My goals now, still align with my goals in 2017. The means to achieving them may have shifted slightly and the scope of them has changed, but the vision is still is the same... A well balanced, sustainable community with a healthy industrial to residential balance and a thriving cultural atmosphere. A city that uses innovation to proactively create our future, while still maintaining the beautiful, small town feel that we all know and love.
I am not a one or two issue candidate, because... well, how could you be? Our community is a multi-faceted, complicated being, with tons of moving parts, that are intertwined. If we put all of our focus in one or two areas, we are bound to fail in others. I have always strived to look at every situation through a multitude of lenses to ensure that we are growing in a balanced way. You deserve to have the best quality of life, in all areas - not just one or two.
If re-elected, I plan to keep following this philosophy. To look at every situation and decision through a long term lens, to avoid any "oh geez, we should've thought about that" moments.
Each and every person that we have in the community will have something different, that is the most important thing to them. My goal is always to ask what that most important thing is to you, listen to why that is the most important thing to you, and then figure out how we can work together to achieve your best outcome for that most important thing.
From talking to residents over the last four years, here are some of the top identified issues and my plans for them during the next term.
One of my main goals, if re-elected to council, would be to create better communications. This would be at ALL levels - community partners, municipal partners, provincial government, Alberta Health Services, within council itself and with the citizens. Opening up better lines of communications will help us grow to where we need to be and create the well rounded, strong community that we strive towards. I do believe that a lack of good, thoughtful communication has been a barrier to reaching true success for some time. I plan on working with you, to determine how you want to be engaged and to shift our communication expectations. We need to be coming to you, instead of continuously asking you to come to us.
Communications is continuously a barrier for our community. No matter how our City tries to get information out, it seems to only reach a select few, or it arrives far too late. We have a unique demographic make up here and everyone seems to get their information in a different way (Newspapers and radio (Both Airdrie and Calgary), social media, City website, word of mouth, etc. If we can increase communications with you, we can achieve higher feedback levels and ensure that we are putting your tax dollars into what you want and where you want it.
My Action Plan for Communications:
Work with City administration to:
Finalize the update for The City of Airdrie Website
Develop a comprehensive City app to get information directly to you, so that you do not have to go searching in different places to find it
Continue to ask you how you want to be engaged
Enhance the scope of the MyAirdrie platform to make sure you have all the information on all city projects that effect you, and can easily transact with the city from wherever you are
Work with community not-for profit groups, creative and cultural groups, sporting groups and the City to create a community calendar, so that you never have to say "I wish I had known about that event, project, engagement opportunity, etc"
Use my own social media channels and website to continue getting as much information to you about the community and what is happening (and why), to keep you engaged in your community.
Work towards a more inclusive communication and engagement strategy. Currently, not everyone can take part in our communications. We need to ensure that we are working with different community groups to make sure we are engaging you in the format that suits you. A few examples of areas where we need to do better are things like closed captioning of live streamed meetings and surveys available in multiple languages.
It is important to understand how your community works, so my commitment to you is to provide you with as much information as possible.
Our city has seen such extreme growth over the last decade, that we haven't been able to keep up with it. Our roadways cannot accommodate all of us and getting around can be a nightmare sometimes.
The city is off to a great start on adjusting our roadways. Our council recently finalized the agreement for construction of the QEII/ 40th Ave Interchange. This is a huge step for the community. Alleviating our traffic loads on both Yankee Valley BV and Veterans BV will allow traffic to flow quicker and more efficiently. Our council approved the 2020 Transportation Master Plan (TMP) - 140K Plan (pdf), which puts the city in a great position to plan for our future roadways and for populations of up to 140,000 residents. Having future planning in place allows us to stay ahead of transportation challenges, instead of adding "band-aid" solutions as they arise.
Progress Regional conversations around the Rapid Transit Corridor on 24th St and an Airdrie to Calgary Biking/ Walking Trail
Identify and monitor crosswalk safety issues and work to find appropriate solutions
Continue advocating for walkable communities to decrease single occupant vehicle trips in the community and promote passive recreation opportunities
Enhance the Airdrie Transit System, by continuously reviewing fee structures and routes (We can always be improving)
Create innovative strategies and solutions to create safer roads (intersection safety, traffic safety and pedestrian/ bike safety)
Everyday, I spend a lot of time driving around this community. I see the challenges, and the successes - and My Commitment to you is to always keep finding new ways to keep you moving in a safe and efficient manner.
Health Care In Airdrie
Obviously, a fully equipped state of the art hospital in our city is on the top of everyone's list. We will never stop advocating for this outcome, but we are in the hands of our Provincial government on the when and where hospitals are built. So, until our time comes around, we will continue to push for it and better our relationship with our government.
With the Airdrie Health Foundation working hard for us, we have achieved 24 hour health care here, so we do have somewhere to go, at all hours of the day. They have got us extra beds in our Urgent Care and some desperately needed equipment. But, it's not enough. We need to continue to support this foundation and work with our government partners to get more for our Urgent Care Centre. More beds, better equipment, more staff and the training for the staff to run any new equipment.
We also need to continuously push to have the proposed Calgary North Campus hospital become a reality in an expedited timeline. This would be the closest option for our citizens to receive Emergency medical care within 10-15 minutes. That distance could be life saving for us. I will never stop advocating for more, when it comes to our health care system.
My Action Plan for Better Health Care:
Advocate for an Airdrie Hospital, first and foremost
Advocate for an expedited timeline for the proposed Calgary North Campus Hospital
Advocate for better funding for more space, more beds, more equipment (and staff who are trained to use the equipment) and more staff in general for our Urgent Care Centre
Advocate and open up lines of communication for quicker EMS response times. Work with the provincial government, AHS and our emergency responders to help identify the issues and come up with creative solutions to do this. I have been very fortunate to be able to start these conversations as the Chair of the Inter-City Forum on Social Policy and if re-elected, I plan to enhance these conversations with our Ministers and municipal leaders from across the province.
Work with our City administration, our Provincial Government, AHS and our health care professionals to work towards a province wide Mental Health strategy that isn't cumbersome and hard to navigate when someone is in a crisis.
Work with our City administration, our Provincial Government, AHS and our health care professionals to work towards a "one window approach" to accessing Mental Health Services
Create more opportunities for residents to engage in preventative health initiatives, within their own community
Work with our Municipal Government, Provincial Government, Federal Government and community partners to get smoking and vaping products out of the hands of our youth!
In short, Airdrie needs more when it comes to Health Care. These are BIG issues to tackle and some portions are very out of our hands. This does not mean that we can't still take action on them. We need to be the squeaky wheels that never stop having the challenging conversations. My commitment to you - is to always advocate for your needs in Health Care, to open up lines of conversation wherever I can and to work with all partners to create Made in Alberta solutions and Made in Airdrie solutions.
Arts & Culture
What does Arts & Culture mean to you? Does it mean Shakespeare and Van Gough? Does it mean Mozart and Michelangelo?
Or... does it mean Steven Spielberg, Michael Buble, Rachel Ray, Duff Goldman, Quentin Tarantino, Enzo Ferrari, Ryan Reynolds? We need to shift our perception of what the Arts means. Each and every one of us is impacted by Arts & Culture, every single day - and most of the time, we don't even notice. Yes, Arts refers to painters, actors, sculptors and composers - but it also refers to our musicians, chefs, bakers, gardeners, landscape designers, architects, graphic and industrial designers, machinists, mechanics, engineers, fashion designers, quilters, potters, marketing specialists and more. Arts & Culture is what guides our decisions on what clothes we wear, what groceries we buy, the cars we buy, the houses we buy, our hair styles, and so, so much more. Culture also means looking at our history and recognizing the beautiful, diverse world we have around us.
Airdrie is home to more incredible creative persons per capita than most places in this province, and without them we wouldn't have our community events, our unique businesses, or our beautiful spaces in the community. It is time that we start supporting our Creative and Cultural Community to enhance quality of life for all of us.
Also, by supporting our Creative and Cultural Communities, we will attract more businesses to our City. Employers want to locate where they can have employees and patrons who are happy, healthy and enjoy a high quality of life. Arts & Culture are major contributing factors to achieving this.
My Action Plan for Arts & Culture:
Work with our creative industries and the municipality to create a local Arts & Culture Council or Arts Chamber
Work with Economic Development to attract new and exciting creative industries to our area, and support the ones we have already
Work with the Provincial Government, our municipality and the region to enhance opportunities for the Film Industry in our community. This industry promotes tourism and creates jobs.... lots of jobs
Work with community partners to create one comprehensive Community Events Calendar to make sure that residents know what is going on, where it is happening and how they can support local
Support our Creative Non-Profit Organizations. This doesn't always mean money - this could mean recognition, promotions, and creating policies that support sustainable practices and collaboration.
Work towards creating opportunities for Creative Business Incubator spaces, to grow our creative industries
We need to ensure that the vibrancy we are all looking for, doesn't leave our community. Our Arts & Culture Industry has been hit very hard over the last 2-3 years and we need to revive it. We have the talent, we have the means to do it, we just need to start acting on it. My commitment to you is to continue creating opportunities for collaborative conversations with our arts & culture organizations, help facilitate creative solution building and actually act on the outcomes. We can't just have empty words and policies... we need to act.
Housing is an essential part of life. When people have access to safe, stable and comfortable housing, they have an easier time finding jobs, increasing their quality of life and becoming comfortable in their community. Whether someone is able to access market ownership, or is in need of affordable housing, our municipality should have something for everyone. As a municipality, we have to build a comprehensive housing plan that accommodates every resident where they are at, and assists them to move through the housing spectrum.
When we talk about affordable housing, I am really tired of hearing that "We are close enough to Calgary" and that is why affordable housing only gets allocated there. From both the Federal and Provincial lens, housing is disproportionately allocated to the two major urban centres. This is great for accessing specialized medical services, but has negative side effects when we remove people from their support networks, family and friends. We are, by default, creating larger drains on our emergency first responders, our health care system and our tax dollars. By keeping people with their support networks, we can reduce the instances of mental health calls, create a better culture and reduce social isolation.
This applies so much to our aging population. The concept of "Aging in Place" shouldn't be just a plan that sits on a dusty shelf. We need to implement strategies to ensure that our residents can live how they want, and where they want. We just need to create the mechanisms for this to happen.
When we talk about market housing, this should mean that we have a variety of housing types that work with people's lifestyles and budgets.
My Action Plan for Housing:
Continue to develop a comprehensive affordable housing plan. This should not be just market ownership and low income, rent-geared- to-income housing. This should have multiple stepping stones, from shelter living to market ownership and everything in between. We need to assess where people can be going with housing and help them to get there.
Work with our social agencies and health providers to make sure that Airdrie residents are able to access social supports along their housing journey. If we are able to get people supports before they are in a crisis mode, they will be able to advance with their housing needs faster and with less stress.
Work with and advocate to, our Provincial and Federal Governments to make sure that affordable housing is allocated to our community, so that our residents can stay where they have adequate support networks in place.
Work with the Provincial Government, Federal Government and private industry to build more seniors housing for all levels of care ranging from independent living all the way to SL4, long term and hospice care.
Work with our development community to ensure that we are always looking for diversity in our housing to offer choices to residents. This can also include market ownership units that are built for barrier free and senior living.
Creating more options to meet our housing needs has so many benefits to our community. Having stable and affordable housing allows residents to feel safer within their community. We can create a better culture within our community and strengthen our workforce. Having happy, healthy and stable employees and customer bases can entice businesses to come to our community, to create more jobs. My commitment to you is to continue working with all stakeholders to make sure that no one is left behind when it comes to housing. I will continue to advocate for you with the Provincial Government and Federal Government to make sure we are set up for success with funding, project approvals and innovative ideas.
Our local economy will need a lot of support coming out of this pandemic. The continuous yo-yo effect of the Provincial mandates has taken it's toll on many businesses here. We need to continue to support them, listen to their needs and adjust our policies, where feasible, to create an environment where businesses can thrive.
When we can grow our economy, everyone wins. It is important to have a plan in place to retain, attract and support our local businesses. We have an incredible group of the province's best Economic Development Officers in this community, who have been working very hard on a 10 year Economic Development Strategy. This plan will help us to support and grow our existing businesses and attract new industries to our community.
What does this mean for the local taxpayer? This means a diversity of community offerings for your family to frequent. This means more jobs, so that our residents do not have to always leave their community just to find employment. This also means that we can get closer to an ideal residential/ non- residential tax split. Achieving something closer to a 75/25 ratio (we are currently around 85/15) can reduce the tax burden from our residential home owner, and can allow us to do more - with less.
Opening up new employment lands is crucial for this to happen. With planning underway for the East Points Industrial Area, new commercial areas in the SW and an updated downtown, we are on our way to creating spaces for businesses to come to the community and grow.
One very large barrier that businesses find in Airdrie is the cost of leasing space. While the city can not control leasing rates within the community, we can work with our community to adjust these prices. By opening up new employment areas, we can open up more space, which can drive leasing rates down. This will make our community even more attractive to potential new outside businesses, and can help our small businesses move into that store front that they have been working so hard to find. Another great way to enhance our small business economy is to create more space for small business incubator spaces. Having the ability to share spaces, or use smaller store fronts, can help our businesses grow in a responsible and cost effective way.
My Action Plan for Economic Growth:
Support our Economic Development department to continue their work towards our Economic Development Strategy Goals.
Listen to our businesses to find out what supports they are needing or barriers that they are encountering. With this information, I can advocate for you and work towards making doing business in Airdrie as easy as possible.
Make sure that lines of communication are always open, so that no one is left in the dark or feels as though their voice doesn't matter. We will thrive when we work together.
Ensure that planning for new industrial and commercial lands are done right. This means that they have to work well for both the businesses and the community as a whole. Making sure that there is adequate support from the community is how these businesses will succeed.
Be open to working with new and unique industries. We have a great location in Airdrie, right off of a major transportation corridor and near an international airport. This makes our location very attractive to prospective businesses. Using our attributes to entice new businesses to call Airdrie home, will open up new and exciting jobs and provide lasting benefits to the community.
Work with our regional partners to create a competitive and attractive region. This will open us up to the global market and bring more work to the region. It is imperative that we keep working on our regional growth and servicing plans to make sure that, as a region, we have a comprehensive plan for employment areas. We need to be working together to secure larger industries, instead of competing with each other.
Continue conversations with our post-secondary institutions, to bring a higher level of learning to our community. Showing that Airdrie has the best and the brightest employees here, ready to work - will be an added incentive to the community when new industries are looking for places to locate. We need to ensure that Airdrie residents are always first in line for Airdrie jobs.
Support our employee and customer base with the community supports they require. This can include housing, social supports, enhanced amenities, greater access to health and health care and enhancing their quality of life through city amenities and community culture.
We have so many opportunities ahead of us to grow our local economy. We are in a prime position in the region, and have the knowledge and skill set to make things happen. My commitment to you is to always listen to our business community to find better ways to do things. I will always encourage us to be leaders in Alberta's economic recovery by exploring new and innovative concepts and industries. Finally, I will continue to work with all stakeholders to make sure that we are set up for success.
Airdrie, we have heard you. You want more facilities - all types of facilities actually. Through community surveys, feedback from residents and concerns from residents, the city has identified the facilities that are at the top of the list for you.
Work has begun on the planning for a new Multi-use Library facility. This project has been overdue for quite some time. Our current library is around 13,000 sqft and is very busy. Our programming has been maxed out for quite some time and our space restrictions have made it challenging to always fill the requests of residents. Moving into a new space is no longer a want from the community - it is a need to continue providing the services that a community requires. If you haven't been to a library in awhile, there are so many things happening there, every day. Programming for all ages is the largest draw to the facility. There are programs for new moms with babies, toddler time, school age and teen programming, as well as adult and senior programming. Residents can use the facility for a new, safe and all weather place to meet new people, use technology that they may not have access to at home, engage in learning new skills and hobbies, access digital content, create something new in a maker space, and so much more.
The new multi-use space will consist of a 60,000 sqft library, which will be able to accommodate our population past the 120,000 mark. There is also partner space in this building of up to 25,000 sqft. Currently the city is determining who will be sharing the space, what size they will need within that space and what the return on investment could look like.
The new West-side Recreation Facility planning is just beginning. The city has purchased land for this facility in the SW quadrant of the city. This new site will be a joint use site with a new school. The city is currently initiating a recreation study to determine what you would like to see in that facility. This could look like more pools, more rinks, more pickleball courts, climbing walls, etc.... let us know what you want. Size and design planning with consultation with the community will follow and budget allocations will be made accordingly.
We also know that there are many outdoor recreational amenities that you would like to see. The city is collecting feedback on your wants and we can start to prioritize these wants with budget allocations. The Airdrie 2020 Winter Games Legacy committee has allocated funds to form an Airdrie Sports Council. This group will be a tremendous asset to the community when it comes to determining community needs and raising funds to provide these amenities.
This seems like a lot to accomplish, but our job is to make sure we are getting you what you need. It will take careful planning with the community and budgets to make this all happen. We will need to make sure we are leveraging every available grant and opportunity to make these facilities a reality - that fits within our means.
My Action Plan for Community Facilites:
Listen to you! These are your facilities. They need to work for you and you need to be part of the decision making process with them.
Continue to work with administration to make sure these facilities are completed within the scope, budget and timelines.
Continuously look for opportunities to access Federal and Provincial grants to make these facilities more cost effective for the community.
Be open to cost sharing opportunities with regional and private partners.
Create opportunities for our facilities to use renewable energy sources. Not only to reduce our carbon footprint, but to create long-term, cost saving benefits for operational costs.
Be flexible to changing environments and community needs, while staying committed to project timelines.
Ensuring that you and your families have opportunities to live, work and PLAY in our community is important to me. We shouldn't have to go to outside of our community to access the amenities that we want. My commitment to you is to be a relentless advocate for your voice. I will make sure that we are building facilities that are the right size for our future growth, efficient and in line with what you want. I will always look for new and creative opportunities to explore cost-saving measures, leverage grants, work with partners and be innovative when needed.
I know that this seems like a lot to work on, but so many of these actionable items really do overlap. If we work outside of silos and view our projects from a holistic lens, we truly can accomplish more... with less.
On october 18th, 2021... RE-ELECT tina petrow for airdrie city council