City councillor questionnaire

We emailed a list of questions to every council member. Here are their answers.

Who are you?

Councillor Frank Galgay

What ward do you represent?
Ward 2

How long have you served as a St. John’s city councillor?
10 years…I was elected in 1997 and re-elected in 2001 and 2005

How would you rate your performance in the past year?
I would say very good.

What should be the city’s top priorities?
1. To develop a balance between economic development and heritage preservation.
2. To increase funding for upgrading streets, sidewalks, aging infrastructure and sidewalk snow clearing.
3. To improve parks and recreation.
4. To encourage promotion of neighbourhood organizations.
5. To promote the importance of St. John’s as a “City of Legends” for its economic, cultural and historic value and to protect property values by good planning.

What has been the city’s greatest achievement in the past 5 years?
The greatest achievement has been the approval of the St. John’s Harbor Cleanup Project. St. John’s Harbor has been a cesspool for the past five centuries. It has been an environmental and health issue. Finally it is being addressed for present and future generations.

MUSINGS
Sidewalk Snow Clearing-There is definitely a lot of room for improvement. Hopefully it will come to fruition with increased funding. If we can’t financially do the whole city, public works could recommend high priority areas.

Councillor terms and conditions of employment.
I was elected for a four year term. I am pleased with our office conditions and the support staff to serve the people. I should point out that I have given full time to my ward since I have no other full time job. The present salary adequately compensates me at this time.

Mile One- A necessary structure if we are to compete and attract national and international events. I have some concerns about the possibility of increased subsidies but have been given assurances by the new St. John’s Sports and Entertainment Board that they are looking at ways and means along with efficiencies to address that concern. It is a cold reality that some form of subsidy will be required unless the building is sold or leased.

Downtown Parking-It is a problem for some residents and businesses. Council in cooperation with the Downtown Development Commission approved a study to address the problems and make recommendations.

Recycling and Composting-Its time has come for St. John’s. We have released our plans and will be providing an educational program to inform residents on this topic.

Bike Lanes-This will be an important addition to our city. Presently ongoing study and discussions are taking place on feasibility of implementing it. Please check

Converting Grand Concourse for cyclists and pedestrians. ..I think it is a good idea and hopefully Public Works, Parks and Recreation would have a look at it where feasible.

Dealing with graffiti-We have no right to deface or destroy private or public property. We would encourage constructive outlets by providing available spaces to practice the art.

Downtown Hotel Developments-The present and future economic spinoffs for the development of offshore oil and gas will undoubtedly create a market for such hotels. However, their designs should respect the historic ambience of the downtown.

Public Funding for the Capitol (old CBC) building. ..The whole issue will undoubtedly be discussed by the Arts Community at the Arts Symposium set for April 4th and 5th and I am anxious to hear the views of that community before making a decision one way or another.

City Support for the Arts.. .1 have been a strong supporter. I sit on the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Arts and realize its importance in the development of the city.

Where do you reside?
Northeast St. John’s

How do you travel?
Car

If I were Mayor I would work to make St. John’s the best city in Canada

Other than St. John’s, do you have a favourite city?
Quebec City

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Dennis O’Keefe

Acting Mayor
Eight years Councillor at Large, three Deputy Mayor and now Acting Mayor
I have served the city and its residents to the best of my ability over eleven years. I leave it to the residents to rate my performance.

Top five priorities:

keeping property taxes as low as possible given the need to provide services to residents

renewal of infrastructure: sidewalks, streets, retaining walls.

environmental initiatives: waste diversion, recycling, provision of
high quality water in sufficient volumes to serve the needs of
residents.

a new fiscal relationship with the provincial and federal governments to provide funding for municipal needs and initiatives.

increased regional cooperation on common problems along with the support of economic growth and development on a municipal and regional basis.

Greatest Acheivement: Two: Harbor Clean Up and Mile One and Covention Center Complex.

Sidewalk Snow Clearing: We already provide sidewalk snow clearing in some areas ie: school zones, seniors areas and high traffic volume highways and arterials. We should try to provide one side clearance on high volume pedestrian connector streets. Military Road, Prescott Street, Empire Avenue would be examples

Councillor Terms: Fine

Mile One: See above

Downtown Parking: Joint Study financed by City and DDC now being done.

Recycling, Composting: Absolutely. Such will start in 2009 and continue with composting in 2010. We will have four stream crecycling and composting curbside by 2010.

Bike Lanes: Consideration now being given by Council. A good initiative for health as well as recreational and economic reasons.

Grand Concourse: It will have to be taken up with the Grand Concourse Authority to see if feasible.

Outdoor surveillance in parks: Only where absolutely necessary and practical as well as cost efficient.

Graffiti: Eliminate it.

Amalgamation: A complex and emotional issue. It is not a matter of any municipality taking over another or one losing its identity. Increased cooperation in the metro area will lead to a joining of the various muncipalities. It will benefit all.

Hotel Developments: Great

Capitol Theatre: A theatre is needed in the core of the city to support the arts. City support will depend on if it is for private profit or a non profit venture on the theatre operation. The city should not financially support a private for profit venture.

Support for the arts. Most definitely. The Arts Community in any city is what makes a city attractive, vibrant and a great place in which to live. When you support the arts you are supporting the life of your city. You actually attract growth, development, talent and quality of life through the support of the arts.

Deficit: The city always has to balance its budget. In the budget process we will deal with whatever the projected deficit is. We will make every attempt to ensure that there is no increase in property taxes either business or residential.

Full Time: Good, if one can devote one’s time fully to municipal issues but it is not necessary to have an eleven member full time council.

I reside in the west end of St. John’s.

I walk/drive.

South Dildo

If I were Mayor I would work to ensure that St. John’s was the best place in the workd in which to work, live and do business. That say’s it all!

Who are you?

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Sandy Hickman

What ward do you represent?
I am an at-large councillor

How long have you served as a St. John’s city councillor?
Since Dec. 2001

How would you rate your performance during the past year on council?
Not for me to say

What are/should be the city’s top 5 priorities?
far more than 5 … here’s a few… clean harbour, clean drinking water, recycling program. Recreation for all, better program of streets rehab, more efficianet snow-clearing

What has been the city’s greatest achievement in the last 5 years?
getting the harbour clean-up underway
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PLEASE STATE YOUR OPINIONS/MUSINGS ON THE FOLLOWING MUNICIPAL ISSUES:

Sidewalk snow clearing
I have always felt we need to do more streets and do them as the streets are cleared, certainly once a storm finishes

Councillors’ terms and conditions of employment
no real problem with it…see no need to enhance the package anytime soon, although I sometimes wonder why we don’t get any more candidates than we do. As for terms; there should be a limit of 3 or 4

Mile One Centre
A very important facility that ahs led to the dev. of more hotels,etc. However, has a pooer history of operations. This appears to be changing with a new board and management. I am very disapoinonted ar the loss of the fog Devils; I think it will hurt our reputation as a host city.

Downtown parking
We do havea parking problem down there.Feel the study we are doing is key.

Recycling/Composting
100% behind this initiave. Long overdue but we were help up by the province for several years.

Bike lanes
The bike study will help us understand how to work this better. But I believe we need them. However, we havea difficult city geographically

Converting the Grand Concourse trail to accommodate cyclists as well
as pedestrians
Not sure if that would work…parts of it would, for sure; others – definitely not. Part of the big picture.

Outdoor video surveillance (in Cowan Park, for example)
Something ahs to be done… this may work, it may not. I am open to a field test at one site, for sure.

Dealing with graffiti
I am not sure if giving publicity to the problem really helps. I chair a committee that does a mural on a city wall every year. I feel this is a more positive way of dealing with the problem.

Amalgamation with Mount Pearl and Paradise
Long overdue. The govt. has to be strong on this.

Downtown hotel developments
Very positive. Fully support those that are approved… may be some issues with one or two that may be proposed.

Public funding for the Capital Theatre
the city is doing a study on theater space needs in the city at my request. I fully support the arts and see the need for a better understanding of performance spaces in the city. If the study shows the need for a mid-sized space, I will consider the Capital Theater but am not convinced that it is the right way to go.

City support for the arts
We need to enhance this.

The projected $1.6 million 2008/2009 budget deficit
This will be dealt with.

Making councillor positions full time
Only the mayor…councilors need to come from a cross-section of society and cannot be full-time for that reason…

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Where in the city do you currently reside?
Off Elizabeth ave.

How do you travel to work?
walk when I can…otherwise drive.

Other than St. John’s, do you have a favourite city?
Corner brook and montreal

If I were Mayor, I would _________.
Work closely with the fed and prov. Govt’s to try and attain greater support from both levels for our capital and operating needs. Also, work more co-operatively with neighbouring municipalities.

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Keith Coombs

Ward Three

15 years

Good

Priorities: Environment
Economic Development
Improving Infrastructure
Preparing our city for prosperity
Increasing city services

The construction of Mile One/Convention center and the Harbor Clean Up

Sidewalk snow clearing – should put in place a five year plan to steadily increase amount cleared with a view to having at least one side done in all major streets and roadways

Councillors’ terms and conditions of employment: Fine as is

Mile One Centre: Great addition to the city’s infrastructure

Downtown parking: Present study should provide ways and means to address issue

Recycling/Composting: The sooner the better

Bike lanes: Depends on cost

Converting the Grand Concourse trail to accommodate cyclists as well
as pedestrians: May be a more sensible route to go

Outdoor video surveillance (in Cowan Park, for example): This plus other measures need to be taken to reduce vandalism

Dealing with graffiti: City could be more proactive

Amalgamation with Mount Pearl and Paradise: Unfortunately the provincial political will is not there to carry it out.

Downtown hotel developments: Within reason

Public funding for the Capital Theatre: More information required

City support for the arts: Should be increased

The projected $1.6 million 2008/2009 budget deficit: This will be dealt with as has always been done

Making councilor positions full time: Not necessary

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Where in the city do you currently reside? Cowan Heights

How do you travel to work? By car

Other than St. John’s, do you have a favourite city? Ottawa

If I were Mayor, I would _ensure that city hall remains open to the citizens and that all information is accessible and forthcoming.

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Shannie Duff

My name is Shannie Duff, I am a Councillor at Large . have also served as Mayor and Deputy Mayor. This is my seventh term on Council. 28 years)

I rate my performance highly. I am well informed, articulate, hard working, and committed to the betterment of the City. I am a team player and ahare my knowledge and experience with my colleagues. I bring intellegence and common sense to to the debates at City Hall. ( I am also a little uncomfortable with the concept of self rating)

Infrastructure ( Reinvestment to address infrastructure deficit)

Fiscal responsibility, careful oversight of revenue and expenditures.

Maintaining a balance of social programs so that all our citizens can share in the benefits of increased prosperity. ( Affordable housing, public Transit, inclusive recreational programs, etc, services to seniors .)

Environment. Addressing the major environmental issues the city has been facing for many years.

Economic Development. Working in cooperation with the Private sector, and other governments to position St. John’s and the urban region as a major player in Atlantic Canada. This includes support for the preservation and enhancement of the assets that make St. John’s Unique and attractive as a place to live and work. The protection of parks and open spaces, the protection and enhancement of our heritage and culture, public safety, reasonable taxes and well maintained muncicpal infrastructure. .

In my opinion the city’s greatest acheivement in the past five years has been the progress made on major envionmental issues. The upgrading of the water supply systems at Windsor Lake and Bay Bull Big Pond , the Clean up of St. John’s Harbour and the Retrofit of Robin Hood Bay as the Regional Landfill and a major materialss diversion facility. The water upgrades have been completed except for Petty Harbour Long Pond which is next in line. The other two projects are well under way and scheduled for completion in 2009. These are all big ticket investments in the future health and livilability of the city and the Region. They required and received support from the Provincial and Federal Governments .

Sidewalk snow clearing. We need to do better in this area and are trying. It is a budget issue and there are also difficulties with terrain (hills, narrow sidewalks, lack of snow storage etc) and our climate ( level of percipitation and the freeze thaw cycle which present real challanges to public safety .

Councillors terms and conditions of employment. I personally have so problem with the status quo.

Mile One Centre, I support Centre. It is making a contribution to the economy of the City particularly in the area of developing our ablility to attract larger exhibitions and trade shows. There were some growing pains and parking nees to be addressed but I think it is moving in the right direction.

Downtown Parking. ( and traffic) This is an issue and will be a real constraint on downtown development unless it is addressed. The City has just approved a major study of this issue in partnership with teh Downtrown Development Commission. It will look at our existing zoning and development regulations, traffic flow, adequacy of exisiting parking spaces, requirements of future growth, possible need for another parking structure and the appropriate location for same, funding mechanisms, etc.

Bike lanes. the cityis currently doing a cycling plan with the objective of making St. John’s a healthier and more environmently friendly City. We are hoping to encouraging greater use of bicycles for both commuters and recreational users.. Part of this process will be the idenification and marking of bicycle routes, modifications to intersetions to make them safer, improving bicycle parking at work destinations, improving linkages with public transportation, and public education. Converting some ares of the Grand Coucourse trail for bike and pedestrian use is one of the oprions under consideration but will have to be approached with great care and lots of public imput. There are public safety considerations. It would require parellel lanes and not all areas of the trail would be good candidates for this.

Outdoor video survellience for certain parks and public area has ben suggested. I have an open mind on this but I remain to be convinced that warrented or sufficiently effective to be worth the expense.at the present time.

Dealing with graffiti. Removing it as quickly as possible seems to be the most effective way to deal with this.
Amalgamation . This is not a big issue right now for me. I believe it will happen over time because it makes good economic sense. Successful amalgations require strong leadershop at the provincial level.( As in the case of Halifax) There also needs to be a better articulation of the benefits for the region as a whole. In the meantime were a moving toward a situation where many of our major services are being regionalized which I feel is a step in the right direction.

Downtown Hotel Development. I am happy to see hotels in the downtown area. They contribute to the life of the area and support retail and cultural activities. Hotels build in the heritage area they should be designed to respect the character and scale of the historic old City. Our heritage area is a major cultural asset and tourist attraction

Public funding for the Capital Theatre. The city has made a commitment to the LSPU Hall and will honor that commitment if other funding commitments are met. We are also in the process of doing a demand study for demand for a 500 seat theatre and other cultural spaces in the city. I understand that there is some discussion between the proponents of the Capital Theatre and the LSPU Hall and that will be an important piece in any decision making.

I strongly support municipal support for the Arts as a major contributor to our quality of life,and as an economic generator. The cultural life of our community is very important in positioning St. John’s as an attractive place for business attraction and retention and as a place when people will want to live and work.

The finance committee on the advice of senior staff will monitor the situation and make adjustments that need to be made. A large part of the current defecit is in snowclearing. We have a $2,000,000 reserve fund to cover the kingd of overruns we are experiencing this winter. As this is depleted we make contributions to maintain the fund in future budgets.

I am not sure what that means. Does that imply that th only people who can run for Council are unemployed , retired or independently wealthy? That would be a bit limiting. To be an effective Councillor does require a major time commitment as things currently stand. I don’t think you can legislate the level of comitment. The public will decide who is doing a good job.

I live in the Georgetown area. I normally drive and sometimes walk to work Would like to walk more when the snow goes.

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Tom Hann

1. Tom Hann has a 25 year carreer in broadcasting, advertising, and business. Currently is a communications consultant at Waterwerks Communications, and a member of City Council. Active in the community and has served on numerous boards of charitable groups, served on and chaired school councils, was active in education reform and active in the political life of the province.

2. I am a Councilor At large, thereffor represent the whol city.

3. I am currently serving my first time on City council, elected 2.5 years ago in the geneal election.

4. If you want to rate my performance you should ask the taxpayers of St. John’s. I take the position seriously and work hard to deliver for the citizens of our city in a time of strong economic growth that has to be managed properly. I sit on 9 standing committees of council and chair the St. John’s Transportation Commission which oversees the operation of Metrobus. The best aspect of the job is serving people on an individual basis and helping with their problems.

5. The city’s top priorities are providing good basic services in an efficient manner, first and foremost. Being fiscally transparent and accountable, dealing with environmental issues, economic development, an environment that creates a healthy lifestyle which includes the areas of recreation opportunities and the arts, which is basic to the fabric of the city.

6. Greatest achievements include dealing with our environmental issues such as the Harbour Clean Up project and the recently announced Waste Management System. Our ecoomy has grown significantly, our GDP last year grew by 9.7% whhich was slightly better than the provincial GDP of 8.9%. All sectors enjoyed growth last year. And the increase in consumer confidence and income gains resulted in major growth in housing and retail sectors. Housing starts for instance are were up by 16.1 % and our unemployment dropped by 1.2% So providing an environment for economic development, which in turn provides opportunities for people, that’s what it’s all about.

7. We have to find the funding to at least get a start on sidewalk snowclearing. Maybe we start on the major thoroughfares, and do one side and then gradually increase as we can find the additional funding required to expand the program.

8. Depending on the amount of time you spend at the job, it can be very demanding. Attending committee meetings, and after hour events to represent the city can be time consuming. As a part time position the terms and conditions are adequate.

9. Mile One has been controversial and contentious from the start, especially from the view of mounting operational deficits. Given that, a complete operational review is taking place which should have a positive affect of the future of Mile One. Iti s a facility that the city needs and is a world class facility.

10. Downtown parking has been a concern since the advent of the automobile. It is a concern to the businesses and offices that operate downtown. It is also an environmental concern with people using their vehicles. That’s why the city and the DDC have partnered to have yet another look at the situation. I am hoping one of the recommendation will present ways to entice people to use public transit.

11. As you know we have a Bike Study being looked at now. the content of the study is available on the citry web page and staff will now work with the Grand Course Authority to okk at design and costing.

12. In some areas, video surveillance is necessary as a deterrent to rising vandalism. We have had problems in our parks and tot lots causing damage to city facilities and disturbing nearby neighbours.

13. A committee was struck last year to deal with the issue of graffeti and to work with all stakeholders involved.

14. I think amalgamation will be a forgone conclusion in the future. A fast growing economy, an increase in population, and the fact that we are competing among each other and with other Atlantic Canadian cities to attract business and government jobs, means we will have to join forces or be left out of the equation. Growth will also bring challenges such as delivering basic services. The added pressure will demand efficient operation, and that will come, in my opinion, with consolidation and amalgamation.

15. Again, a growing economy needs infrastructure such as new hotels and office space, which has to be provided in the city’s business core. That increasing demand is a reality, so we have to manage the challenges in a resonsible manner given the problems in a growning downtown core and preserving our heritage.

16. Definately no to funding for Capitol. People have spoken to me and there is no appetite among the citizens of St. John’s to use their taxpayers dollars to support private enterprise eventhough the venture could be good for the downtown. The message I get, there are more pressing needs.

17. The arts are an important part of the fabric of the city and has to ne encouraged as much as possible. The question always is at what level does a municiple government support the arts community given the opportunities available from other levels of government. I am really hopeful that the Arts Sympsium Two will answer those questions and give us proper direction that will see us invest on our arts community, one of the most prolific in the coutry and one we shold all be proud of.

18. By law, the city has to present a balanced budget. since I will not be supporting increasd property taxes in the next fiscal year, any shortfall will have to be dealt with by looking at our operations first, and the services we provide. There has to be room for improvement.

18. I live in the west end of the city.

19. I use my vehicle to make my living so I have to drive my car.

20 I have two favourite cities other than St. John’s and they are Venice Italy and Montreal.

21. If I were Mayor? Have all concerned pay more attention fo taxpayers and their needs and do a better job of delivering some of the basic services they deserve. We do an excellent job in some areas, but there is sdtill more to be done. I would also put more emphasis on economic development and immigration.

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Wally Collins

Councillor Wally Collins

What ward do you represent?
Ward 5

How long have you served as a St. John’s city councillor?
2 1/2 years

How would you rate your performance during the past year on council?
I have worked very hard over the past 2 1/2 years.
I serve on six Committees.
I am Chair of the Public Works Committee
I serve on the Goulds Recreation Committee, Bidgoods Property Committee, Goulds Arena Committee.
I attend meetings of the Kilbride Neighbourhood Watch, Kilbride Seniors Club, Goulds Seniors Club, Shea Heights Seniors Club.
I also attend meetings of the Southlands/Southbrook Residents Committee.
Monthly visits to Fort Amherst, Black Head, Waterford Heights, Sesame Park, Southside and Shea Heights.

What are/should be the city’s top 5 priorities?
– Keeping taxes down
– Get Waste Management Recycling Program up and running
– Completion of the Harbour Cleanup Facility
– Control Spending
– Putting money back to the taxpayers by controlling in-house spending
What has been the city’s greatest achievement in the last 5 years?
– Harbour Cleanup
– Waste Management

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PLEASE STATE YOUR OPINIONS/MUSINGS ON THE FOLLOWING MUNICIPAL ISSUES:

Sidewalk snow clearing
Continue status quo, concentrating on School zones.

Councillors’ terms and conditions of employment
Keep as is.

Mile One Centre
Will need a subsidy of approx. $2,000,000 fir both Mile One and Convention Center.
I think a City of our size needs this venue because of spinoffs: hotels, taxis, restaurants, bars etc.

Downtown parking
Should encourage residents to use transit system.
Parking Study is currently being undertaken.

Recycling/Composting
Long overdue. The City is building a new facility at Robin Hood Bay.

Bike lanes
The City has a Committee which is studying this issue.

Converting the Grand Concourse trail to accommodate cyclists as well
as pedestrians
Do not agree. Too much congestion.
Outdoor video surveillance (in Cowan Park, for example)
No – do not agree.

Dealing with graffiti
The City will continue to paint over graffiti. There is a Committee dealing with the issues.

Amalgamation with Mount Pearl and Paradise
I agree with amalgamation which will cut down on duplication and expenses.

Downtown hotel developments
Sufficient as is.

Public funding for the Capital Theatre
No – do not agree with this.

City support for the arts
The City supports the arts through its grants and art procurement programs. The City also has a Arts & Cultural Development Coordinator who works with very closely with the various arts organizations in the City.

The projected $1.6 million 2008/2009 budget deficit
The City will deal with this when the time comes. We do not want to increase taxes in 2009.

Making councillor positions full time
Not necessary.

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Where in the city do you currently reside?
Goulds
How do you travel to work?
Car.

Other than St. John’s, do you have a favorite city?
No.
If I were Mayor, I would _________.
Work as hard as I do now and be as fair as I can to the taxpayers of St. John’s.

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Ron Ellsworth

Who are you?
• I am Ron Ellsworth, married to Paula (Joyce) and we have 4 children Michael, Stephanie, Christine and Maria

What ward do you represent?
• I represent Ward 4

How long have you served as a St. John’s City councilor
• I have served for 2.1/2 years

How would you rate your performance during the past year on council?
• I have had a good year with the projects that have been brought forward ie: the environmental issue

What are/should be the city’s top 5 priorities?
• Snow Clearing
• Garbage Collection
• Environmental Protecting
• Water and sewer
• Parks/Recreation/Arts

What has been the city’s greatest achievement in the last 5 years?
• Movement forward with the Environmental Initiative
• Windsor Lake treatment plant
• Waster diversion plant on Southside Road
• Curbside recycling
• Robin Hood Bay retro fit

Please State your opinions on the following municipal issues:

Sidewalk snow clearing
• Pilot project in developing a way to come up with a cost effective strategy

Mile One Centre
• Mile One is an economic driver that needs to be managed very tightly

Downtown Parking
• City of St. John’s is trying to develop a strategy that is in agreement

Recycling/Composting
• City is moving forward with recycling for now and composting by 2010

Bike Lanes
• There is a study under way and I believe it is a great concept.

Converting the Grand Concourse trail to accommodate cyclists as well as pedestrians
• I am not sure this is viable or feasible but I have no issues in reviewing

Outdoor video surveillance (in Cowan Park, for example)
• I don’t think this is a bad idea for areas of concern.
Dealing with Graffiti
• City of St. John’s initiated a by-law to deal with graffiti
• We need to attack removing graffiti from City owned property.

Amalgamation with Mount Pearl and Paradise
• I am more focused on Co-operation than Amalgamation

Downtown hotel developments
• We need to have this for prosperous economic development to take place however we must be careful not to have a negative impact on the down town core

Public funding for the Capital Theater
• I wouldn’t support using the tax payers money for a private business

City support for the arts
• We have a responsibility to work with the arts community to develop a strong environment for arts development

The projected 1.6 million 2008/2009 budge deficit
• We have to work to reduce expenses.

Making councilor positions full time
• I do not consider this a priority

Where in the city do you currently reside
• 5 Falkland St

How do you travel to work?
• Own Vehicle

Other than St. John’s, do you have a favourite city?
• All communities throughout Newfoundland and Labradour are beautiful and unique, I would suggest visiting and exploring all their hidden treasures

If I were mayor I would________.
• Work on co-operation with councilors along with other municipalities, provincial and federal governments, we all work for the same tax payers money