Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Race is on!

The campaign has started.  Mark Cassidy is the first to officially advertise his campaign in the August 24th, 2013 local paper.  A simple well thought out ad that quickly catches a voter’s eye.  And aside from where he may stand on various issues, it is an ad easy to retain in the mind’s eye come October 21st.  Well done Mr. Cassidy.

It is puzzling as to why other candidates have not already stepped up to the plate and become very public about their candidacy or platform issues. Maybe working quietly behind the scenes to eventually crunch in as much as they can between September 23rd and voting day will work the charm for them. Maybe they are waiting for one of the incumbents to step forward to snip the ribbon at the starting gate. Maybe they are holding off because it is easier to trip up during a longer campaign. Maybe there really isn’t an election coming up.

Looking next door to the capital of this province, one can actually hear more than a whisper of the upcoming election. Mayoral candidates have started their campaign to gain name recognition as well as their positions on various issues, some which will directly affect St. Albert. Is there a reason why St. Albert’s Mayoral candidates haven’t started here?

For the first time voters will be electing candidates for a four year period. Four years can accumulate a lot of positives for residents, but with its present track record, it is highly doubtful that the present political machine will actually do that.  If candidates seem to be skirting the issues, cater to a few select supporters or special interests and only offer residents a brief “reality show”, St. Albert is in real trouble for the next four years.

Can candidates accept voter apathy?  Or are they a part of the problem?  Maybe October 21st will show a landslide victory for Apathy itself.

Stack ‘em and Pack ‘em in.

Under ICLEI’s program private property is eventually to be done away with as it contributes to a “concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice, if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes. Public control of land use is therefore indispensable.” Therefore those municipalities that embrace The Program look at various ways of downsizing lots, dividing older lots, rezoning and building new homes upward. Stack ‘em and pack ‘em in is ICLEI’s agenda.

And St. Albert is developing right on target with The Program. Check out the cereal boxes being erected in the northwestern part of the city. Upright wannabe McMansions on tiny lots with a lot of wasted space being used by stairways that lead to the next cramped level. At least the cumulative square footage sounds impressive to the uninitiated buyer.

Let’s look at this realistically though. Historically, what is of most value is land. What gets built on the land enhances property value. Lose that asset because of some misfortune, you still own the land.

Owning real estate or other forms of property empowers an individual. The more the individual owns, the more economic security one has enabling one to be more responsible in one’s personal life (i.e. family), and in one’s community. Take it away, reduce its size or put restrictions on it and the individual not only loses out on personal wealth, but becomes increasingly reliant on government and its whims.

Active ICLEI’s “Smart Growth” followers, Councillor Heron and Mayor Crouse, enthusiastically advocate diminishing personal wealth. Promoting smaller properties in newer districts and changing the face of graceful, established neighbours by rezoning them for multiple lots and multiple family homes is supported by both individuals.

Indoctrinating young families that children will have plenty to do outside of their stamp-sized concrete lots and encouraging mature adults to sell and downsize from their spacious homes so that those properties can be rezoned are excellent ways in lowering personal wealth and limiting choices and individual freedom. All for the growing collective.

It is easy to understand that developers hop on the “smart growth” gravy train. After all, business is business. And when they find easy, pliable political targets, who can blame them for aiming and shooting for the obvious.

“Urban villages” and theme developments are a part of The Program. Regardless of the name attached to it, any high density urban mixed use development would have ICLEI’s approval. Another excellent avenue for developers to pursue. Make no mistake about their advertised benefits though. These concepts promote further restriction of an individual’s freedom of movement. Incrementation is the name of the game.

Rezoning older neighbourhoods to accommodate this “healthy mix” of residential possibilities devalues property without compensating existing property owners. Long time residents of Akinsdale and Erin Ridge are unfortunately already experiencing this and although they are being given a voice, they are not being heard. It doesn’t follow “The Program’s” vision.

Incrementally dictating how private property owners use their land diminishes the owner’s investment even further. This can be easily noted through the various bylaws approved and passed by council over the last few years. 

As long as residents can not find the respect for their property rights and continually vote in those who are willing to abuse those rights, the path to ICLEI’s decimation of wealth and independence will be closer with each successive insult individuals, who revere The Program, throw at St. Albert.  

No Surprise Here

Cathy Heron’s bid for re-election comes as no surprise. True to form, she chastises St. Albert residents’ ability to discern what it actually is that they or newcomers want to live in. (1) They do care, Ms. Heron, even though you state they do not. They just can not afford what this city hoists on its citizens.

There are many young families who opt not to move to St. Albert because of the small cramped back yards in new districts accompanied by the high taxes this city offers. These young families are most definitely interested in the older areas of St. Albert where ample yard space gives their children opportunity to grow and play without having to encounter your vision of a cramped concrete playground when they open their front doors. Those that find themselves in concrete parts of the city generally don’t stay for the long term. Understandable.

Even many single individuals desire to have more than what you are hinting at offering in a second term. Speaking with a few who still work in St. Albert, but could not afford the high price tag that goes along with living in this city, seems to negate the “whole other generation” picture you offer. Thankfully they can find more affordable options outside of this city without having council’s label attached to the size of their paychecks.

During your term in office, it might have helped when you left “the boundary of St. Albert” and observed the interesting “regional stuff” to actually listen to the people and their reasons for living elsewhere than here.

It is a bit like leashing a dog, Ms. Heron. You know, the ones you want to offer plenty freedom of movement to. Should the human species have anything less than what you want to offer your dog? Or do you have such disdain for our species that you are willing to curb their freedom and living space in your continued high taxed Orwellian “Smart Growth” pursuit?

(1) St. Albert Gazette, August 10, 2013 – Heron to seek council re-election