Get to Know Who's Running: Salar Melli (Ward Métis)
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...
"Salar Melli is a local entrepreneur with far-reaching vision on how to continue building and improving our communities in Ward Metis. He is passionate about Edmonton and its citizens, which has reflected robustly throughout his career and personal life. Salar feels strongly about Edmonton heritage. In 2016, Salar and his wife bought a 100-year-old house in Alberta Avenue that was set to be torn down, and had it designated as a historic site. He has been working with the City of Edmonton to sort out zoning in order to transform his house into a café, so that this unique heritage can be a greater part of his immediate community. Salar takes satisfaction in bringing life to historic places, and desires to create experiences where people can step back in time and encounter the rich heritage of our city."
I♥E/ Why do you want to run for City Council?
Salar Melli/ As a youth soccer coach, I am very interested in youth development and see it as a worthy investment into the future of Edmonton. Additionally, many young Edmontonians have been negatively affected by the ongoing drug abuse crisis in our city. Everyday, I see the harm and pain this inflicts on our community and in my Ward. Our City and communities are also being affected by homelessness, an extremely urgent and growing concern. I’m planning to raise my daughter in Ward Métis, and these and other issues motivated me to run for City Council. I am invested in Alberta Avenue, in Edmonton, and I want to contribute to building resilient communities that our children are proud to call home.
SM/ I have experience building successful teams in kitchens and on the soccer field, showing leadership as a chef and a coach. My expertise communicating with vendors, customers, and staff will help me when articulating concerns and communicating with constituents, councillors, and the City. I have firsthand experience as an entrepreneur, having owned a fine dining restaurant, and I understand what we need to do to create vibrant communities with thriving businesses. My experiences as an immigrant give me a unique and insightful perspective on social inequalities we face in our communities. I am also invested as a property owner in a core community in Ward Métis, understand the infill landscape, and have experience with zoning and permits from having restored a historical building over the past 5 years.
SM/ Transportation, such as new and ongoing LRT plans. Tackling homelessness, addiction, and neighbourhood safety. Keeping property taxes from increasing by utilizing tax payer money efficiently. Managing infill permits to ensure consistency in neighbourhood design. Attracting more small businesses and investments into your neighbourhoods.
SM/ There is a lot of overlap between Edmonton and Ward Métis concerns. Our ward is part of the City, and the issues mentioned previously are also issues acutely affecting our ward.
SM/ EPL as a whole, and seeing them expand their programs is fantastic. EcoCity Edmonton Grants FCSS Program Safe and healthy communities section under the Social Development Branch. The Green Shack program, where Program Leaders come out to provide the kids with recreational programs at parks. Edmonton Police Service in partnership with Bike Index. Explore Edmonton
I♥E/ What are some of the city/community initiatives that you are/were against, and what would you do differently?
SM/ All initiatives from the City have been done with good intentions. I'm not against any particular initiative unless we realize they are not working or if a program is being implemented ineffectively.
SM/ I think it depends on the context. If a person is spreading hatred while hurting and disrespecting others, then yes, elected officials should be able to block people on social media. I would want discussion on my pages to be productive, a safe space to collaborate. I would not block someone for criticizing or disagreeing with me. I like open, respectful conversations, given that they are constructive and are informative. I’m always eager to learn more from others, even if our opinions don’t align.
SM/ We have good people in our healthcare systems and in City positions. What was the best course of action was a bit unclear at times, even on a global scale. Overall, I am fairly satisfied with how COVID-19 was handled.
I♥E/ What is your favourite thing about living in Edmonton?
SM/ I like that we have everything a big city has while maintaining that sense of community. The people here make Edmonton special.
SM/ Creative, focused, persistent, attentive and an avid learner.