Get to Know Who's Running: Susan Field (Ward papastew)

By Emil Tiedemann

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...

Ward papastew

Susan Field

As a businesswoman, I’ve been frustrated with costs and endless bureaucracy stifling business growth. I believe all of us deserve to feel safe in our homes and in our neighbourhood. My community connections and crime prevention program help my neighbourhood be a wonderfully desirable and safe place to live, and I want to spread this program to all of papastew."

The Questions:

IE/ Why do you want to run for City Council?

Susan Field/ I love Edmonton! I feel happiest when I am building community connections, and helping people solve problems and fulfill their dreams. I feel the City is veering off course and I want to focus on our core responsibilities of serving Edmontonians. We are leaving so many people and businesses behind.  My business background would be a fresh perspective on City Council – from what I can tell I’m the only papastew candidate with both significant business and community experience.

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?

SF/ In 2008 I created a community connection and crime prevention program – Knowsy Neighbours. After an invasive violent crime occurred in my neighborhood, some neighbours proposed an aggressive and militant response. I decided instead to create a program focused on positive preventative measures and creating a strong community connection by getting to know your neighbours. The program promotes crime prevention tips and alerts, community news, local charities and events, and communication of local issues to municipal resources. The program has become so successful it has over 500 households, completely via word of mouth, and has been nominated for multiple awards. I’ve also been a multi-year community league president, founded a not-for-profit, have held positions on many boards, and have volunteered for political campaigns at all levels of government.

However, I am a businesswoman. My family’s business thrived for over 50 years in Old Strathcona. I’ve seen the City’s business policies become incredibly overcomplicated, stifle growth, and push marginalized groups out of business ownership. I’ve also been a project manager for capital initiatives. I see firsthand how overcomplicated City projects have become, how often they miss their mark, and how significant the cost and schedule overruns are. They don’t have to be this way. I have shown throughout my career that I streamline projects and processes with no loss of jobs or services, and I will do it for the city too.

IE/ What do you think are the 4 or 5 biggest issues facing Edmonton right now that you want to focus on most?

SF/ The four biggest issues facing Edmonton right now are the four pillars of my platform: Business Mind, Community Heart, Projects with Purpose, and Services for All.

Building Business: The pandemic has decimated our local businesses, and the humans that work in them. For Edmonton businesses to rebound, we need to create a predictable business tax regime and to accelerate permitting processes. Over 80,000 Edmontonians are unemployed and they want jobs now.

Community Heart: For communities, we need to rebuild the connections in our neighborhoods to support the mental and physical health of individuals that have been hardest hit by covid, including our frontline workers and those experiencing homelessness. Ward papastew has a diverse group of people across its many communities, and they all deserve the same thing - an affordable, welcoming community where they feel safe.

Projects with Purpose: Our City’s projects and revitalization was at a standstill for years, and over the past decade we have spent time trying to catch up. Unfortunately, these projects are often missing the mark with their purpose, costs, and schedule. Projects should be cost effective and serve Edmonton’s progress without a huge tax burden to go with it. Edmontonians have told me they feel like the City isn’t listening to their engagement concerns, and often the outcome doesn’t meet what the neighborhoods want. I will engage all Edmontonians across the ward, not just the loudest few, so that our projects meet their purpose.

Services for All: Our services need to be accessible. Transit has been decimated in the south part of papastew and so many seniors, families, and students have told me the struggles that have resulted from these changes. You shouldn’t need to call 311 multiple times to get your garbage picked up. The green incentives the City provides are out of reach for average Edmontonians, let alone ones that have additional roadblocks in their way. I’m here to break down these roadblocks and have Edmonton serve all Edmontonians.

IE/ What do you think are some of the issues/struggles affecting your particular ward that you would like to focus on most?

SF/ One of the great things about papastew is that it encompasses all types of Edmontonians. The major thing I am hearing from Edmontonians is that they do not feel they are being listened to. 

Whether it’s consultation on projects, transit changes, traffic, business development, affordability, or community connection, the message is the same. People tell me over and over that the City is not listening to their concerns, they take too long to adapt and respond, and if they do, the result misses the mark. Engagement isn’t just a buzzword or a “check in the box”. Each group of residents needs to know they are valued and being listened to. I’m listening loud and clear.

IE/ What are some of the city/community initiatives that you loved and would like to expand upon?

SF/ The Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues is an incredible resource that I’ve worked with as a community league president. I would love for them to take a more active role in community connection and crime prevention in each of the City’s diverse communities and to use increased community events to drive engagement, particularly in our marginalized communities.

IE/ What are some of the city/community initiatives that you are/were against, and what would you do differently?

SF/ Our current transit shift away from community bussing is something I am very opposed to. Seniors, families, students, shift workers, and low-mobility Edmontonians have had this significantly affect their daily lives. Some have described to me that they have left their jobs due to no longer being able to access it via bus, that their new bus trip takes more than twice is long as before, is longer than walking, or that they are now spending 2 hours worth of wages on taxis or ride-shares. This is not acceptable. The City should be creating a transit system with increased accessibility, not making it more difficult for citizens to get on a bus.

Proposed privatization of City services – From golf courses, to rec centers, to cleaning and sanitation, the City needs to think outside the box and get creative. Instead of privatizing City services, a review and business plan can be developed. We have a shortage of affordable daycare and Rec Centers can fill that need. If a private business can run these services and break even, then the City can, and should, too. We shouldn’t be privatizing these services only for them to become out of reach for Edmontonians.

IE/ Do you think elected officials, such as City Councillors, should be able to block people on social media sites like Twitter?

SF/ From a safety and hate speech perspective, yes. In all other scenarios, elected officials should not be able to block people on social media for a difference of opinion.

IE/ 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)?

SF/ City services were not accessible and many remain inaccessible, which puts excessive burden on the remaining frontline workers. This was an opportunity for the City to look forward and plan for the future.

It’s not my responsibility as a candidate to criticize our provincial government, it’s my responsibility to advocate for the residents of papastew and Edmonton. Regardless of who is in power provincially, I will work hard to make sure the City will get the best outcome for all Edmontonians for items within the City’s mandate.

IE/ What is your favourite thing about living in Edmonton?

SFWithout hesitation, the people and the diverse communities across the city. Edmonton is the friendliest city I have ever lived in, and as a born and raised Edmontonian, I came back here to raise my own family. I know not all Edmontonians have felt safe or welcome, and I will work tirelessly to make sure all feel safe, friendly, and welcome here as well.

IE/ Can you describe yourself in 5 words or less?

SF/ Business mind, Community heart.

Thank you, Susan! 

Find Susan on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram
See Susan's Platform/Priorities HERE.
Visit Susan's website HERE
Contact Susan HERE.


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