My name is George Chahal, your candidate for Councillor in Ward 5. I was born in Calgary and raised in Saddleridge. I have been a resident or had a business in our Ward for over 40 years.
As our city has become one of the main growth engines of the Canadian economy, we require a clear vision for our growing city. A part of this vision is taking decisive action and having the political will to make tough decisions. Our wards diversity is our strength, and an opportunity for us to create prosperity for our ward and the City of Calgary.
As councillor I want to present a clear vision to council to manage our growth in a responsible manner. This includes working with all levels of government and non-governmental organizations to ensure that all of our citizens have access to adequate, safe and affordable housing.
As we are the largest municipality in the region we must take the lead to strengthen relationships with local and regional municipalities. By working collaboratively with our regional partners we must focus on creating a regional transit policy which links our city to our neighboring municipalities. Our residents in Ward 5 also deserve to have transit stations close to our new communities, and appropriate levels of service. Our road infrastructure must be upgraded and be efficient to ensure the movement of passengers and goods. Upgrading and completing Airport Trail, Metis Trail and 80th Ave N.E. are a priority.
We need to ensure our first responders are fully supported and we work closely with local organizations to ensure appropriate levels of response. The Fentanyl/Opiod crisis continues to cause major challenges and heartaches for families and communities. We need to ensure all levels of government work closely to mitigate and find pro-active solutions. First responders and families are the front line in this crisis.
As a young diverse ward, our residents need opportunities to connect and collaborate through community place making initiatives. I propose continuing the great work done at the Genesis Centre by expanding the Centre to offer more programs for our growing communities, but also begin the planning of a new North Calgary Recreation Center which brings residents of Ward 5 together but also the City as a whole. City council needs to work closely with community associations, such as Calgary Minor Soccer Association (CMSA) to ensure essential facilities are developed in conjunction with the CMSA and affiliated clubs to provide first class facilities for the thousands of children who participate on an annual basis.
I want to ensure that our communities are healthy, livable and which are inclusive, walkable and safe. To ensure our children and grandchildren can enjoy our city; we must ensure that we are environmentally responsible. We must honor and promote strong families, good parenting and a sense of community by working collaboratively within our communities. In addition, it is essential that we promote social sustainability by involving our seniors and encouraging physical and mental interaction which will result in healthier outcomes.
Through transparency and integrity I believe this office must be accountable to its citizens. To ensure participation and accountability within our municipal structure, as a city we must continue to look at ways to reduce red tape and continue to strengthen campaign financing rules. I believe we can achieve our priorities and goals through cooperation, collaboration, communication and consensus based policy making. I look forward to working with our council members as well as community associations, religious and cultural associations.
Affordable housing, infrastructure, transit, and fiscal prudence are issues important to me and I will be a strong advocate fighting for our city and residents. I do believe that we need to prioritize and balance expectations within a fiscal framework. Ultimately, we as taxpayers will need to fund any increase in expenditures. I strongly believe that property tax increases and business tax increases should be held at the rate of inflation and any additional expenditures will need to be balanced by savings. Accordingly, whether we are looking at a new stadium for our professional sports teams or a new Winter Olympics initiative we have to ensure that they meet a fiscal framework that is in the interest of all Calgarians.
Having grown up in Calgary, I do recognize the great contribution that the Calgary Flames organization has made to the fabric of this community, as well as the initiative they took in saving the Calgary Flames during difficult times in the 1990’s, and subsequently their ownership and support for the Calgary Stampeders, Calgary Hitmen, and Calgary Roughnecks. In addition, we shall always remember the 1988 Calgary Olympics, which were not only successful as an event, but also one of the very few Olympic Games that has a positive financial legacy. The results of which we continue to appreciate, with Canada Olympic Park, and the Olympic Oval just to name a few.
A core belief, is a recognition of diversity within our city, which is a strength. Diversity brings challenges as countless new Canadians, migrants, First Nations, and members of the LGBTQ2, continue to face. My own personal experiences growing up in Calgary, were not always welcoming and I understand the challenges faced by many. In 1991, my father was refused entry through the front door of the Red Deer Legion for a private event because he wore a turban. However, as Calgarians have shown, that we can elect a Muslim Mayor, a turbaned Sikh Member of Parliament, and countless others to elected positions. We should utilize our diversity to create economic opportunities. Calgary is truly a world class city.
With my experience in Planning and Development, business background both in banking and in the private sector. I have the experience and expertise necessary to represent our Ward and to provide proactive solutions to manage our future growth. I look forward to speaking with you and earning your vote.