Get to Know Who's Running: Tarcy Schindelka (Ward papastew)
There happens to be a Municipal Election coming up in Edmonton on October 18, 2021, and I think it's important for locals to get to know the City Council candidates running for their particular ward (as well as their Mayoral candidates, of course). I chose to get more involved in the election this year and so wanted to give each candidate a chance to tell us a little about themselves, their vision, and why you should vote for them. I have sent a 10-question questionnaire to each of the 2021 Edmonton Municipal Election candidates and will post their responses (100% as written) here as they come in. With that said, let's get to know...
“I am happy to be a resident of one of the most vibrant cities in the world. From festivals to concerts to our river valley and parks system, I am proud to call Edmonton home. I am very much a family man, with a wife and two teenage daughters. We are also dog owners, one rescue and one Norwegian Elkhound adopted out of Manitoba. This city needs a solid plan for the future. From infill housing and the impact on neighbourhoods, to proper transit for the people who live there, we need to coordinate our efforts to ensure residents are getting proper value for their tax dollar, and services are at or above the expected levels."
I♥E/ Why do you want to run for City Council?
TS/ I’m tired of services on a continued downward spiral, while taxes increase. We aren’t getting value for our tax dollars from City Hall any more. The utter lack of efficiency in city departments is frustrating for a lot of people, including myself.
I♥E/ Can you tell us about your past or current experiences that you think could possibly benefit/ translate to your position as a member of City Council?
TS/ I have run a business for the last 14 or so years – it started out part-time, and eventually into a full-time endeavour. Running a business has many facets to it – listening to people, being accountable to clients as well as employees or contractors, and streamlining operations to keep expenses down. I think all of these will help me, and more importantly, the taxpayers of this city.
I♥E/ What do you think are the 4 or 5 biggest issues facing Edmonton right now that you want to focus on most?
TS/ The top 3 are what I have heard from residents of Papastew. Number 1 – Protect the river valley. The valley is absolutely amazing, with so much use from all over the city, and we need to fully protect it from development. Number 2 – Fix the Transit System. As it sits, and with changes in April, our transit system is very much broken. We need to make it more user friendly, not less (which these changes will do), and ensure ease of access to the system from those who need it most. The West leg of the LRT needs to be stopped. The city needs LRT, however, it needs it done right, and choking traffic on one of the main thoroughfares from the west end is not the way to go about it. Did you know – that for about half the cost of the west leg, we could replace the ENTIRE fleet with electric buses? More eco-friendly buses on the road, including Bus Rapid Transit. Number 3 – Find real solutions to Edmonton’s homeless issue. We need to treat our homeless with respect and provide the proper solutions and supports in order to help people get off the streets. It’s not a one-step issue. However, there are solutions we can take from places like Medicine Hat, in addition to working alongside our street-level agencies to find actual solutions to problems. The camps over the last couple of years (which are now popping up again) prove that the current council has failed in the 10-year plan. My priorities beyond that include working alongside the city auditor’s office to find proper efficiencies inside of City Hall, reducing the number of managers and supervisors that actually restrict the flow of work done by the fine front-line workers in this city, and finding and eliminating wasteful spending throughout all departments.
I♥E/ What do you think are some of the issues/struggles affecting your particular ward that you would like to focus on most?
TS/ I’m pretty sure I answered that in the last question – River Valley protection, Transit ease of use and accessibility, and finding solutions for our homeless population.
I♥E/ What are some of the city/community initiatives that you loved and would like to expand upon?
TS/ Our waste management system has some lofty goals, with 94% diversion from the landfill. I know there have been some problems experienced recently, that I would like to see fixed, and I’d love that push to 94%...perhaps higher with an expansion of the biofuel plant.
I♥E/ What are some of the city/community initiatives that you are/were against, and what would you do differently?
TS/ I’m fully against the current city plan, which will punish people for driving, and tax so many, so much more, just for owning a vehicle – in a city with planners that continue to spread us outwards.
I♥E/ Do you think elected officials, such as City Councillors, should be able to block people on social media sites like Twitter?
TS/ I think social media can be full of vitriol and divisiveness, and bots (particularly on Twitter) can be on the attack 24/7. Based on that, I would leave it up to each individual councillor or elected official to make their own decision. I’m always open for a calm, rational discussion, with opposing views or not, and many times, that can’t/won’t happen on social media sites. We need to remember, people who think differently than us are not the enemy.
I♥E/ When it comes to COVID-19 restrictions, what do you think we got wrong (if anything) as a city or province, and is there anything you would want to do differently (municipally OR provincially)?
TS/ As a business owner with a company that has been decimated by the pandemic, I’d like to see more supports for our businesses (particularly small-medium businesses), who employ up to 70% of our population. We need to keep them here, and operating, in order to continue moving forward – without employers, we don’t have employees, homeowners, etc. A property tax deferral (not forgiveness) program may have helped some of those businesses on Whyte Ave (and elsewhere) remain open.
I♥E/ What is your favourite thing about living in Edmonton?
TS/ The people here are amazing. We have a sense of community that rivals anywhere in the world. Regardless of politics or beliefs, we can come together to enjoy our festivals, arts scene, river valley, sports, and each other.
I♥E/ Can you describe yourself in 5 words or less?
TS/ Fiscally responsible with a conscience.
Thank you, Tarcy!