Election 2013 questionnaire response: Alla Ternikova, Ward 5

 [We sent your questions to all the Election 2013 candidates. We are posting their unedited responses in the order that they’re received. – Ed.]

Alla Ternikova, candidate for Ward 5

1. In the context of our City’s growth, how will you support the development of existing communities as opposed to new neighbourhoods?

 

I think that a statement that unlimited urban sprawl is not sustainable to service for any city on a long run, was repeated so many times by so many professionals and ordinary citizens, that if I state it one more time, people will gag. I have being supporting redevelopment of the existing communities to reflect modern changes, instead of indefinitely outbuilding our city for the last 15 years through my work and volunteer engagements. I am a true believer that sustainable, Eco-friendly life is an attainable goal for our city. So, unless I will suffer a severe case of amnesia, I do not see why, as a city councilor, would I stop being a strong supporter of many initiatives, existing and new, that will bring us to that goal. Redevelopment of older, existing communities to mirror modern, local trends, such as living local, creating multy- generational housing developments that would allowed people to age in place and have closer multy-generational interactions, finding a good balance between public and personal transportation, healthier lifestyle, etc. For example, as an EFCL Planning and Development Committee Board member, I was personally involved in creating sound regulations for higher density city development, making sure that our city will avoid creating social ghettos, that historically, world-wide, proved to create more problems that it was supposed to address. I spent a lot of time making sure that Edmontonians would be rest assured that higher density would never meant to create gulag-style settlements. As a city councilor, I will be able to build on my many years of experience of working and understanding human nature toward any change and make sure that all concerns would be addressed along the way of a change.

2. How will you support and promote independent locally-owned businesses in Edmonton?

 

I am a small business owner and have being a such from the time my family settled in Edmonton, 23 years ago. Also, during my campaign doorknoking times, I visited many small businesses that are located in the ward 5. I have heard many complains from the business owners that the present way of taxation of a small, especially new business, rent rates, red tape are real killers for many small businesses. Does not matter how one turn it, there is more to a vibrancy of a local life then the mighty profit. If I am elected, I would definitely put at the one negotiation table all possible stakeholders in opening and running a small business. I already have positive experience in doing such collaborations with addressing misalignment of the constituencies borders on all three levels of government, helping local businesses and non-profits to work together as partners, rather then rivals, etc. I am also a strong believer that the government should be taken out of business to run a business. By the very definition, a government job is to govern and oversee the sentential public services, not to become an overblown monopolies that any small business has no way to compete with. By reducing government involvement in running businesses, the small business owners will see a better leveled field to start and run a successful business.

3. How will you support local food and urban agriculture in Edmonton?

 

Actually, you are preaching to a very converted person. Being born and lived in a poor country, I really understand the importance of having an ability to grow food locally. Personally, even when my family was large with all kids, our own and those who lived with us for short or long periods of time, I managed to have home made food every meal, even though on most days I was cooking for about 10 people. Most of the food that we used came from our own garden and local nature areas. As a community league president and district director on Edmonton Federation of Community leagues Board, who represented 16 west end communities, I have being a strong supporter, I would use the word “pusher”, for creating local community gardens, produce and experience sharing and exchange during our community league monthly open house events. I see a huge potential in encouraging local residents to grow their own food int he back yards, sharing that space with others who live in the neighborhood, but does not have their own backyards. Because I was involved in such kind of a lifestyle for over 20 years in Edmonton, it would not be along stretch for me, if I am elected, to continue to support initiatives and existing programs of using our city as great place to grow and share our resources. On a larger scale of understanding of local food, city council can do much more to support local farmers and individual growers who live not only in the city limits, but also around the city boundaries. Also, passing down on the next generations the ability, skills and willingness to grow our own food is so huge in connection to keeping culture and traditions alive, that I can write a book on it. I can make a very clear promise, based on my previous experience that if I am elected, I will be one of the most sound supporters of growing and sharing local food.

4. How will you address Indigenous Edmontonians’ history and needs?

 

Being involved in community life that includes such a diverse ethnic and historical mix, I am very cautious to talk about only Indigenous Edmontonians history and needs. I would remind everybody that a culture that forgets its history is bound to repeat the same mistakes again and again until the following generation will learn about, remember and understand the past, the history. I would say that the most important challenge that our diverse population is presently facing is to create a realistic balance between the past, present and future. From my past experience of over 15 years I can say that the best way to work in that direction is to engage the very people from different backgrounds in addressing their needs and challenges, working together to create an environment where everybody feels accepted and valued. There is no amount of committees, funding, finger pointing will fix the history wrongs. If I am elected, I will continue to engage indigenous population in creating workable and achievable solutions to address their problems. I will do it in the contest of indigenous people being an equal part of the rest of the society.

5. How do you envision the public transit system evolution?

 

I was born and grew up in an old city (more than two thousand years old) Kiev, capital of Ukraine. By the geographical positioning and size, it is very comparable to Edmonton, with a river running almost in the middle of it. Kiev was home to over two million people at the time when we escaped the Soviet government terrorism. I was lucky to live in a city with exceptionally well designed underground and over ground public transportation. One could go anywhere, form one side of the city to another one in a matter of 0.5h, using the subway system: clean, safe, affordable. It was hard for me to accept that Edmontonians, especially 23 years ago, were basically pushed to own a car: it was, and in many ways is, still the only one reliable way to get anywhere in the city. Being involved with EFCL City Planning and Development committee and being on a few west end boards for the new public developments, such as Callingwood Skate park, Callingwood Spray park, Redevelopment of Ormsby Community Center, to name a few, I am surprised that close proximity to public transportation is viewed as a hindrance to the safety and property value. Considering that our population is rapidly aging; and more of the young people can not drive due to a variety of health problems, I see proper public transportation as a ticket to freedom. If the planning is done properly, taking into the account our climate, intersection with existing roadways, long and short time demographic trends, the further development of the public transportation is right way to go. It is fare to mention that continuing to develop public transportation is a sure way to cut the city pollution levels, parking waste lands, encourage walking, etc. I also understand that change of mind in a city that was developed around private transportation, will take time and fine planning. I truly believe that for the sake of our children, for the sake of the health of our our planet, it is totally worth to continue in this direction.

6. What will you do to better engage post-secondary research / students / faculty with the rest of the community?

 

Our city is very lucky to be home for U of A, Grant MacEvan University, NAIT and many other fantastic post- secondary institutions that are instrumental in development of many great young minds and are home to many internationally renown inventions and discovering. I am actually surprised that this wealth of bright minds are not tapped already to the maximum possible effect to help the city to resolve many ongoing problems. Even further, why the city invites foreignness for so many local projects, instead of mining our own talents. If I am elected, I already have a few sound projects in mind to do just that. As a president of one of the west end community leagues I worked hard for years and was successful in engaging post-secondary students in our many projects, including monthly open houses, expansion and redevelopment of the community hall building, volunteering for serving summer camp free lunches for the local children, etc. If I am elected as a ward 5 councilor, I will continue to expand ways to engage post -secondary students in many city projects, using my extended previous experience in this field.

7. Councillor candidates: What is the biggest challenge your Ward faces? What solutions would you seek?

 

During my doorknocking in the neighborhood of ward 5, the residents clearly identified three, not one main challenges. As a resident of the same ward for many years, I have to agree with their perspective. It is really hard to tell which one is more urgent then the others, so I will touch a bit on all three.

1. Sorrow state of the neighborhood roads. I do not buy for a second an explanation that our roads are so bad because of our climates. There are many cities in the world that are geographically located on the same parallel and meridian that Edmonton is. Nowhere in the world of development countries one can find the roads in the same poor condition. As I promised in my platform, If I am elected, I will engage our post-secondary students and graduates in the research of the best world-wide practices. I will also propose to the city council to revisit the existing contracts for the road crews and their management, making sure that the quality of the roads construction and long term of their sturdiness is reflected in the pay of the involved companies. 

2. Crime and vandalism in the neighborhood. Ward 5 is one of the safest area in the city, however we do have our share of the local crimes. If I am elected, I will continue the same practices I was involved in with local communities as a president of one of them, and as a director, representing 16 communities to EFCL, that proved themselves worthy, engaging as many local partners as possible in creating solutions that really work.

8. How can our readers learn more about your platform, contact you with questions or concerns, or get involved in your campaign?

 

During my 15 years being involved in the lives of our city, local communities and small business, I have being a huge supporter and believer in open communications and in working together on solving even the most difficult challenges. It is no different during my campaign and if I am elected as a ward 5 councilor, it will be the same. Therefore, I really appreciate any feedback, sharing of ideas, willingness to participate in different projects, including my campaign. I also need to mention that I run my campaign with my own money, truly believing that any financial help from a third party would bound any candidate to toe a line with the most generous contributors’ ideologies. Remembering that a city councilor not just represents people living in his/her constituency, but also acts in the best long and short interests of the whole city, I find that going through the campaign using only my own financial resources and relying on dedicating volunteers, keeps my conscience clear. 

Those who wishes to join my campaign or contact me with ideas, questions, etc, or learn more about my platform, please do so by visiting:

1. my website: www.allaternikova.ca

2. my facebook: alla ternikova 4 ward 5 city council

3. Calling 1-877-792-4007

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