Aryan's Platform Priorities
Equitable Property Taxes & Tax Reform
These are times of financial hardship with the new realities of the pandemic. Calgarians deserve a city council that upholds fiscal responsibility with solutions such as lower administrative costs to ensure that Calgarians do not have to keep paying increasing property taxes without measurable, tangible outcomes.
The relationship between residents and Calgary Police needs improvement to address low engagement. There is a lack in preventative programs and cultural consultations. Other concerns such as racism and mistrust should not be taken lightly. These issues need to be resolved to make our communities safer. Platforms must be introduced to encourage dialogue between our Police Service and Ward 5 constituents to address barriers and issues proactively with a shift in police training including cultural competency training, the implementation of cultural liaisons, and preventative community programs.
Youth outreach programs and youth leadership programs such as the City of Calgary's LEAD program should be reinstated and expanded to offer youth the skills they need to thrive. Our youth is our future and youth programs need to adapt to the interests of young Calgarians whether it be through the establishment and maintenance of amenities such as basketball courts, dedicated cricket grounds, skate parks, etc.
In the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation, indigenous youth also need to feel at home in Ward 5 through programs. Enhanced funding through grants and subsidies can also alleviate the burden for local Indigenous non-profits.
Increased Transparency and Expanded Consultation
Many Ward 5 constituents have raised their frustrations with the lack of meaningful consultation on the part of the city councilor who failed to inform residents of major flyover plans on Stoney Trail. There are significant safety concerns for these residents and they are in disbelief after having not been consulted. These flyover bridges may also depreciate their property values. Where was the consultation and information for residents?
If elected, I will ensure major decisions are meaningfully consulted on through town halls (both in-person and virtually), door-to-door handouts, regular updates in newsletters, and other means of clear, direct engagement.
City's Administration Should Reflect Calgary's Diversity
Calgary is rapidly expanding and communities are consistently growing. However, the City continues to struggle to cater to the unique needs of our neighborhoods. One of the reasons behind this is a lack of representation on the Senior Leadership Team of the City of Calgary.
The Executive Leadership Team (ELT) is the most senior group of administrative officials in the organization. They do not reflect a wide breadth of educational backgrounds nor ethnic backgrounds. Without the asset of lived experiences at this level, the day-to-day operations of the city are functioning without a accurate representation of Calgarians. Let's ensure hiring processes emphasize diversity and recognize the value of lived experiences.
Increased transparency with our city council means decisions such as board or commission appointments have public rationales. City councilors cannot be placed on decision-making bodies simply because of personal connections and insider favoritism. City plans such as zone approvals also cannot be approved simply due to familial connections. Ward 5 has suffered enough at the hands of corruptive deals. Ward 5 deserves ethical leadership in place of self-serving backroom deals.
Locations in Ward 5 have become dumping grounds for excess household waste. Volunteer clean-up programs conducted infrequently are a Band-Aid solution. Ward 5 residents should be informed and encouraged to dispose waste respectfully and responsibly. Other areas in Calgary have faced similar issues, and along with increased garbage bins in public spaces, we need bylaws to enforce penalties for dumping activity such as through fees. I will raise this initiative with fellow councilors to ensure Calgary remains the clean, beautiful city we call home.
Accountability With New Schools
Residents who have been living in communities such as Redstone have been beginning to start families and trying to plan their lives. They deserve better from our city council, our school boards, and our provincial government. Families who moved into Redstone were told that there would be schools in the area in due course. However, there does not seem to be anyone who can answer the question of what is happening with these so called plans. Although it is under the provincial jurisdiction, city councilors have a role to advocate on behalf of residents who would like to see promised plans come to fruition. Calgarians deserve access to high quality education, no matter where they live. The process off determining where to build schools and timelines on projects need to be transparent and responsive to the needs of Calgarian families.
Public Washrooms in Parks
Ward 5 residents of all ages from children to seniors deserve to enjoy all of the various amenities offered. There is an emerging need for public washrooms in parks. Logistics and resources should be explored by the City to ensure residents are heard. Public washrooms at certain C-train stations such as Saddle Ridge is another project I would urge the council to look into if elected to ensure accessibility for seniors and those living with health conditions such as diabetes.
Transit Planning Calgary NE
The C-train line stops in the NE at Saddle Ridge, while the city has expanded far beyond this location into new communities such as Redstone and Skyview. What is the plan for the Airport C-Train Station? When will the C-Train connect the rest of the NE? These are important questions to Ward 5 constituents and I will ensure I get the answers Ward 5 deserves.
Reversing City Council's Calgary Transit Maintenance Job Cuts
Instead of helping Calgarians during the multitude of challenges during the pandemic, Council proceeded with with job cuts to outsource the 110 maintenance jobs of Calgary Transit in August 2020. This was irresponsible and unacceptable. It is imperative that Council cuts all unnecessary spending and prioritizes the needs and necessities of Calgarians. It is unfortunate that the privatization of Calgary Transit jobs affected the lives of hard-working Calgarians who worked on the frontlines during the outbreak of COVID-19 and fellow Calgarians who are in need of high quality services.
Safer Roads in Winter
Reassess the City of Calgary’s Seven-Day Snow Plan to ensure that trouble spots are monitored and prioritized to ensure the City remains responsive to the needs of commuters. Roads must be safe and cleared at crucial times.
Insufficient bus shelters to address the weather, such as when raining, snowing, or during times of strong gusts of wind. Accessibility for Seniors and others is difficult. Stations need upgrading. Let's work to address concerns now while many residents are still learning and working from home.
Accessibility in Setting Up Home-Based Businesses
Current resources are overwhelming and not translated into multiple languages. We can help encourage home-based businesses during times of high unemployment first by surveying small business owners and home-based businesses to determine biggest sources of red tape and revise city bylaws to increase accessibility while maintaining the integrity of Calgary’s business sector.
Resources should be detailed but clear with information translated in multiple languages. We can make these resources available on the City of Calgary website with a dedicated phone number to assist with questions.
Calgarians Experiencing Homelessness
Although programs such as affordable housing for seniors have successfully helped improve the quality of life and dignity of countless seniors in downtown Calgary, programs must be expanded. Rehabilitation programs, drop-in centres, and career services for those experiencing job losses are also experiencing challenges with capacity. Funding for these programs from the City should be expanded, especially during times such as these. All Calgarians deserve shelter and basic services, including access to mental health resources. I support all grassroots initiatives across Calgary as well as established organizations and programs such as United Way, Vibrant Communities, Enough for All, and all the other countless social programs that are doing important work.
Panhandling in Ward 5 has raised concern with residents. Unfortunately, this is the result of a lack of services for those struggling with addictions. We need to come together, support individuals who are struggling, and expand proactive programs to give purpose and guidance to youth (which was included in my platform above).
Glance Spa welcoming Aryan into their business space.
(Photo taken before COVID restrictions went into effect).