A City for Every Generation
Imagine Better. Think Bigger. Act Boldly.
Out and About in Spruce Grove
My Focus Areas for Council
- Record every vote at City Council. Every resident should know how each member of city council voted on every issue. It is not up to council to decide which vote should be recorded. To be accountable means to stand behind your vote and be prepared to defend your decision and why you voted in favour or against the motion. I will ask for this to be the first motion made at council in October, 2017 (seems only right to get this done right away for the new council).
- That all council expenses be made accessible and readily available on the Spruce Grove website. Residents wanting to know how their tax dollars are being spent on council members, including salaries, honoraria, expense claims and travel expenses, should be able to access it easily and without fuss. These types of expenses can be posted on a monthly basis on the city website.
- Join the SMART city movement and have Spruce Grove embrace the idea of being an open data city. Access to data (excluding data covered by privacy laws) provides all sorts of insight for the city as well as groups and organizations that offer services in the city (to name a few, where to build more rec facilities, questions about photo radar locations, etc). It’s amazing what open data provides and the opportunities it offers the city. More and more cities are moving to open data and it would be smart of Spruce Grove to get behind this initiative.
- Work with our tri-region partners on the land annexation proposal. The planning must be an open and transparent process and in discussion with residents on how and where we’d like to grow.
- Ensure we take budgeting and planning seriously. We cannot overextend ourselves with too many big builds and commitments. Our debt load, while still within the reasonable allowable limit, is increasing. This puts strain on future budgets. We have to be smart with our budget and be transparent and accountable. Ensure residents have input into the budget processes and priorities for the city.
- Keep our tax advantage of low taxes compared to some neighbouring communities.
- That city council make fire services a priority. We cannot wait for a disaster to occur before we take our protective services seriously and fund them appropriately. They are the insurance we all need when an emergency happens. An independent feasibility study should be undertaken to determine a suitable location for a second and (possibly) third fire hall. It is inexcusable that a $20-25 million renovation on a city owned building did not have an independent feasibility study done prior to approval; the only building to not have one done. A protective services master plan should be created and sent to council for approval in 2018, outlining minimum staffing positions for our emergency services , when new fire halls are to be built and where, anda at minimum to the NFPA standards.
- Automated Traffic Enforcement (ATE) needs an overhaul. Services should be brought in house as soon as the contract ends, (and if the decision is to keep photo radar around), and a total review of the program must happen before any continuation of the service happens. Photo radar should be limited to school zones, safety zones, neighbourhood requests where speeding and unsafe driving is witnessed and in high collision areas. Revenue from any photo radar ticket should not go into general revenue but should be earmarked for traffic safety projects or other projects as deemed fit by the residents of Spruce Grove.
- Take crime seriously in Spruce Grove. Work with RCMP, protective services, local neighbourhood watch groups and find ways that we can all work together to reduce the amount of crime in Spruce Grove.
- Ensure we are removing barriers for local business to thrive. Ease sign bylaw restrictions and what businesses can do on private property so that they can properly promote and advertise their business. We have put up red tape for the sake of a clean and somewhat sterile looking city. We must work with businesses and the Spruce Grove Chamber of Commerce to develop a solid economic development strategic plan that includes removing the red tape and assisting our retail, commercial, service-oriented and industrial businesses to promote their business. A happy medium can be achieved here, but it means greater partnership with our local business owners.
- Continue to support the growth of our cultural services and library. They library is the heart and soul of a community and expansion in some form is needed. Cultural Services preserves our history and puts on events to make the city and enjoyable and attractive place to visit and live. Greater support for their initiatives is needed and pushed, especially with the need for a multi-purpose facility.
- The Westwind Centre (Multi-Use Sport and Event Centre) is an opportunity but it must be approached with cautious optimism. What goes into the centre has to be explored in-depth and more time needed by council to gather input from resident through more public consultations, reviewing recreation facility needs, discuss our space issues with existing facilities (libary, Horizon Stage) and work in partnership with developers to meet the expectations and needs of our city.
- Work with tri-region partners on the recreational facility development plan. There are big demands for recreational facilities and we have to address the over capacity issues and plan accordingly.
- Immediately change the title of Alderman to Councillor. It is 2017 and this is an outdated and gender specific title. It literally means “elder-man”. It is a veiled barrier for women to run for public office. In 2015, city council had the opportunity to do the right thing and change the name, and they didn’t, by a 6-1 vote. This is unacceptable and will be one of the first measures I advocate for.
- Celebrate our diversity by recognizing the LGTBQ and our Indigenous groups to become a more inclusive and progressive city. We should be embracing diversity in our city, not hiding behind administrative policy that is prohibitive for us to celebrate cultures, embrace the LGTBQ community and work together to promote understanding and acceptance. City council is responsible in leading this change and should be taking every opportunity to highlight and participate in special events, days and with the groups that honour them.
- Encourage more women to to get involved in our local government- on council, on boards, committees etc.
- Work with developers to make Spruce Grove the premier place to live so that everyone here- residents and businesses, can prosper. But it has to be done with sustainability in mind. Environmental impacts have to be considered, the rate of growth is a concern and how and what we build should be done with the priorities and needs of the residents and not special interest groups.
- Ease administrative restrictions and encourage sustainable practices like community gardens and edible fruit trees be introduced into the city.
- Work with the local arts community and find a way to support more public art and make Spruce Grove an attractive and inviting place to explore and learn more about our history.
- Make Spruce Grove the Community of Choice where every resident can easily answer the question “why Spruce Grove” proudly. This city does a lot of things right and as we continue to grow, we have to keep these things in mind, and work hard to make this city even better.
- Ensure Spruce Grove has the amenities and activities that residents want; where a staycation experience can truly be had.
Get to Know Erin Stevenson
My experience in politics goes back over 20 years, starting with my high school president election. I ran and was elected 3 times as VP Academic and then as President for the Students’ Association during my time at MacEwan University. I represented students on the MacEwan University Board of Governors.
I lobbied provincial and federal governments, working on policy and changes to post-secondary education with ACTISEC and CASA (post-secondary education lobby associations). I worked for CASA as their communications officer in Ottawa for 2.5 years. While there, I lobbied and met with MPs, former Prime Ministers and Cabinet Ministers to bring change and better access to PSE across the country.
I have the experience needed to be an effective leader on Spruce Grove City Council.
A more in-depth read on my political experience is available in the gallery.
My education is extensive and provides me with a broad skill set that will work for me on council. My Master’s degree is an Integrated Studies degree. I focused on Work, Organization and Leadership & Writing and New Media.
I recently completed the Women in Leadership certificate from Cornell University and I earned an award of Achievement (certificate) in Data Analytics from UBC.
I have a degree in Communications and two diplomas- in the Arts (social sciences and humanities) and Radio and Television.
I am a lifelong learner and it’s a part of me to always keep learning, understanding and finding ways to incorporate my knowledge to make what touches me a better place.
My education will serve me well on Spruce Grove City Council.
A lifelong journey in education means a lengthier read, should you be interested.
I have over 20 years in the marketing and communications industry. I want to bring open and transparent communication to City Council. My area of expertise is in communications and there are strategies that council can implement that aren’t difficult but can increase the ways we reach and engage with Spruce Grove residents. We create those channels of communication, to be able to inform as well as listen and hear input from those we represent. Being a good listener and considering all the facts is just as important as forming an opinion and pressing a button to vote on an issue. Preparation and homework has to be done, too!
My expertise is in promoting the product or service I believe in. I believe in Spruce Grove. We have a lot of great things in our city. But we do even more and we don’t have to break the bank to do it. Our residents are proud cheerleaders and the ideas many people, including myself, are bringing forward, are awesome and doable! With my areas of expertise, I will be a champion of our city, a conduit for our residents to be heard at council and an active member of Spruce Grove City Council.
For a more detailed history, read all about my expertise and how I will apply it successfully on council.