ECA Mayoral Candidate Questions

Thursday, October 7, 2021

As the municipal election quickly approached on Tuesday, October 18th, the ECA reached out to all Edmonton Mayoral Candidates to provide responses to select construction-centric questions. Several candidates responded. To view their responses, please click below.

Diana Steele

  1. The COVID-19 pandemic has been an ongoing challenge in our region and across the globe for the last 1.5 years.  Businesses at all levels have been challenged in ways that haven’t been seen in a generation. What policies would you support to allow the business community, including construction companies, rebound in the months and years ahead? 

    "The main thing we need to do is make our permitting process more user friendly and improve processing times. I want to encourage new, bold ideas in our city and I don't want anyone to be hindered or discouraged by bureaucracy."

     
  1. Like many large cities in the world, Edmonton is in a period of infrastructure transition.  This is seen most directly in the City Plan’s discussion of “Big City Moves”.  What Big City moves do you envision for Edmonton in the coming years, and how do you see the construction industry supporting these moves?

    "I see a city that is more inclusive and compassionate with less division between the private and public sector. I want to develop an unprecedented, intertwined relationship between the private and public sector to work together to build the greatest city in the world."

  2. As Edmonton moves from 1 million to 2 million people, while working to become a more sustainable, future-focused city, how do you see new builds, retrofits and major projects changing in our city?

    "I see a need for council and the ECA to have a very close relationship to ensure we are building a sustainable, future focused city with both sharing ideas with each other on how to obtain that."

  3. Many City of Edmonton infrastructure projects continue to be tendered through low bid procurement, a method that does not often lead to the most efficient project delivery for the city or the taxpaying public.  Do you support more collaborative procurement and project delivery, and how will you ensure such delivery is lead by council?

    "I absolutely support a more collaborative procurement process and will work with admin to make sure that is in place. I want out city council to be considered fair and equal by companies in our city."

  4. While the city has improved permitting immensely in the last several years, permit timelines remain a challenge. How do you see improving timelines, ensuring that developers and builders can execute their projects in appropriate time?

    "I need to get in there to see what the real issue is to begin with. Is it employee driven issues, process issues, layers of approval issues?  Once I determine the concerns I will work with admin to eliminate them."

  5. As a major Canadian city in our federation, Edmonton must work arm in arm with both our provincial and federal partners to get things done. How do you envision working with different levels of government to move infrastructure projects forward? How can these interactions be improved so that project timelines can be accelerated?

    "I am able to work with anyone. But, I am here to look out for Edmonton's best interests and that will always be my number one focus. I have no connections to any political party, so I am beholden to no one. I am going into this role with an ability to work with all political parties to get what we need done for Edmonton."

Mike Nickel

  1. The COVID-19 pandemic has been an ongoing challenge in our region and across the globe for the last 1.5 years.  Businesses at all levels have been challenged in ways that haven’t been seen in a generation. What policies would you support to allow the business community, including construction companies, rebound in the months and years ahead? 

    "COVID-19 has challenged every business in this city.  Both the federal and provincial governments did their part to help businesses navigate this trying time. They showed generosity, sadly City Hall did not do their fair share for the business community. I tried to pass a 2% tax cut for all Edmonton businesses in December 2020. When I'm Mayor, I will bring ask this council to pass 3.3% tax cut for businesses. The ECA must do their part and ensure they help elect a common sense council."
     
  1. Like many large cities in the world, Edmonton is in a period of infrastructure transition.  This is seen most directly in the City Plan’s discussion of “Big City Moves”.  What Big City moves do you envision for Edmonton in the coming years, and how do you see the construction industry supporting these moves?

    "My biggest "City Move" is to ensure we can build more capital infrastructure with the existing money we have.  I believe competition will help drive that model forward.  Also, City Hall must ensure our capital projects have the proper planning and specs.  I have announced an IPMO (Independent Project Management Office) to ensure we deliver our capital better.  I also will be a Mayor that will cut red tape, so everyone in the construction industry can build faster.  This includes my commitment to guaranteed permit times.  I've laid out the permit times at www.mikenickel.ca"


  2. As Edmonton moves from 1 million to 2 million people, while working to become a more sustainable, future-focused city, how do you see new builds, retrofits and major projects changing in our city?

    "Yes, retrofits will become necessary.  A short while ago, a representative from the insulator's union came to present regarding the cost savings on properly insulating our buildings.  Most of the examples he gave demonstrated full cost recoupment in 6 months."

  3. Many City of Edmonton infrastructure projects continue to be tendered through low bid procurement, a method that does not often lead to the most efficient project delivery for the city or the taxpaying public.  Do you support more collaborative procurement and project delivery, and how will you ensure such delivery is lead by council?

    "Agreed.  I will change procurement to require more competition within the bidding process.  As per the second part of your question, I believe my IPMO policy will handle the majority of that.  Let's face it, councillors are not experts in construction, so let's give them the experts to help ensure capital delivery."

  4. While the city has improved permitting immensely in the last several years, permit timelines remain a challenge. How do you see improving timelines, ensuring that developers and builders can execute their projects in appropriate time?

    "I believe I answered this above with my guaranteed permit timeliness above."
  5. As a major Canadian city in our federation, Edmonton must work arm in arm with both our provincial and federal partners to get things done. How do you envision working with different levels of government to move infrastructure projects forward? How can these interactions be improved so that project timelines can be accelerated?

    "I will work collaboratively with both levels of government, but I will not wait.  I will move the needle forward and when I make requests of the provincial or federal government, it will be specific.  For example, my only request from the province will be mental and addictions treatment beds in our city to help us stream our homeless population off the streets and onto a path of recovery- specific!"

Michael Oshry

Amarjeet Sohi

  1. The COVID-19 pandemic has been an ongoing challenge in our region and across the globe for the last 1.5 years.  Businesses at all levels have been challenged in ways that haven’t been seen in a generation. What policies would you support to allow the business community, including construction companies, rebound in the months and years ahead? 

    "The impact of COVID-19 on businesses cannot be overstated. As part of my platform, I have proposed a number of actions which I believe will help get the business community up and running as we look to emerge from the pandemic.

    These include:

    • Creating a Business Advocate Office to help businesses navigate City processes more smoothly andchampion their needs to Council and Administration at large.
    • Establishing the Edmonton Innovation Fund to support local innovators and attract new companies to Edmonton.
    • Creating a permit & inspection delivery guarantee, benchmarked against comparable cities. I willask Administration to report annually on average permit timelines, to ensure we have transparency and continuous improvement 
    • Establishing a Development Services Liaison
    • Strike a permanent Mayor’s Council on Business Growth to identify opportunities and challenges across Edmonton’s business community and take concerted action as a collective"
     
  1. Like many large cities in the world, Edmonton is in a period of infrastructure transition.  This is seen most directly in the City Plan’s discussion of “Big City Moves”.  What Big City moves do you envision for Edmonton in the coming years, and how do you see the construction industry supporting these moves?

    "I support the City Plan and the Big City Moves outlined in it. When it comes to construction, I see the construction industry as having a key role to play in all of the Moves, but specifically in Greener As We Grow and A Rebuildable City.

    I have announced a retrofit accelerator which would aim to eventually see 30,000 homes per year retrofitting with renewable energy sources like solar. I will also advance the goal of requiring electric-vehicle ready infrastructure in new multi-family buildings. 

    We must be responsible stewardship of the arable land around Edmonton, and that means meeting or ideally exceeding density target requirements for new suburban developments, and focusing on finding opportunities for infill or multi-family options in our mature neighbourhoods. The building industry has played a large role in the last decade of Edmonton’s densification, and I hope to keep building on that collaborative relationship to ensure we are meeting our targets and working with community members to mitigate impacts."

  2. As Edmonton moves from 1 million to 2 million people, while working to become a more sustainable, future-focused city, how do you see new builds, retrofits and major projects changing in our city?

    "I want to greatly accelerate the process of retrofitting buildings to help meet our climate goals, and to examine ways we can retrofit vacant commercial and residential buildings to create more affordable housing spaces. 


    I’m also committed to building a transparent and streamlined social procurement process, with a focus on keeping money within the community - we have so much local talent and expertise in our construction industry, and we should value that knowledge and contextual familiarity when we are going through procurement processes."

  3. Many City of Edmonton infrastructure projects continue to be tendered through low bid procurement, a method that does not often lead to the most efficient project delivery for the city or the taxpaying public.  Do you support more collaborative procurement and project delivery, and how will you ensure such delivery is lead by council?

    "As mentioned, as Mayor I would like to implement a social procurement policy that places more of an emphasis on proven results and local knowledge than tendering to the lowest cost bidder. This will also keep money and jobs in our community, which will be of great value as we emerge from the pandemic. 


    Much of this work must be operationalized by City Administration, but there are a number of policy loopholes that Council can work to close to ensure the procurement process that is established can’t be sidestepped. We can also do more to establish metrics and reporting frameworks for large projects to keep Council and the public informed on progress in a transparent manner, not just when delays occur."

  4. While the city has improved permitting immensely in the last several years, permit timelines remain a challenge. How do you see improving timelines, ensuring that developers and builders can execute their projects in appropriate time?

    "Builders and developers should not be left waiting for permits and licenses - it discourages investment confidence and makes housing more unaffordable for Edmontonians. I have committed to working with the City Administration to research permit and licensing timelines in comparable municipalities, and working year over year to get our targets to meet that average consistently. 


    I will also require Administration to report annually on the average timelines for all permits and licenses so industry can see accountability from Administration. 

    Lastly, I will establish the Business Advocate Office, which will have the express purpose of helping businesses navigate City processes and removing unnecessary roadblocks to approvals."


  5. As a major Canadian city in our federation, Edmonton must work arm in arm with both our provincial and federal partners to get things done. How do you envision working with different levels of government to move infrastructure projects forward? How can these interactions be improved so that project timelines can be accelerated?

    "As the former Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, I have extensive experience working on multi-government infrastructure projects. I have seen different approaches to infrastructure advocacy in action, and I know that the most effective communities are the ones that are united, who can bring Council, industry, provincial and federal representatives to bear to advocate for their needs in a coordinated way. This approach makes it easier for governments to sign off on prepared projects more quickly, and I believe my previous experience will lend itself well to coordinating that type of action with industry partners to get the best results for Edmonton."
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