The next city council could be asked to return fluoride to the city’s water supply. What is your position on this?
Yes to returning fluoride to our water. It’s time to stop the health carnage among our vulnerable populations generated from poor dental hygiene occurring due to lack of fluoride.
Economic development consultant
Former two-term Ward 6 councillor
What is your motivation for seeking a seat on city council?
I think my business training and community service experience will serve the residents of Ward 6 and Calgary well during our economic and pandemic challenges.
Describe your leadership style:
Collaborative – seeking what each party needs to resolve the issue.
What do you consider the single most important issue facing Calgarians, and what should be done about it?
Most important issue: economic challenges as the energy sector evolves. Economic diversification within the energy sector and the growth of sectors including technology, finance and agri-business will likely be part of our future. The city, through agencies such as Calgary Economic Development should continue their work – with a focus on creating the conditions for growth. Maintaining our quality of life as a competitive advantage in the global competition for talent and investment should be a key priority.
What are the three most important issues in your ward, and how would you address them?
I bring fresh eyes, with experience, to the issues:
1. Public safety – from speeding to break and enters – (working with our communities and fully funded Police Service to identify priorities and assigning resources to resolve challenges).
2. Taxes and affordability (aiming for zero tax increases) and targeting finding efficiencies through productivity and value for money audits.
3. Jobs and economic growth (bringing ‘open for business’ programs and culture back to the city).
Do you support the city’s downtown revitalization strategy? Where should funding and programs be focused?
Yes, I support the downtown revitalization strategy. Programs should be developed in collaboration with all stakeholders, including residents. A very broad range of tools should be considered, including changes to property assessment classifications to enable improved fairness and flexibility in the allocation of property taxes. I would focus on mall upgrades, LRT station access and minimize spending on office to residential retrofit programs.
What innovative project or job creation measure can you propose to aid Calgary’s post-COVID economic recovery?
I think a post-COVID time would be appropriate to finally bring the provincial and federal governments into negotiations to address our fiscal imbalance. This costs Calgary billions of dollars, and capturing a larger share of our taxes returned by way of more services provided by other orders of government would have a significant positive impact on our budgets and easily enable zero percent tax increases.
What should city council do to keep young adults from leaving Calgary?
The city needs to articulate the short, medium and long-term vision/goals for Calgary. We need to know the strategic plans to develop new economic opportunities as well as how to maintain our reputation as an energy city. An affirmation of values is important at this stage. ie. who are we in terms of how we care about each other and our communities.
We need to get our passion back if we are to inspire people to stay or come to live here! And that is everyone’s responsibility!
* All candidate Q&As have been edited for clarity and brevity.
*Original article online at https://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/richard-pootmans-ward-6-calgary-council-candidate-questionnaire