Hello Residents of Ward 11!
I will be seeking re-election for Councillor of Ward 11 in the upcoming Municipal Election on Monday, October 16 2017.
Please visit my campaign website for more information.
Hello Residents of Ward 11!
I will be seeking re-election for Councillor of Ward 11 in the upcoming Municipal Election on Monday, October 16 2017.
Please visit my campaign website for more information.
There are a few things going on in Ward 11 I’d like you to be aware of:
During construction, there may be lane closures or reduced accessibility to roads, alleys or pathways.
While in your neighbourhood, our work could consist of digging in municipal roadways or boulevards. This work will not take place on private property. You may also experience increased traffic, construction noise and detours. To help ensure public safety, excavations open and accessible to the public will be fenced or supervised. Please be aware of hazards and avoid excavation sites.
What This Means For You
Serving You Better
In the coming weeks, ATCO employees or contracted crews will be completing work in your neighbourhood or near your business.
This work could include:
Digging/construction activities around existing natural gas facilities.
Performing work on existing natural gas facilities in your area.
Whether it’s heating your home or providing that blue flame to cook family meals, we help ensure natural gas is always there when you need it.
If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact my office.
Councillor Mike Nickel
“No way to run a railroad”: A phrase used to express one’s discontent with the lack of organization by the administrators of a project or venture.
It has been said that a small mistake in the beginning usually turns out to be a big mistake in the end. Since the beginning of the Valley Line LRT construction I have received numerous complaints from my constituents regarding the information available and how it is being – or more importantly – not being communicated to the public. It is clear from these complaints, which have been consistent and ongoing for over a year now, that the Valley Line P3 (Public/Private Partnership) consortium—TransEd Partners– are plainly not interested in a clear and transparent communication effort as to how this important project impacts the public.
Last September, I officially expressed my concern through a meeting with Communication and Project leads from TransEd along with Communication leads from the City of Edmonton. This meeting was triggered by trees being cut down along 66 Street with no notification or information shared with the surrounding community or my office. I had just finished reviewing the P3 Contract and a number of questions for me arose concerning a number of commitments and milestones that had not been met.
Following that meeting, I received assurances from TransEd’s leads that they were very much committed to engaging with Edmontonians, and that they were “just working out some kinks” in how they communicated as they started construction. I almost dared to believe them. That is, until they started pounding jackhammers up and down 66 Street with no warning to my constituents or myself.
All good construction firms know that for a project to go well, good communication amongst its stakeholders is not only important… it is critical. This is even more critical when it comes to P3’s. My own review of the public engagement elements in the City’s contract with TransEd show our side has been well-negotiated by the City; of course this is only my opinion. Yet having been in the construction field for over 25 years now I cannot with a clear conscience say that the public interest is being served, and this plainly is due to the numerous and major communication failures on part of the TransEd group.
In case you haven’t had the pleasure of reading the City’s contract with TransEd (and you can—know your rights–see the link below), on the very first page of the Communications and Engagement part, it states:
Nature of Public Communications and Public Engagement
Project Co should understand that public communications and engagement activities… will involve not only timely sharing of information about the Project with Communications Stakeholders but also an exchange of information with Communications Stakeholders. This latter type of communication will involve learning from Communications Stakeholders about conditions or issues that may affect the Project and which require appropriate consideration or action. It will also involve responding to comments and queries and appropriately incorporating input into the delivery of the Project Work. In undertaking many of its obligations… it is expected that Project Co will engage with Communications Stakeholders to provide information regarding its plans so as to ensure effective implementation of the Project Work
What we’ve seen so far in TransEd is an organization that seems to do everything it can NOT to share information, and will maybe deign to hold an open house only after residents threaten to light torches and sharpen pitchforks. Even then, they appear only willing to tell, not to listen.
As the saying goes it takes two parties to tango; what do you do when you feel you are dancing alone?
TransEd needs to pick up its socks and up its engagement game. Doing the physical work is one thing, but it’s our tax dollars and we deserve to know the where’s, when’s and the why’s if this project is to be met with community joy, rather than community scorn.
“Let the people know the facts, and the country will be safe.”
Abraham Lincoln, 1861. 16th US President. (1)
Business Can’t Vote…
…But, what if they could? What would they say? What would they want? There used to be a time when only people who owned property could vote. But that is not what is at issue here. What is at issue is that what we as men and woman of enterprise cannot allow: the current political culture to continue. A whole generation of voters have grown up and have started to vote divorced from how the real world operates. In the end if you are expecting the politician’s to fix our present problems in the absence of business and its results driven culture it is just not going to happen. We need to change and it is business and industry that must take the lead.
Today in Alberta it seems we are caught between the reality of our circumstance and the aspirations of a society where nothing seems to matter beyond the immediate and the material. It is an inter-generational gap of culture removed from fact and experience which has consequently been replaced by the political diatribe of fashion or fear. Uncertainty seems to rule the day much beyond our understanding. The anchors of our past philosophies seem to have become rusted away by global to local events, technological disruptions, and the intergenerational gap between how things really work and how younger group of voters think it should work.
Ovid, a Roman poet from 43 BC wrote, “…abundance has made me poor”. Truly, the business community in Alberta has grown substantially over the past decades, yet while garnering material success it has left the field of political dialogue to the cheers (and jeers) to the other team — so much so that we as business people have been now caught seemingly unaware that a whole generation of people no longer understand the fundamentals of what it takes to sustain our modern day society. What we know for certain is that the trajectory of our society cannot continue on the path as it is and to leave the political field empty; bereft of any substantive philosophy that challenges the precepts that have become so prevalent in our political and cultural institutions is to be surely selling out the next generation of citizens. Perhaps to which this city, province, and nation may never recover.
There was time which seems so distant now was when businesses were the building blocks of communities. Through the fog of my youthful recollection I remember a time of a local Chamber of Commerce and Service Clubs; populated with business and business minded leaders, who tackled our community’s most pressing needs themselves. Barely moving forward today there was a time where there was little bureaucracy between the will and the way to fix our community’s problems. Sports facilities and programs of all kinds were created. Business was and still remains today more than a profit exercise; corporate social responsibility as we refer to it, was back then nothing more than neighbors getting together and doing the right thing. These golden times are dimly remembered yet what was understood back then was that there was a clear and coherent bond between business and the community they existed within – the social contract built and held fast.
Today however the divergence between the business sector and its inherent capacities to aid in the construction of our physical and moral urbanity could not be more apparent. Businesses are seen by Government to be nothing more than a tax roll number by our modern legislators; nothing more than a source of irritation as it is rifles against ever increasing tax and regulatory burdens. At its worst there is an increasing number of youth who see business as the enemy of social good. When did these people become divorced from the moral context of what a business does and its role in healthy and vibrant communities? When did the desire for the creation of self-reliant and compassionate individuals and organizations become so detached from our political dialogue?
Truth be told the corporate community has become politically illiterate. All the while materially garnering its success through the years it has abdicated the political sphere to the detriment of everyone; particularly those most deserving; those who depend on us directly—our employees. Through misdirected philanthropic urges, the politics of our time and for the past generation corporate Alberta, large and small, have left the political guard-post of public discourse open only to be walked past unchallenged by others. As Richard Yates once pined, “…things will fall apart when the best in our society lose their conviction”. Have Alberta’s entrepreneurs lost their will? Have our business owners and leaders lost their conviction while labor and others organize and politically engage our youth? Are we the absentee landlords letting the political squatters of our time dictate our social outcomes?
Labour ‘is political. And rightfully so, yet business people of goodwill, not doing the same in regard to everyday political activity is not acceptable. There are a many reasons to do so. From educating our children to participating and advocating for our way of life, be it the individual to larger organizational constructs, that it is not just about business but what business does that is critical determinant of our cultural outcomes. Business is not someone or something to cover the rate payer’s appetites; it is the foundation of the social contract that allows us much, if not all, of the material wellbeing of our society. Capital and the people who create it are not engaged. We all believe in the power of competition to create better outcomes and a healthier society. So why is there no true policy competition in our political market place of ideas — those who create and maintain our way of life and those who seemingly do not understand that those same people who create the wealth are being marginalized? If there ever was a time for business to stand up, support initiatives, and to be active, it is now. Without the business community’s voice, society has become a monologue between the silent ratepayers and existing expressions of interests that are undermining our current way of life. Entrepreneurialism and its cultural importance in our social outcomes need to be heard.
The ideas are out there. All that is required is for the good men and women of our business community are to be heard and to support those activities to challenge our present malaise. To put a twist on a quote from Hebert Hoover I will leave you with this thought.
“Cultural depression cannot be cured by legislative action or executive pronouncement. Cultural wounds must be healed by the action of the cells of the economic body — the producers and consumers themselves.”
Waiting is not an option.
Please click the Link for the TransEd Valley Line Concept Renderings
For immediate release
New infrastructure projects in Edmonton combat heavy rains and flooding
Project in Mill Woods will protect residents and their families from rainfall disasters
Edmonton, Alberta, November 09, 2016—All Canadians deserve to live in communities that are protected from natural hazards and environmental risks. Increasingly heavy rains and flooding cause widespread economic and social damage, and that is why the governments of Canada and Alberta are investing in infrastructure that will help mitigate those risks.
The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and His Worship Don Iveson, Mayor of Edmonton, today announced new funding for an important stormwater management project in Edmonton.
In recent years, the City’s Mill Woods neighbourhood was hard-hit by heavy rains, with over 500 homes reporting flooding in 2012. This stormwater management project will improve the region’s capacity to deal with rain by providing overland storage for stormwater and increased capacity in the storm-sewer system. Once completed, the project will help to protect more than 1000 properties, including homes, schools and local businesses.
The Government of Canada will contribute up to $30,316,000 to this project. The Government of Alberta will contribute up to $11,910,000 and the City of Edmonton will cover the remaining costs for this project, which has a total estimated cost of $107,081,000.
“The Government of Canada is committed to building safer and more resilient communities, which is critical for attracting economic opportunities for the middle class and those working hard to join it. Having many friends and family who live in Mill Woods, I know how important this project is for our community. By making strategic investments in effective disaster mitigation infrastructure, we will reduce the frequency and severity of impacts, and protect our families from extreme natural events.”
The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
“Community-level flood mitigation projects like those planned for southeast Edmonton are so important because they protect people, homes, businesses, and critical infrastructure against the impacts of severe weather events. Building on the provincial funding already in place, the federal funding announced today will help address a pressing need in Mill Woods and ensure Edmonton is better able to adapt to a changing climate where severe weather events will be more common.”
The Honorable Shannon Phillips Minister of Environment and Parks, Minister Responsible for the Climate Change Office
“We are grateful to the governments of Alberta and Canada for partnering with us on this much needed infrastructure that will help us mitigate flood risks in our city. We look forward to continuing to work together to invest in local infrastructure which we know will not only create jobs and grow our economy but improve the lives of Edmontonians.”
His Worship Don Iveson, Mayor of Edmonton
Government of Canada’s $180-billion+ infrastructure plan: http://www.budget.gc.ca/fes-eea/2016/docs/themes/infrastructure-en.html
Federal infrastructure investments in Alberta: http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/map-carte/ab-eng.html
Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component – National and Regional Projects (PTIC-NRP): http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/plan/nrp-pnr-prog-eng.html
Alberta Community Resilience Program: http://aep.alberta.ca/water/programs-and-services/alberta-community-resilience-program/default.aspx
Office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
Alberta Environment and Parks
Media Relations Manager
Office of Mayor Don Iveson
Toll free: 1-877-250-7154
On October 17, 2016 I presented to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canada Posts operations. I shared the thoughts below:
I speak to you not only as a citizen but as a business man to argue for the continuation of door-to-door delivery service and an end to the super mail box program.
Unlike many my perspective is different than most as I see this not as an issue of cost or cost recovery for Canada Post but one of opportunity and understanding that Canada Post value as a corporation lies not in its delivery of mail but in the power of its distribution network.
There is no other corporation in Canada that has more distribution power than Canada Post – to this we surely would all agree. It is worth mentioning that even as a corporation Canada Post through its parcel delivery network has reaped large financial benefits and see this as an obvious place to continue and grow its business.
As an aside I personally as many know in this region have been a strong public advocate for the minimization of waste, inefficiency and duplication of services, for both the private and public sectors. People do not mind paying taxes as long as they are getting value for those same taxes – so by extension value for your taxes has been my primary mission in many of my public endeavors.
Canada Post is a stand-alone crown entity and, I believe, is also committed to those same values, and I do not believe I need to connect the lines between Canada Post, its necessity, and the public good for if I do I fear I do not have the time to do so here.
My argument today is a simple one. Canada post through its reductions of door-to-door delivery service is not maximizing it distributive potential, neither financially or on better societal outcomes.
I have come to know that the potential for greater positive outcomes on both fronts are not just desirable but achievable.
Understanding that boots on the street, the very make-up of Canada Posts distributive system, are more than just about delivering the mail we can quickly come to see that there numerous other opportunities to add value Canada Posts services.
If seen in conjunction with what other orders of government are trying to accomplish one can quickly see that duplication of persons – there by person hours is occurring. These duplications range from as simple as walking the beat and using an app to report a pot hole to identification of at risk population and locals that orders of government are trying to monitor, prioritize and address through their social service delivery models.
Now to be fair to Canada Post these “value added services” should not be considered free and they should be fairly compensated for these extras. What is clearly required is a financial assessment of these various “value added services” and an appropriate order of government to pay – once the business case has been piloted before deployment – but to be frank the opportunities are there.
I would be happy to explain further if so asked and I wish to thank-you very much for the committee’s time and consideration.
October 21, 2016 Reference No.: 220920566-003 (ET)
To: Councillor Mike Nickel
Edmonton City Councillor, Ward 11
From: Andrew Gregory
A/Director of Customer Service Development
Subject: Route 306 Fall Extension Ridership and Survey Results
Please refer to the following information compiled from the survey distributed to Maple Ridge residents regarding the changes to the Route 306 in September. Only 61 surveys were returned out of approximately 900 (a response rate of about 7%) delivered door to door to Maple Ridge in September 2016. With such a low response rate it is hard to draw substantive conclusions from the results. However, the following were the priorities identified by the respondents:
Based on the survey responses and ridership counts, a change to the service is not warranted. Extra service to Bonnie Doon has been in place on weekday evenings and weekends since September 4 while we conducted the survey of Maple Ridge/Oak Ridge residents and analyzed the results. This extra service will no longer operate after November 4, however, Maple Ridge will still have service to Meadows Transit Centre in these time periods.
Beginning November 5, 2016, Maple Ridge Transit Service will be provided as follows:
Weekdays 6 a.m. – 9 a.m.: service every 30 minutes to Bonnie Doon and Meadows
Weekdays 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.: service every 30 minutes to Bonnie Doon and Meadows
Weekdays 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.: service every 60 minutes to Bonnie Doon and
Weekdays 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. service every 60 minutes to Meadows
Saturday 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.: service every 60 minutes to Meadows
Sunday 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.: service every 60 minutes to Meadows
Edmonton Transit will continue to monitor the ridership on Routes 83 and 306, and will consider making future adjustments to service levels if there are changes in travel demand.
The City of Edmonton generates hundreds of millions of dollars in user fees for services rendered. These fees include everything from transit fares and community recreation to licensing and permitting; one good example would be being charged a booking fee for the use of a picnic table in a park. I am not going to broach the subject of the use and nature of these fees, however I will discuss the rate in which user fees have been on the rise and whether or not I feel this Council has fully digested the gravity of the economic downturn.
Year to date Edmonton and its immediate region have lost over 30, 000 jobs and have reported a 7.7% unemployment rate as of July. Yet our taxes continue to increase, and the City of Edmonton continues to hire new employees (even though it has hundreds of unfilled vacancies on the books).
Over the last decade the City has raised more taxes and user fees than any other time in history. Property taxes have risen well over the 70% mark, user fees for community and recreation services have risen 47%, transit fares 41% and that is just the tip of the iceberg.
These costs would be fine if they were in concert with real economic and wage growth. However, they are not. Inflation over the same time frame has only risen 20% and average weekly wages in the Edmonton CMA (census metropolitan area) at best estimate was just over 30%. Add to this the incremental costs; food prices, cost of shelter and other user fees we are paying in our schools and other institutions, I only wonder when we will get some relief.
The numbers simply do not lie. The fact is that we are falling behind and no one – especially politically really likes to discuss that we are at real risk in this province. Our children may not be in a better position financially than we are today.
Is austerity the answer? YES and NO – we need to receive better value for our money. Blanket cuts without intelligent evidentiary based decisions are not the answer – City Council needs to demand that Administration demonstrate better value and opportunities to drive our transactional costs down resulting in a win for all.
 Published on: Edmonton Journal August 5, 2016 | Last Updated: August 5, 2016 6:48 PM MDT
 Austerity involves policies to reduce government spending and or higher taxes in order to try and reduce government budget deficits. (http://www.economicshelp.org/blog/6254/economics/what-is-austerity/)
Trees and the Valley Line LRT
TransEd approaches construction along the Valley Line LRT route with great care and regard for both the environment and the protective measures put in place by the City of Edmonton. In order to construct and operate the 13.1 km Valley Line LRT, some trees need to be removed from City property, including boulevards in front of residences or open spaces.
TransEd is following the City of Edmonton’s Corporate Tree Management Policy (C456A), which directs specific tree protection, preservation, and replacement guidelines for construction. This means that greenery that is temporarily or permanently lost due to LRT construction will be relocated or replaced.
With respect to tree removal:
Where it is necessary to remove trees the following is taken into consideration:
Trees by the numbers
The following numbers represent the specific number of tree removals and replacement trees that will be planted. Please note that the ‘total removals’ represents that maximum number of trees that may be removed — again, whenever a tree can be left in place, crews will attempt to do so.
Total maximum number of trees that could be removed 1,605
Total new plantings of trees, shrubs and perennials: 16,777
Landscaping along the Valley Line LRT alignment will take place post construction. For more information, visit www.transedIrt.ca
Did you know?
TransEd is planting more than 10 times the number of trees and shrubs it is removing.