Stu­dents cast votes in mock civic elec­tion

Edmonton Sun - - NEWS - ElisE stoltE JaNEt FrENch

The Al­berta govern­ment could be hand­ing Ed­mon­ton a hot potato when it gives city coun­cil the right to set de­fault speed lim­its this fall.

Although 58 per cent of can­di­dates run­ning for city coun­cil this elec­tion sup­port re­duc­ing speed lim­its on all res­i­den­tial roads, there’s no agree­ment yet on whether that speed should be 30 km/h or 40 km/h, and many oth­ers are solidly against a re­duc­tion.

“I’m not con­vinced that low­er­ing the speed limit will lead to the de­crease in res­i­den­tial speed­ing,” said Ward 5 can­di­date Sarah Hamilton, ask­ing why city of­fi­cials wouldn’t first lis­ten to fre­quent res­i­dent re­quests for

Can­di­dates who want Bran­don Grat­ton’s vote must ex­plain how they plan to spend Ed­mon­to­ni­ans’ tax dol­lars, and re­con­sider the city’s sep­a­rated bike lanes.

Lucky for them, they’ll have at least six more years to earn his sup­port. Twelve-year-old Grat­ton is one of thou­sands of stu­dents at 225 Ed­mon­ton schools vot­ing for the first time in a sim­u­lated civic elec­tion.

“I hon­estly was ex­cited. I like the fact that we vote to see if our se­lec­tion would be dif­fer­ent than the par­ents and the adults — to see whether our so­ci­ety would be dif­fer­ent or the same,” Grat­ton said.

Although Al­berta stu­dents sim­ple de­ter­rents, like adding painted lines, a cross­walk, or sig­nals.

“Safety is a shared re­spon­si­bil­ity and we need to stop de­mo­niz­ing driv­ers for ev­ery­thing that hap­pens on our roads,” said Ward 4 can­di­date Tricia Velthuizen, sug­gest­ing cy­clists and pedes­tri­ans need to take re­spon­si­bil­ity, too.

Fifteen per cent of the 67 can­di­dates who an­swered the Ed­mon­ton Sun sur­vey said there should be no change to res­i­den­tial speed lim­its. Twenty-two per cent were un­de­cided, or said there needs to be more re­search and con­sul­ta­tion be­fore mov­ing ahead.

With new 30 km/h speed lim­its around schools and play­grounds, Ed­mon­ton is gain­ing a patch­work of have pre­vi­ously marked mock bal­lots dur­ing fed­eral and pro­vin­cial elec­tions, it’s the first time the Stu­dent Vote pro­gram has come to Al­berta schools dur­ing a civic elec­tion. There are 934 schools tak­ing part al­lowed speeds across the city. Some sug­gest it would be sim­pler to have a lower speed on all res­i­den­tial roads, since chil­dren also play in front of their homes and walk from their homes to the play­ground.

Those in favour of the change say it would add sec­onds to most com­mutes to drive slower from a house to the main col­lec­tor road or bus route.

But oth­ers still say they have unan­swered ques­tions.

Ward 7 can­di­date Liz John-West said she’d like to know how many col­li­sions are tak­ing place on res­i­den­tial streets now, and how this would change un­der the new speed lim­its.

Ward 5 can­di­date Dawn New­ton said she wants ac­tual across the prov­ince.

At H. E Be­ri­ault Catholic Ju­nior High School at 8125 167 St. NW Thurs­day morn­ing, Steven Bain’s Grade 8 so­cial stud­ies class had mor­phed the small gym into a polling sta­tion. data on the pro­jected travel de­lays.

“There are enough ob­sta­cles on work­ers’ daily com­mute to and from work with­out fol­low­ing a tur­tle,” said Ward 5 can­di­date Brian Ken­drick, say­ing his de­ci­sion would be based on feed­back from res­i­dents.

Ward 6 can­di­date Tish Prouse said lob­by­ing the prov­ince to in­crease test­ing for driv­ers and penal­ties for driv­ing poorly is more im­por­tant. “Lots of parked cars and poor vis­i­bil­ity lends it­self to slower traf­fic any­way.”

Those in favour of low­er­ing the limit said it would make com­mu­ni­ties more walk­a­ble and save lives. Sev­eral quoted a statis­tic that says peo­ple walk­ing have a 90 per cent chance of sur­vival Work­ing as deputy re­turn­ing of­fi­cers, the teens pre­pared a voter’s list for each class, checked each stu­dent’s iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, signed and dis­trib­uted bal­lots, and watched over the polls.

All 420 stu­dents at Be­ri­ault were tasked with study­ing a se­lec­tion of may­oral, coun­cil, and school trustee can­di­dates be­fore mark­ing their bal­lots.

“It re­ally gets kids to think about the can­di­dates, spot is­sues, to have dis­cus­sions, and it lets them know how to be­come an en­gaged, ac­tive, in­formed cit­i­zen,” Bain said Thurs­day.

With voter turnout at 34.5 per cent in Ed­mon­ton’s 2013 civic elec­tion, Stu­dent Vote pre­pares stu­dents to be com­fort­able when struck by a car trav­el­ling 30 km/h — when hit by a car trav­el­ling 50 km/h that sur­vival rate drops to 10 per cent. Can­di­dates also said peo­ple are fed up with peo­ple speed­ing past their homes.

“Mo­torists are mak­ing short cuts through res­i­den­tial neigh­bour­hood roads with­out re­duc­ing speeds,” said Ward 4 can­di­date Beatrice Ghet­tuba. “I will (also) en­cour­age use of bumps to slow traf­fic speed ... Young fam­i­lies that live in th­ese res­i­den­tial neigh­bour­hoods are ex­tremely un­happy be­cause of the risks posed to their chil­dren.”

Read what can­di­dates in each ward had to say and all our elec­tion cov­er­age at ed­mon­ton­sun.com. Six­ty­seven of 69 ward can­di­dates with how polling sta­tions work be­fore they turn 18, and how to ef­fi­ciently re­search can­di­dates, he said.

Sharone Ab­hi­lash, 13, can’t wait un­til she’s old enough to vote. She likes the pro­posal re­cently en­dorsed by city coun­cil and pub­lic and Catholic school boards to lower the civic vot­ing age in Al­berta to 16. Adults should also pay more at­ten­tion to school trustee elec­tions, she said.

“We want in­no­va­tion. It’s 2017, and the world needs to change a bit more. Look at the ’90s, and look at 2017. The class­room hasn’t changed. It’s the same thing, in a room, with ta­bles and stu­dents,” Ab­hi­lash said.

When 13-year-old Alexis Un­de­cided/need more re­search or con­sul­ta­tion: re­sponded. @jantafrench Re­duce speed lim­its: Skelly re­searched can­di­dates in the ward, she was sur­prised how much work it took to run for of­fice. She said peo­ple who don’t vote have no right to com­plain about elec­tion re­sults.

“This per­son is rep­re­sent­ing you. Don’t you want to have a say in who would rep­re­sent you?”

Stu­dent Vote is run by Toronto-based char­ity Civix. Chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Lind­say Maz­zucco said bal­lots cast by Ed­mon­ton stu­dents will be com­piled and the re­sults re­leased on Mon­day, shortly af­ter the real polls close at 8 p.m.

LarrY WoNG/POST­MEDIA

Stu­dents vote dur­ing a mock mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion at H.E. Be­ri­ault Ju­nior High School in Ed­mon­ton on Thurs­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.