Jackie Clayton – A safe, inclusive, affordable community

Candidate Name: Clayton, Jackie
Why did you decide to run for office?

I am running for Council because I want to continue to represent your views, and your voice on Council.  I want to be one of nine decision makers, who develop the future for our community, ensure its alignment with your values, and support the vision that you have for the future of your family, your business and yourself.  

 I have Council experience from this past term, experience within the corporate business world as well as experience as a small business owner.  I have a young family and a genuine passion for this Community, its people and its future success. As a parent of two children I can appreciate the utmost importance of living in a Community that is safe and affordable, while offering the amenities young families require.

What experience do you have with municipal government, in Grande Prairie or elsewhere?

Through my professional career, this past term on City Council, being the 2006 President of Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and serving 6 years on the GPRC Board of Governors, I have been able to heighten my exposure, political experience, connectivity with all levels of government, and potential future collaborators. 

 I am confident that if re-elected I will be able to continue to open new lines of communication that will strengthen its our relationship with the surrounding municipalities, the County of Grande Prairie, and Provincial and Federal government.  

If elected, your term will run until 2021. What do you want Grande Prairie to look like four years from now?

One of my priorities in the next term is to commit to an engaging and consultative process where you can safely voice your views, and know that issues that are most important and urgent to you have been heard and understood by Council. As a fellow resident, I understand the challenges of being a tax payer, and a business owner. I want safety for our community and affordable enjoyment for our families. We need stability in business and infrastructure that creates gainful employment for every person that chooses to make Grande Prairie their home.

The average property tax bill in Grande Prairie is about $3,500. If we use the percentages from the 2016 Taxpayer Information handout and set aside the portion for schools, that means we use that homeowner’s taxes in this way

 

 

To explain some of the labels

Corporate Services include things such as information technology, facility maintenance, and finance.

City Manager’s Office includes communications, human resources, and legislative services, among others.

Community Living looks after transit, the Eastlink Centre, Coca-Cola Centre, Heritage, Parks, and Recreation

Community Safety and Growth covers fire, RCMP, enforcement services, transportation, engineering, inspection, and planning.

 

How would you like to see that money allocated among those uses?

We all want Grande Prairie to be a place where people of all ages and stages of life can access and experience great enjoyment of life at an affordable cost. In order to do this, every effort should be taken to run our City as efficiently as possible so that costs can be as low as possible.  That being said the breakdown needs to reflect the vision of goals of the next Council.  We need to provide management with the direction and the vision required to operate more efficiently, while continuing to improve our operational processes within the City. 

Many candidates talk about change but what do you think is working well in the city; what would you want to keep the same?

In my opinion there is no one single project that could improve Grande Prairie.  I think we have many great existing facilities opportunities in Grande Prairie, some older and some new.  Before we look at any new facilities we need to maximize the utilization of the ones we have and possibly repurpose some facilities if they don’t fit the current needs.  In my opinion before we build anything else we need to finalize the Inter-Municipal Collaboration with the surrounding Municipalities in the Region. 

 

I would rather focus my energy on prioritizing Economic Development and increasing our Industrial and Commercial tax base to eliminate the cycle of raising taxes.  The residents of Grande Prairie need to be able to afford to enjoy the many facilities and natural amenities of the City that provide us with the quality of life we need to maintain balance and wellness.

The one area of infrastructure I do think Council needs to support is the paving and overlay program; improving our roads.  This year’s budget of $8 million in paving and overlay simply went further than normal due to the downtown in economy, and allowed us to substantially increase the amount of work done this year.  Although these projects can cause significant disruption; in the end our streets will be in better shape and in turn safer.

Going forward, I believe that especially in years like this year the City communication team needs to continually communicate with our residents and we need to proactively work with the contractors to ensure disruption is at a minimum.

We conducted a survey that identified Crime and Public Safety, Taxes, and Economic Growth as the top three issues for residents. What are your thoughts on those issues?

In regards to Crime and public Safety, I want future reports to show that the efforts of Council, law enforcement, and our Community demonstrate results in supporting the local RCMP and their efforts to make its City safe.  I have been taking a stance at every opportunity to raise this issue and am fully supportive of the increase of resources to the current RCMP team.  This past year, we hired 11 new members, and 4 staff to the admin team to assist with the processing of crime.  This in turn allows the members to be on the street more often where they are most needed.   We need even more feet on the ground and cars on the road to keep us and our loved ones safe in our homes, in our parks, our schools and on our drives to work and play each day.  In addition to enforcement we need to educate our youth, and our Community about crime in our City.  It needs to be an open and honest conversation and lastly, but in some instances, most important, we need to strengthen and grow our Neighbourhood associations.  Get out and meet your neighbours, its essential to a safe community.

I am especially concerned with the continual increase of taxes and I am concerned that internally our operational costs are still too high. My track record on Council this term shows this.  I think we need to provide management with the direction and the vision required to operate more efficiently, while continuing to improve our operational processes within the City.  Processes that create issues for developers, home builders and business owners alike. With this said, I truly believe in Grande Prairie and its people.  I am business minded and future-focused and believe together, we can build an even better community at an affordable cost.

I have a passion for Economic Development.  It is even stated in my platform, in that we need to “Ensure a strong diverse future for Grande Prairie; and Identify efficiencies and redundancies to compliment a business friendly environment”.  Our entrepreneurial spirit is second to none and was recently recognized in the Financial Post as “the first to emerge from a brutal recession”.  I recognize that it’s opportunities like this that need to be managed responsibly with foresight and vision to best enhance the future of this region. As we are very fortunate to live in a region with such an excellent opportunity, it is critical that all opportunities and risks be recognized, captured and planned for.  I think we need to continue to work hard at strengthening our relationships at all levels of government.  We need to continue to work hard on the inter-municipal collaboration framework with our regional partners, and support initiatives such as the Tri-Municipal Industrial Development project in which I had the opportunity to represent Council this term.

When voters ask “Why should I vote for you?”, what’s your answer?

Vote for me if you want a hard working Councillor who is accessible and willing to listen. If you want a Councillor with strong relationships within the business community as well within non-profit and volunteer organizations, vote for me. And vote for me if you want a Councillor with experience and the overall perspective that Grande Prairie needs to lead the way in being a safe, inclusive community with continued growth in economic development and innovation; all at an affordable cost.

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