On Monday, October 2, 2017 (at 8:54 in the evening) the St. Albert Firefighters Union Local 2130 sent out a questionnaire for all candidates to respond to prior to the election. They did not provide any supporting documentation, nor did they provide a due date for the questionnaire. The questions asked were in depth questions that any candidate running for the election would be well advised to put some serious research into in order to answer appropriately.
I would estimate that without having all of the reference information at my fingertips, proper research would significantly exceed the 2-weeks from the date the questionnaire was sent out until Friday the 13th when the St. Albert Firefighters Union Local 2130 decided to post which candidates did or did not answer the questionnaire on Facebook.
Please consider that during the election each Candidate’s time is being pulled in many directions by many people. Here are the questions posted by the St. Albert Firefighters Union Local 2130 and my response to each: Dear 2017 St. Albert City Council Candidate. This is a brief questionnaire on behalf of St Albert Firefighters Union Local 2130. Our members provide Fire and EMS to citizens of St Albert. We would like your opinion on the issues that if elected, you will face as a member of council next term. Please reply with your responses to this email:
1. Are you aware of EMS service provided in St Albert? If so, would you as a council member, vote in favor of subsidizing to continue to provide contracted service? (Why or why not?)
Yes, I am aware of the local Emergency Medical Services provided here in St. Albert and the fact that it augments the regionally operated ambulance service.
I know that we have firefighters in St. Albert that are cross trained with paramedics to assist in emergency situations until ambulances arrive on the scene. This is above and beyond the average in our region. This is an advantage I do not wish to lose.
I also understand that we as a city have experienced poorer ambulance response times than what our city had provided to our residents before the ambulance service was regionalized.
It would definitely be my goal to continue to provide EMS services at or above the level it is currently to offset the reduction in service that regionalization has created for us here in St. Albert.
2. Fire Hall #1 rebuild reconstruction is slated to happen in the near future. Are you in favor of the current proposal and cost? (Why or why not?)
I have not seen the current proposal. I do not know exactly how much has already been budgeted for this Fire Hall’s reconstruction. This would be something that if elected, I would want to study before providing you with an adequate answer.
Also, please be advised that there are changes coming to the Municipal Government Act which may allow for different funding strategies going forward. Please continue to the section titled new information for more details…
3. Fire Hall #4 is slated to be built in northern St Albert in the near future. Are you in favor of the current proposal and cost for this project? (Why or why not?)
Please see the answer to question # 2 above.
4. Do you support the City of St Albert having two aerial ladder trucks? (Why or why not?)
Aerial ladder trucks are essential in fighting fires for buildings significantly taller than your standard home. However, they do not provide much additional firefighting capability to really tall buildings, like the ones to come on the old Grandin Mall site which may be up to 17 stories tall. The type of Aerial ladder truck that St. Albert could currently afford would never reach the tallest floors of such a structure.
I would need to see what kind of budget has been proposed with regard to aerial ladder trucks for our fire department. Then I could recommend if we can afford it and how long before the forecasts see us as needing these aerial ladder trucks. What I can say is “We need to provide the appropriate firefighting equipment here in St. Albert before allowing people to move into new taller structures.”
5. Do you have any experience with organized labor? If so, in what capacity?
I only have peripheral experience with organized labor as I have not worked directly for a union, nor have I ever negotiated with a union.
While I have not had experience with unions, it is not city council’s job to deal with organized labor. City council sets bylaws and policies. It is the responsibility of the City Manager and his staff to work on negotiations with the various unions and departments within the city.
If you have anything else to add please do so here:
New changes to the Municipal Government Act are coming with regard to off-site levies on new construction. Essentially, in the very near future (currently slated before the end of 2017) the new Municipal Government Act will be expanded to allow cities to charge new levies on NEW CONSTRUCTION to assist in paying for: • Community Recreational Facilities, but not the staff to operate them. • Firehalls, but not the trucks, equipment or the firefighters. • Police Stations, but not the vehicles, equipment or the police officers. • Libraries, but not the books, various media, or the librarians.
The reason the Municipal Government Act is currently being revised is to allow cities to grow and to place much of the charges for growth back upon the developers. This means those who wish to build new residential and commercial buildings will share the cost. This is a significant improvement over having the entire burden placed upon the homeowners and businesses already residing in our communities.
Thank you for taking the time to read my response.