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Building a Bright Future For All

09/25/2017

The City of St. Albert is a complex, dynamic and multi-faceted system. The oversight and operation of the municipality is not a simple job, and requires a strong partnership between City Council, the Administration, the public, and our stakeholders.

In my view, an effective municipal councillor of the 21st century needs to respond to emergent, topical issues of interest to residents, but also able to operate with foresight and perspective. We need councillors who comprehend governance and the role of elected officials, who know how to deepen community, and who can put themselves in others’ shoes when making decisions. I believe I offer all these characteristics.

While I do bring pertinent experience and knowledge as a council candidate, I certainly don’t have all the answers or solutions to the issues we are facing in St. Albert. I have however, tried to provide you with my views and the logic behind my thinking, along with some ideas. My hope is this will give you insight into my values and approach. Although, it’s your voice that will certainly help me in shaping our path over time.

Download a PDF copy of Tash Taylor's 2017 platform,
"Building A Strong St. Albert for All".

Like many of you, I am sensitive to rising costs in the face of a changing world and uncertain economic and political times.  I support fiscal prudence, and I remain concerned about the overall aggregate financial burden of St. Albert households.  I’m conscientious about spending, BUT I also know the worth and necessity of community investments to strengthen our social and human capital. There is tremendous value derived for our City in advancing the quality of life for individuals of all ages. I want to ensure St. Albert is a place where every person can thrive from cradle to grave, and regardless of socio-economics.

St. Albert must forever be an enabling city - one where each of us plays a role in creating positive futures for each other.  A vibrant and resilient community emanates when we help our fellow citizens, when we trust our local government, when we are safe from harm and can pursue our dreams, whatever they may be.  To this end, the following four key pillars underpin my platform and shape my views on our community development.

Economic Vitality

Where and how money flows through our community is a critical aspect to St. Albert’s economic health and sustainability.  Among other factors, economic vitality is largely linked to disposable income. I am highly conscientious about property taxes, levies, utilities, etc. as they relate to the aggregate financial burden of St. Albertans, and consequently, how much money is left for spending and consuming in our community.

When consumers spend in our community, businesses want to come here; more jobs are created; housing is needed; and entrepreneurs often earn more. This in turn invites further investment in the community.  Therefore, building the commercial “corridor” on St. Albert Trail, supporting business incubation, and drawing new business to St. Albert downtown are essential.

Lastly, it is overly simplistic to state that merely bringing in more businesses will adequately offset residential tax rates.  If we want more businesses to be attracted to doing business here, we need to make the environment more attractive than any other communities to do so.  I’m not a proponent of raising business and non-residential taxes as the method to get residential taxes in order.

Social Well-Being

People are the heart of a community and the primary source of community wealth. Social well-being is important to me as it enables personal growth and supports the achievement of human and social potential. It is tied to all aspects that nurture emotional health: socialization, participation, belonging, education and recreation.

Investments in not-for-profit agencies, community and health service providers, housing, and wrap-around supports are fundamental to building a resilient, vibrant and healthy community.  From children to seniors, it is a priority to me that people who are seeking outlets for personal growth or leisure, can access it when they need it. When people are feeling at their best and able to partake in all that St. Albert offers, we can then really see community vibrancy in action.

Environmental Health

Clean air, water and land are essential for human life. Our Sturgeon River, our trees, our parks, and our wildlife may not hold traditional economic value, but are important assets we need to respect and protect. As St. Albert continues to develop, it is essential we carefully measure the environmental impacts of our changes.

It can be argued that we can’t keep our natural assets intact as we grow, but I am focused on ways we can restore balance and compensate for any changes we make. For example, if we need to remove 30 trees, what offsetting actions are we taking? In addition, I believe managing pollution, conserving our greenspace, and wisely managing the consumption of energy and water will advance our efforts toward sustainability

Cultural Vibrancy

First and foremost, cultural vibrancy is not just about public art displays. It is about how we as a group celebrate traditions collectively, appreciate beautification, foster creativity, and honour our past. From the Children’s Festival, to our Healing Garden to our Founder’s Walk, St. Albert’s cultural scene is the envy of many communities.

For some people, arts, culture and heritage are superfluous.  The reality is that a strong community fosters a creative and innovative culture, where ideas can be brought forward, tried, and built upon. Furthermore, artistic and cultural activity is something every person can partake in regardless of background, socio-economics, or skill. Cultural vibrancy bridges people and binds community. Not only does creativity boost innovative efforts, cultural vibrancy bridges people from all backgrounds to deepen and enrich our living perspectives.

Strategic Conditions

I believe there are currently four strategic conditions which need focused attention to ensure St. Albert remains attractive and competitive over the long-term, particularly in relation to surrounding municipalities. These are not quick decisions or overnight fixes, but rather works in progress that require dedicated and conscientious action. I will work tirelessly over my term in office to improve the following:

Affordability

Simply put, it can be costly to live and do business in St. Albert. Affordability (or lack of), directly affects being an attractive, competitive and sustainable municipality.   In the greater context, affordability levels involve and impact everything from property taxes, housing, family planning, business growth, resident retention, inclusion, levels of public participation, and retirement.

And it’s not simply a matter of halting all spending.  Sometimes it’s in the way we’re doing things not what we’re doing, that can make the difference. Bureaucracy, time, redundancy, duplication, waste, and outdated methods along the value chain all affect cost. For instance, outdated and redundant engineering standards increase the cost of development, consequently impacting housing costs right from the beginning. I feel strongly about working to improve affordability in new ways that won’t compromise the suburban lifestyle we all love about St. Albert.

Efficient Infrastructure
Inclusion
Effective Government

Issues and Interests

While the list of causes and issues can be extensive in any community, I have tried to provide you with views on some of the most current matters we are facing, and causes I see as important building blocks for St. Albert’s future.

Business + Entrepreneurship

Having grown up around the family business, I value businesses of all size and recognize the essential contribution to the economy.  Small businesses and entrepreneurs are in the best position to respond timely to local needs and tailor their offerings to suit unique customer needs.  Large corporations create many jobs in St. Albert and contribute significant taxes that reduce the burden on each of us.  Economic diversification helps drive the success of our economy and allows for innovation to flourish and meet market needs in new ways.  To build and maintain a strong local economy, I believe in a “Buy-St. Albert” initiative, and believe we could make better use of incentive-based approaches to business attraction, particularly for Alberta-based businesses.  Lastly, I am fully supportive of getting high speed internet access for our commercial and industrial hubs.

Downtown
Easing Bureaucracy
Emergency Services
Engineering Standards
Environmental Stewardship
Fair Taxes and Utility Rates
Growth
Housing Diversity + Affordable Housing
Library
Military Families
Municipal Planning Commission (MPC)
Neighbourhood Safety
Photo Radar
Public Voice
Ray Gibbon Drive
Seniors Needs
Smart City
Social Procurement
Staff Relations
Younger People

© Tash Taylor 2017. All rights reserved.