While going door to door, a number of questions were raised and I did my best to search out the answers, and as well, some Facebook threads had comments to which I replied. These are listed below (sorry - some are a bit long). Feel free to contact me if you would like further clarification.
Ed Sands' posts on Facebook:
Email or "At the Door" questions:
Q: We were at the Tues. Oct. 03, 2017 All Candidates forum. On the question of a Water Source, all candidates seemed to be focused mainly on one solution. That is a pipeline from Calgary for a water supply from Calgary. I understand that other communities are also getting water from Calgary. I would be interested in hearing the pros and cons of such an arrangement with the City of Calgary. Also, has the Town of Okotoks looked at other sources that would allow the Town to provide water for Okotoks without being dependent on another municipality? As Okotoks, the City of Calgary and the other communities grow in area and population, what effect will such growth have on costs and the amount of water available to Okotoks from Calgary's source? We moved here from a very small incorporated village that depended on other larger municipalities for some services. While the larger municipalities did provide the best service(s) they could it wasn't always the best for the small village or the most economical for the residents, and understandably, the needs of the providing municipalities came first.
A: Re: water from Calgary.
Q: I would also like to know if your team of council members would look into taking a different charging method for water consumed as most water used in the summer is not going to the treatment plant but is either being used for watering or drinking or recreational activities ( kids playing , extra ) And what is your vision of tax hikes as it seems we pay more tax for less services .
A: You are referencing the fact that there is a water and a sewer charge on the utilities bill. We already take into account the consideration that not all summer water use gets into the sewer system. In the winter months, the sewer charge is based on the water consumption but in the summer months, it is based on an average of the water consumption in the winter. If the water use is much higher in the summer, it is assumed (though not entirely) that that extra usage is used outside, and does not enter the waste water treatment system so is not billed.
I am kind of hesitant to comment on the second part as I don't see that
we are paying more tax for less services. Indeed the tax bill is higher
than in years past, but the level of service is MUCH higher than in the
Q: Who paid for the irrigation around the Cimarron Storm Pond around 2007 and why is it not being used now?
A: The irrigation system around the Cimarron Springs storm pond was installed by the developer, Tristar Communities, at their expense. The Town requires new vegetation is watered for establishment purposes, typically 5 years after planting for new trees. Now that the vegetation is established at this site, the irrigation is not needed to be run. The Town only runs irrigation systems in high foot traffic sites such as sports fields and where trees have limited access natural rainfall such as the trees surrounded by concrete through downtown Okotoks. On non-irrigated public lands, it is expected that turf will go dormant in the heat of summer. These operational practices support Okotoks overall water conservation initiatives.
Q: Why haven't the damaged trees been replaced on my boulevard yet?
A: Dead or dying trees that are removed are tracked and scheduled for replacement. Replacement plantings occur the following spring in most cases unless there is an unusually high number of replacements, then some may get bumped to the following spring. Replacement trees usually go back in the same or similar location unless utilities, line of sight, or other conflicts are evident. The specific trees in question here are scheduled for replacement in spring of 2018. Once replaced, the new trees will be added to the watering list for five years.
Q: (these 14 questions were on one email)
A: Carefully, frugally and on approved programmes? The foundation document
for spending is our Budget. It is being worked on now, based on priorities
discussed and accepted in May. The Budget will be presented to Councillors
in November, over 3 days of presentations, with discussion and amendments
over the next 3 weeks with final decision in mid December. Council meetings
will be videoed starting in November and you will be able to watch the
2. Why do you want this position?
A: I enjoy being part of the decision making process. I continue to have
great passion for what happens in this Town and want to be part of the
planning for the new, expanded, "Okotoks 3.0".
3. What do you hope to achieve, what is your main goal?
A: As above, the next 4 years will be very exciting as we plan and create
the foundational vision for the next 50 years - I wish to be part of the
team that creates that.
4. What are your hobbies?
A: Theatre (Dewdney Players), music - play in two bands, plus help with
5. Personally, how would you handle the funding for the new treated water pipeline coming in from Calgary?
A: My plan is to get Provincial funding for 90% and have new development
levies pay for the balance. If this takes a bit more time, that is OK
- we really don't need to make a panicked decision.
6. What are your thoughts on a new performing arts facility? How would you go about funds for it?
A: I totally support a new performing arts facility! The challenge has been trying to make it THE priority over the calls for ice rinks, swimming pools, soccer fields, etc. It would be nice if there could be some private funding for it - a group is working on that very possibility now! - but one way to prepare for the funding is to determine the cost, determine how much money would need to be borrowed, what the annual payment on that debt would be, and then to gradually, over about 3 years, create a reserve with small annual increases which would cover the annual cost of the loan by year 3 or 4.
7. What motivates you? What do you value? What are your beliefs?
A: Big question: motivated by being part of a solution. I value teamwork,
innovative ideas, helping people. Beliefs: get out of the way of a motivated
group of people with a vision - they will surprise you with their creativity!
8. What are your ideas? Any new ideas?
A: I was at the table when Sustainable Okotoks was founded. I value the
ideals of environmental stewardship, financial stability and responsibility
to self and community. New ideas: have been doing this for 22 years -
haven't been waiting til now to spring a new idea - I do come up with
a few new ones!
9. What is different that you can bring to the table?
A: A strong sense of team and the ability to be calm, respectful and
work on finding the best solution.
A: It would look an awful lot like Barcelona!
11. Who would you call your role-model or ideal character you look up to?
A: Benevolent judge
12. Do you like animals? What is your favorite animal?
A: love animals - my first degree was in Animal Biology. Favourite animal
is cats (and bears)
13. What is your favorite color? Why?
A: Red - bright, fiery
14. How are you supporting your competitors/future teammates?
A: Have been sharing doorknocking duties with Mayor Bill Robertson and Councillor Ken Heemeryck, due to mutual respect and a desire to see them re-elected as well and the wish to reduce some of the times residents get their doors knocked on. As noted, I support teamwork.
Some Facebook dialogue:
Q: What I find odd is that residents are paying their fair share
of property taxes yet in some regards the services are unequal. Snowplowing
is an example...we are all paying in but depending on what street you
choose to live on, your road may never be cleared. In a harsh winter,
I have been called by a number of friends to come drag their vehicles
out of a snowbank or a drift. A senior's complex off Sheep River Drive
have to fork out even more cash to have the Town come clear out their
cul-de-sac. To my mind, this is really unfair. At the end of the day,
how much additional effort is required to run a snowplow down the side
streets once in a while? Perhaps the allocation of funds to road clearing
needs review and maybe cutbacks to other non-essential services are in
order to properly fund this. We live in a winter town after-all.
Q: To: Candidates who have included Arts in their Platforms. Question
#2 from the Arts Community:
A: - this kind on belongs in the School Trustee feed. I am deeply
troubled with what seems to be an erosion of the Arts curriculum in schools
and post secondary institution (MRU recently gutted their arts programs).
We are fortunate to have the Alberta High School of Fine Arts in the Public
system and very good arts programs at Holy Trinity Academy.
Q: What are the candidates perspectives on air & light pollution
here in Okotoks?
A: Okotoks has been recognized in the past by the Astronomical
Society for reducing light pollution. Our street lighting standards require
downward directed light beams. Our development standards require same
for commercial buildings. Costco was required to revise their lighting
a couple years ago.
Q: In the 7 and a half years I've lived here one thing has always
bothered me about this town and that is the lack of in town public transit.
Our disabled, youth, seniors, and people that choose not to drive, cannot
easily get from point A to point B without having to walk a far distance,
use the minimal cab service, ask for a ride from family/friends, etc.
A: On September 25, 2017 Council approved in principle a project
that would provide an 'On Demand' system for discussion during the 2018
Q: One of the roles for Mayors and Councillors is to host and
support events that reflect the make up of our community. A significant
percentage of our community are directly involved in arts and entertainment
or are avid supporters.
A: I have supported and hosted Arts and Cultural events in the community for over 20 years in Okotoks - indeed my involvement as a Director in this summer's "Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs" was my 60th consecutive production with Dewdney Players! I have been involved with hosting Regional One Act Play Festivals in Okotoks. I'd like to attract a Provincial Festival, but unfortunately, we don't have the facilities to effectively host that large of an event!
Q: Ed I give you credit for thinking outside the box, there's other things that could also help, water bills are crazy in this town, we all know this. It's great to have a roof over your head but it's important to have food on your table, shoes on your feet and some lights on while you gather around the table each night.
A: Danny - I'll share a little tidbit of information that is probably
not well known or publicized regarding water rates: "a reliable source"
in Provincial government has suggested that one of the reasons they have
been slow to step up to funding our pipeline is that our water rates are
SO LOW compared to other communities that we should just jack up the rates
to pay for the construction ourselves!!!!!!!
And maybe it is time to mobilize Okotoks residents and businesses to
lobby for the pipeline funding directly to government. 30,000 will be
heard much louder than the 7 of us!
- Ed is there a plan B and or C if the pipeline isn't a go ahead, I always
think its a responsible thing to have, does council have one in case we
don't get the deal we need for the pipeline?
- There was a Plan B and a Plan C in 2013, but it was overridden at the
first meeting of this Council term to just be this Plan A. I'd perhaps
call it Plan D is to continue to seek Sheep River licence transfers until
adequate funding is achieved. I'd take Federal support as well - to complement
whatever comes from the Province. Plan E: continue and enhance conservation
practises to allow the same licenced volume to provide for more people.
Plan F: continue to lobby a clay-footed provincial bureaucracy to recognize
innovative practices, such as 'return flow credits' which in itself would
give us capacity for perhaps 100,000 residents.
Q: Speed Limit:
Door Knocking Humour:
Dog #1: "Wanna hear a joke?"
Dog #2: "Sure"
Dog #1: "Knock, kn-"
Dog #2: "Bark, bark, bark, bark, bark, bark, bark, bark, bark, . . , "
Committed to Innovative Solutions
Copyright Edward Sands 2017 All Rights Reserved