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Thread: Candidate Ben Henderson

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    Default Candidate Ben Henderson

    This thread is to ask questions of Candidate Ben Henderson – Councillor Ward 8.

    All members are asked to allow the Candidate to post first in his or her thread. This is to allow the Candidate ample opportunity to introduce their background, platform, and any other information they may feel is pertinent to this discussion.

    All decorum expected of members in the C2E Ask Forums will be expected here. An addendum is that posters may ask as many questions as they wish, but they are also politely asked to follow any instructions on posting or reply timelines that the Candidate expresses.

    Thank you to all for participating in the 2010 Connect2Edmonton Election Forum!

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    Default welcome post from Candidate Ben Henderson

    Hi All,

    Sorry for my tardiness in getting to this site. I will do my best to keep up with your questions but we are in mid campaign flurry right now so my time is being pulled in many different directions.

    As many of you may be aware I am an incumbent Councillor currently representing Ward 4 which is the entire centre of the City spanning both sides of the river. In choosing which half of the ward to remain with I have chosen to stay with the southern half of my ward, now ward 8. Although it was a hard decision I felt that my roots were most deeply set in the mature neighbourhoods of the southside. I also felt that as this City continues to go through a needed period of change and transition that I was of best use to our City and my constituents continuing to represent those same southside mature neighbourhoods.

    For more detail on my background, record and positions I would encourage you to check out my web site at www.benhenderson.net. You can also find me on twitter as ben_hen. And my facebook group is Re-Elect Ben Henderson for Ward 8.

    Ben

  3. #3

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    I wish ya stayed in the DT ward Ben!
    "Do you give people who already use transit a better service, or do you build it where they don't use it in the hopes they might start to use it?" Nenshi

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    It was a hard choice which is why it took so long to make. I certainly will not forget the Downtown. The issues of downtown are vitally important to this whole City and thus are the responsibility of all Councillors. My choice was based in a belief that I could now be of most use caring for the interests of those southside communities that will see increasing pressure for change that must be handled well to make sure they come out stronger and not weaker.

  5. #5

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    Ben,

    It was nice to see you at the SELRT session recently. How do you feel about the plans in place for LRT expansion?
    School closure is also a hot topic in the eastern part of ward 8. What is your opinion on this matter, and what ideas do you have to deal with it?
    "A doctor can bury his mistakes but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines." - Frank Lloyd Wright

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    I am enthusiastic about the LRT expansion. I think it is the only way to solve the long term problems of transportation in our City. There were clearly still a number of concerns about the details of the alignment that need to be worked out which is what the SELRT session was about. The specific knowledge that communities have about themselves is invaluable in working out the best choices.

    I am also enthusiastic about the new more urban style of the LRT proposed for the West Edmonton to Millwoods routing. The old suburban style (distant station spacing and quasi heavy rail construction) would just bring grief to the mature central communities of the City without bringing any significant benefit. The new type of line which is now being proposed should do exactly the opposite for the communities I represent.

    On the issue of school closures I feel the only real solution is in bringing all three orders of government ( City Council, the Province and the School Boards) to the table to work it out collectively. What really frustrates me is that each of us is saying the problems are not in our jurisdiction and passing the buck to each other. In the end we serve one citizen and we must collectively find a solution. To this end I worked with public school trustee Dave Colburn to get a meeting together of our City Council, the Public School Board and the local government MLA’s. In the end we had most of the trustees there, most of Council there, and a good representation from the Provincial Government including the Minister of Education. The result was encouraging and led to a commitment to put a committee together that includes councillors, trustees from both school boards and MLA’s to try and come up with better answers to what are complex problems. I am not sure yet what the answers will be but I think it is the only way out of this mess.

    In the meantime I will continue to advocate on behalf of my neighbourhoods to try to stop any more school closures. It is clearly not in the City’s interest to see the very neighbourhoods we are trying to reinvigorate harmed in this way.

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    Councillor Henderson,

    In the last election, one of the very local issues raging was development, specifically the Strathearn Heights redevelopment. I was (and am) very much in favour of the current plans. But I recall you being concerned about the process by which the DC2 application proceeded.

    Three years later, I wonder if you can expand on what you believe are the deficiencies in the rezoning/DC2 process for mature neighbourhoods, and whether in the last three years you have seen improvement in the process? I know the City has worked on improving its public consultation protocol, the results of which we are seeing on the SE LRT consultations. What is the role of the community in these kinds of planning decisions and how do you balance what is "right" for the city as a whole (i.e. a decision that supports The Way We Grow/Green/Move) against the hyper-local concerns of the community?

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    I also like much of what the Strathearn Development represents. I still confess to having some hesitation to the tallest towers but overall I think it is a well designed project. My concern at the time was that it represented such a huge change for the neighbourhood and that that was not well enough thought out. There was no real wok done on the context of the development and what would happen to the existing neighbourhood into which it was going.

    We have had no project of that size since come all the way through the process. Theoretically we have a new way of dealing with those kind of big projects but so far we have not used the new process so it is hard to say if there will be improvement.

    I completely agree, that whatever process we use we must recognize that the interests of the neighbour may be different interests from those of a citizen that is further afield. Both voices must have a place in the discussion. I think in terms of the local discussion we must make sure we have done the work to understand the overall context of change in the neighbourhood. In the end if we improve one part of a neighbourhood but undermine another we have not got any further forward. Our ultimate goal has to be creating strong and healthy communities. My worry has always been that if we densify carelessly we may undermine the very things that make neighbourhoods attractive to begin with. If we are going to get the heart of this city to work we must build spaces that are attractive to a broad demographic. They need to be family friendly, senior friendly, and attractive and affordable for those looking for their first home. Otherwise we will just continue to push certain types of people out to the suburbs because they feel there is no place for them in the heart of the city.

    So in answer to your question, I am not sure the deficiency is so much in our DC2 process (although it is flawed), but in our reluctance to do neigbourhood planning in those areas that are under the stress of change. Change is necessary but can be frightening and we need a much better process to assure neighbourhoods that will emerge from the change stronger and not weaker. We cannot do this unless we find a better way to talk to them and understand the concerns that are the base of their fears.

    Just in closing , we have continued to work on our consultation process around planning including the DC2 process. The problem we still have not solved is how to use the pre-application discussion in a way that allows for real consultation when projects are still enough in their infancy that they can truly change and adapt to what is being heard. On paper, we have made improvements to our consultation process, but they will not truly work until we base our consultations on the desire to truly make projects better and not just the statutory need to do consultation. I am not sure we have truly crossed that hurdle yet in all instances.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Henderson View Post
    I also like much of what the Strathearn Development represents. I still confess to having some hesitation to the tallest towers but overall I think it is a well designed project. My concern at the time was that it represented such a huge change for the neighbourhood and that that was not well enough thought out. There was no real wok done on the context of the development and what would happen to the existing neighbourhood into which it was going.

    We have had no project of that size since come all the way through the process. Theoretically we have a new way of dealing with those kind of big projects but so far we have not used the new process so it is hard to say if there will be improvement.

    I completely agree, that whatever process we use we must recognize that the interests of the neighbour may be different interests from those of a citizen that is further afield. Both voices must have a place in the discussion. I think in terms of the local discussion we must make sure we have done the work to understand the overall context of change in the neighbourhood. In the end if we improve one part of a neighbourhood but undermine another we have not got any further forward. Our ultimate goal has to be creating strong and healthy communities. My worry has always been that if we densify carelessly we may undermine the very things that make neighbourhoods attractive to begin with. If we are going to get the heart of this city to work we must build spaces that are attractive to a broad demographic. They need to be family friendly, senior friendly, and attractive and affordable for those looking for their first home. Otherwise we will just continue to push certain types of people out to the suburbs because they feel there is no place for them in the heart of the city.

    So in answer to your question, I am not sure the deficiency is so much in our DC2 process (although it is flawed), but in our reluctance to do neigbourhood planning in those areas that are under the stress of change. Change is necessary but can be frightening and we need a much better process to assure neighbourhoods that will emerge from the change stronger and not weaker. We cannot do this unless we find a better way to talk to them and understand the concerns that are the base of their fears.

    Just in closing , we have continued to work on our consultation process around planning including the DC2 process. The problem we still have not solved is how to use the pre-application discussion in a way that allows for real consultation when projects are still enough in their infancy that they can truly change and adapt to what is being heard. On paper, we have made improvements to our consultation process, but they will not truly work until we base our consultations on the desire to truly make projects better and not just the statutory need to do consultation. I am not sure we have truly crossed that hurdle yet in all instances.
    ben,

    would it not be fairer to say that rather than solving the problem with "the consultation process", the problem will continue to exist as long as the city continues to put off the implementation of long-term planning strategies until a developer comes along with a specific development proposal?

    should the city not be identifying long-term development opportunities like strathern and charles camsell and scores of others that are not hard to identify and putting the appropriate zoning in place to allow for future densification and urban development beforehand and not after the fact?

    that way the neighborhood would see those things being planned for over the long term and know they are coming such that as people move in they will not be able to say "too much change/too much traffic/too much height/etc.". when the development does occur, would it mot be easier to have it be in accordance with city plans already in place rather than having to change city plans for every project and worring about "the consultative process" to achieve that at the last minute?

    ken
    "If you did not want much, there was plenty." Harper Lee

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    Ken,

    I completely agree with you. That was the point I was making about doing proper neighbourhood planning for communities where those kind of changes are likely and opportunities exist. It also allows us to make choices in the larger context of the whole neighbourhood. The problem is Council has been very reticent to spend that kind of money on planning processes. We bring this grief on ourselves.

    Ben

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    Default Expo 2017

    Ben,

    It is my understanding that City Council has committed $22.5 million to the preparation of the bid for Expo 2017. Mayor Mandel, at the Mayoralty forum indicated that the total budget for the Expo was estimated to be $2.5 billion.

    Have either the Provincial or the Federal Governments guaranteed funding support to Edmonton for Expo 2017? If so, how much have they guaranteed?

    Thanks, in advance, for your response.

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    Default expo 2017

    Sorry to be slow getting you this answer. Here is the best information I have available. It is not a complete answer to your question but it fills in some of the gaps. I think the whole answer will not be available until we know the Federal Government response and the work on the international bid can commence.

    The projected cost included in the bid documents that were submitted in November 2009 to the Government of Alberta and Government of Canada was $2.3 billion. The cost of the bid and EXPO would be shared with all three orders of government and corporate community sponsorship. In the current fiscal year, the City of Edmonton has committed $500,000 to the EXPO 2017 bid.

    In announcing its support in May of this year, the Government of Alberta committed to provide support of up to $10 million for the next three years, which includes support for development of the International Bid.

    Discussions are currently underway with the Federal Government.

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    Default Expo 2017

    Hello Ben,

    I know that the City submitted its formal bid to Canadian Heritage Department of the Government of Canada prior to the November 2009 deadline.

    How much money has the City spent on the bid from the start of the initiative to the present day?

    Thank you

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    Hi Ben,

    With the Walterdale Bridge due to be replaced soon, is there a chance of revisiting the alignment of Gateway Blvd through or under Sask Drive?

    I think what spooked many people away from the last proposal was the unnecessary addition of a new lane for Gateway Blvd - it added fears of a dreaded freeway through Old Strathcona. I think eliminating that hairpin at Gateway Blvd and Sask Drive can be done without expanding the road.

    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    Ben, extremely impressed with your volunteer that was picking up garbage while dropping off your pamphlets earlier today in Mill Creek. You clearly have some great people working to get you elected, and I wish you luck.

  16. #16

    Default City Center Airport

    I am curious as to how you stand on the closure of the city center airport.

  17. #17

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    The Alberta Aviation Museum Association, in 2006 a small community museum now the 3rd largest aviation collection in Canada, is a feature tourism attraction in North Edmonton currently serves (5) veterans organizations, (3) Heritage organizations, (2) Youth organizations as well as a series of (6) modern aviation volunteer organizations such as the Civil Air Search And Rescue Association. The Museum also has the most advanced K-12 aviation education programming and is currently an operationally self sufficient not for profit operation that receives no operational funding from any level of government.



    This is a facility that currently receives over 150,000 individual uses per year and attracts visitors from around the world.


    What do you, as a candidate commit to specifically doing to insure the ongoing success and expansion of the Alberta Aviation Museum with the closure of the City Centre Airport and the damage it will cause to the facility?



    I have been directed to ask on behalf of the boards of this facility.



    Thomas Hinderks
    Executive Director
    Alberta Aviation Museum

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheryll J View Post
    I am curious as to how you stand on the closure of the city center airport.
    Ben voted for closure last year; you can find an article from him explaining his decision on his campaign website.
    "A doctor can bury his mistakes but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines." - Frank Lloyd Wright

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