Issues here as varied as the communities within the ward
Local groups cite crime concerns, with transit and taxes also on residents’ radar
From established suburban neighbourhoods to new ones on the outskirts in south Calgary, the issues in Ward 14 are as diverse as the communities within it.
Crime, lack of transit and LRT parking, a need for recreational facilities, and high property taxes are some of the concerns cited by various community associations. But with a district that spreads from Southcentre Mall to the south city limits, the wants and needs are quite different in Lake Bonavista than Legacy.
“In terms of our community, I have to say the single most important municipal issue today is crime, specifically petty crimes like car prowling, bicycle theft, vandalism, the break and entering of garages and even homes,” said Myles McDougall, president of the Lake Bonavista Community Association.
“The perception is that these types of infractions have increased dramatically over the past couple years and that there is little the police can do to stop it,” he said.
Further out, in Lake Chaparral, a 20-year-old community, residents are fairly satisfied with school and transit infrastructure. Their biggest concerns are crime and traffic.
“There’s speeding along secondary routes and a little bit of cutting through. We’ve done a lot of work with council with rapid light crosswalks for example and with the traffic department to problemsolve,” said community association president Lynette Javaheri. “We’re working with the city on those issues.”
She said the community has, like many in the city, noticed an uptick in property crime, such as car and garage break-ins. “We do hear about that. Those things hit close to home.”
Ward candidate Kelash Kumar said he’s been hearing from residents about issues such as transportation and recreation.
“Daily, I’m walking the area. Busing is a problem and no recreation centres. Legacy doesn’t even have a park,” said Kumar, 43, who has studied electrical engineering and finance. He said he works as a consultant and is listed online as a director with Interalinx Group Inc.
Right up to nomination day, it appeared as if Ward 14 incumbent Peter Demong was going to be acclaimed. But Kumar threw his hat into the ring on Sept. 18. Kumar said that although he lives in Tuscany in the northwest with his wife and two children, he has several rental properties in the Ward 14 area and is there almost daily.
Demong was a longtime owner of a florist shop in Deer Run before being first elected in 2010. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Legacy. He believes most constituents are satisfied with the state of local affairs as his survey shows many are focused on bigger municipal issues such as taxation, the arena, transit and transportation.
“It’s kind of interesting, compared to the last election when people were interested in a lot of local issues like secondary suites, speeding on roads, parks and green spaces.
“We’re seeing far more interest in bigger issues ... I think it’s due to the fact we have a very involved voting base.”
Demong says it’s not unusual to see such a difference of opinion in his ward, as it covers a lot of territory. He considers it four sub-wards within one: communities south of 22X; established neighbourhoods south of Fish Creek Park; established communities north of Fish Creek Park; and the new area across the river that’s been added to the ward — Douglasdale and Lake McKenzie.
“You certainly see a slightly different opinion in each.”