As Ward 9 City Councillor, one of my goals is to ensure that Edmontonians have increased access to recreational opportunities to lead healthy lives. As a physician, I know how important living an active healthy life is. As a community leader, I know the importance in creating opportunities for everyone to thrive and succeed. Healthy communities are vibrant communities. We need to prioritize our health through neighbourhood planning and development along with community engagement.
The desire for a healthier and more connected community led me to found the Terwillegar Riverbend Advisory Council, which is a volunteer group and the catalytic force behind building the Terwillegar Community Recreation Centre, Edmonton Youth Talent Show, and TRAC Community Run. These initiatives are important for our communities, providing recreational opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds. They bring neighbours together and reinforce community pride. I believe these initiatives are only the beginning for our highly active, supportive and vibrant communities. We need to continue this work as Ward 9 grows.
Ensuring our communities are happy and active, also means making sure community members have a stronger role in their own community development through proper consultation. This means setting up a solid foundation by making better use of space within communities. Our green spaces have been taken over by poor planning and a lack of proper consultation. The answer to this is better use of surplus school spaces and empty City or derelict properties. These properties could be turned into a combination of green/recreation space, neighbourhood-friendly infill and assembly amenities development that would bring communities together all year long. I also envision a Ward 9 that is home to a world class park similar to Hawrelak park that provides numerous recreational activities for Edmontonians of all ages. I envision central meeting places throughout the ward that are full of people enjoying themselves, with events and activities throughout the year.
I also believe in the importance of connecting Ward 9 communities to the rest of the city. We can do this through the completion of the multi-use corridor system. The multi-use corridors could run parallel to roadways and wherever possible, connect with existing bike trails, making it easier and safer for bike travel in our city. There are existing multi-use corridors, but we could add more by having conversations with the Province and with other city stakeholders like CNR and CPR. The multi-use corridor system would ultimately provide a great resource for Ward 9 community members to access the rest of the city, but do so while getting in more activity and being outside.
Together, I know that we can continue to develop recreational opportunities throughout Ward 9. Edmontonians deserve indoor services such as recreational centres and pools, as well as outdoor playgrounds, ice rinks, and trails. One of our greatest attributes as a city is how much we love spending time outside in our river valley. We need to continue growing our reputation as one of the healthiest and active cities to live in. It starts within each of us taking the steps towards an active and rewarding life today. Let’s make it happen!