still an issue; it does not speak well for the governments that have allowed this to happen. Government agencies should be constantly striving to serve people; to make lives easier not harder. Allowing the overlapping of services to go on for so long shows disrespect for people and for our tax dollars. It’s wasteful and confusing for those caught up in these bureaucratic webs. I would take immediate action rectify this and put people first. I’d have City and First Nations reps get their heads together, get clear on the problem and get to the task of resolving it. The two governments need to hear from front line victims – the people who have been adversely caught up in this system. Hearing from people will help us draft a cooperative working agreement. I would want it to be user-friendly, written in a language that is understandable and that creates less hassle rather than more. The final draft should be tested and re-tested to make sure it works as intended – do it right the first time.


18

 

Group question 1:
On council, would you activily support the following?
Ward system for electing councillors? Please choose:
Yes
No
Yes

Answer

Yes


19

 

Group question 1b:
On council, would you activily support the following?
Councillor become a full-time position? Please choose:
Yes
No
Yes

Answer

Yes


20

 

Group question 2:
The City of Lethbridge is a signatory to the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities against Racism and Discrimination. In addition to this, do you support the allocation of additional financial resources to create local initiatives that foster the city's commitment to inclusion? In the comment box please elaborate on your answer. Please choose:
Yes
No
Unsure

Answer

Yes

Comment

People that immigrate here want to feel welcome and be a part of our culture while at the same time share their culture with us. They want to be a vital part of our City. One obvious way to appreciate and integrate new cultures is by way of Downtown Revitalization. Encouraging immigrants to open businesses, providing incentives, would get our community to know them better and they know us better. Its a way of building good will and community spirit. Immigrant services provides many great programs that we should take a look at and perhaps build on.


21

 

Group question 3:
Do you support a bylaw that ensures all buildings serving the public (existing, renovated and new) are physically accessible? Please elaborate on your answer in the comment section. Please choose:
Yes
No
Unsure

Answer

Yes

Comment

If buildings are to serve the public they have to be accessible. Any one of us could end up in a wheel chair. As a society we need to demonstrate compassion, respect and consideration for our citizens; make their lives easier rather than harder.


22

 

Group question 4:
The following are some of the issues you may be asked to address on City Council. Please choose no more than your top 5 priorities.
  • Affordable and plentiful family recreational and leisure opportunities
  • Bikeable city
  • Frequent and accessible public transportation
  • Vibrant downtown
  • Available low-income housing
  • Community gardens
  • Residential waste reduction
  • Reduced administration costs at City Hall
  • Promotion of Lethbridge as a “City of Choice” for skilled workers
  • Low residential taxes
  • Reduced business licensing costs
  • No Herbicide city policy
  • Municipal Food policy
  • City operated curbside recycling
  • A third bridge to the West
  • Airport enhancement
  • Other (please explain in comment box below)

Answer

Reduced administration costs at City Hall, Vibrant downtown, Promotion of Lethbridge as a “City of Choice” for skilled workers, Frequent and accessible public transportation, Other (please explain in comment box below)

Comment

We are the sun and wind capital of Canada. My vision is to have Lethbridge be known as a Centre of Renewable Energy ... of expertise, apprenticeship training and manufacturing (building solar panels, wind generators and more). I see our young people employed in good paying jobs proudly creating clean renewable energy; doing something good for the world; addressing climate change in the process. I have the vision and practical experience to move us towards a 'Green Economy'. This would ensure greater economic stability for our community and be a win -win for environment and our pocket books. Council needs to have someone at the table that will be a strong voice for the Environment. Count on me to be that voice for you.



Candidate Details

Rena Woss was born and raised in Lethbridge. She is a small business owner and journey certified trades-person, self-employed in the field of contracting, design and decorating. She has written educational programs for Alberta Advanced Education and has operated a satellite school for pre-apprenticeship employment as well as a studio for decorative arts.

Rena is actively engaged in politics and particularly in issues relating to environment. She is a member of several environment groups and is currently engaged in water issues and having Lethbridge protected from oil and gas drilling and fracking.

Rena regularly attends Council meetings and has made numerous presentations relating to street lights, digital billboards and light pollution, health and safety. Her vision is to have Lethbridge be known for renewable energy. “As a Councillor I would make it a priority to have our city take a leadership role on environmental matters and have us be known for renewable energy. We are the sun and wind capital of Canada, blessed with abundant resources. I’d have us be known as a Centre of expertise, apprenticeship training and manufacturing, proudly creating clean energy and employing our people in green jobs, doing our part to curb climate change”.

Fiscal responsibility is important to Rena. “It’s Council’s role to oversee purchases, exercise due-diligence and protect us from bad procurements so that the economic and social well-being of our community is not compromised. As a business owner and contractor, I have experience and knowledge to recognize mistakes and ask hard question so that costly mistakes are averted and citizens and stakeholders are listened to. Accountability matters”. Other areas of concern for Rena are downtown revitalization, transit and urban sprawl.