Mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion: Ward 12 pro­file

Traf­fic, crime, recre­ation to be key is­sues

StarMetro Edmonton - - Edmonton - omar mosleh

Sec­tions of Ward 12 will serve as a lit­mus test for how the city plans recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties, trans­porta­tion and res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment for new sub­di­vi­sions with bur­geon­ing pop­u­la­tions.

Ward 12 is an L-shaped area in the city’s far south­east and in­cludes the neigh­bour­hoods of Eller­slie, Sum­mer­side and The Mead­ows. The ward is largely sub­ur­ban: More than 60 per cent of homes are owned, with nearly 64 per cent of the hous­ing stock con­sist­ing of sin­glede­tached houses. Nearly 85 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion uses a mo­tor ve­hi­cle as their main mode of trans­porta­tion from home to work.

While com­mu­ni­ties such as Eller­slie and Sum­mer­side have ex­pe­ri­enced rapid growth, there are still sec­tions of the ward, such as De­coteau in the far south­east, which are still un­de­vel­oped.

Shane Bergdahl, pres­i­dent of the Mill Woods Pres­i­dents’ Coun­cil, said the city’s south­east is served by the Mill Woods Recre­ation Cen­tre and the new Mead­ows Recre­ation Cen­tre, but he ex­pects there will be a deficit of recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties as more peo­ple move here.

“It’s a lovely fa­cil­ity that’s just been built, but there’s noth­ing fur­ther south. I don’t know what the long-range plans are,” he said.

“They don’t have the pop­u­la­tion to sus­tain (an­other com­mu­nity cen­tre) yet, but the way it’s grow­ing, in 10 years it could be a whole dif­fer­ent sce­nario.”

The south­east ex­ten­sion of the Val­ley Line LRT will ben­e­fit res­i­dents, Bergdahl said, es­pe­cially those liv­ing in The Mead­ows who work down­town. But he said it will be a while be­fore those ben­e­fits are seen and he ex­pects traf­fic con­ges­tion to con­tinue to be a prob­lem in the area.

“When you get down to the res­i­den­tial ar­eas, we’re re­ally feel­ing the pinch in Wards 11 and 12 be­cause of the traf­fic den­sity,” Bergdahl said.

“And from what I’ve seen over the years, I do not feel con­fi­dent in the way the city mea­sures traf­fic on roads and fig­ures out what the im­pact is go­ing to be,” he added, con­tend­ing that while the city mea­sures a road’s ca­pac­ity for ve­hi­cles in the long-term, they do not take into con­sid­er­a­tion how the road fares dur­ing rush hour.

Prop­erty crime has been a re­cur­ring is­sue in the ward, par­tic­u­larly in neigh­bour­hoods ad­ja­cent to un­de­vel­oped lands.

“There’s a lot of open ar­eas, fields, et cetera, so there’s been ve­hi­cle crimes and other stuff,” Bergdahl said.

Run­ning in Ward 12 are in­cum­bent Moe Banga, a for­mer po­lice de­tec­tive who won the seat in a 2016 by­elec­tion, Nigel Lo­gan, a mar­keter and fundraiser, Mike Russ­nak, a busi­ness­man and vol­un­teer, Jo-Anne Wright, a vol­un­teer and fi­nance pro­fes­sional, and Wal­ter Youb, a sales ex­ec­u­tive.

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