Platform: Reviving the Heart of Edmonton

Mayoral candidate Tooker Gomberg will will work relentlessly for a vibrant downtown Edmonton.

Why does Old Strathcona work while our city center doesn’t? “The major difference between the two districts is that people live in Old Strathcona”, says Gomberg “we must vigorously encourage more people to reside downtown”.

The high rise towers, which become mausoleums after 6pm, must be shared with other forms of occupancy. These are the low cost, but effective solutions advocated by Gomberg:

  • Convert buildings into residencies. Some effort is being made on this front, but too slowly. Accelerate such initiatives as the Mcleod Building conversion, condominium developments and housing for the elderly.
  • Encourage artists to live and work in the arts district. Successful cities have a thriving arts community in their downtown cores. Artists don’t close up shop at suppertime like corporate offices.
  • Discourage one way streets and fast moving traffic. Traffic should not be using the downtown as a shortcut across the city.
  • Put in crosswalks in the middle of blocks to facilitate use by the elderly or disabled. Traffic and pedestrians don’t mix well. Many major cities have discovered that revitalization of their downtown cores requires giving priority to pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users.
  • Warm bus shelters for transit users. During our harsh winters bus users should not have to freeze waiting for transportation services.
  • Plant trees and widen sidewalks in an effort to move away from the “urban canyon” design of the past.
  • Create downtown parks near small businesses to allow people to mingle, as in Old Strathcona. Old Strathcona works because people can sit and eat, read, people watch, listen to street music, or just walk around.
  • Get the city center Farmer’s Market up and running. There is phenomenal growth in North America of Farmer’s Markets. People are demanding fresh, healthy food, straight from the producer in an old-fashioned market style environment. For many people the market concept puts the recreation back into shopping.

Tooker Gomberg “walks the talk” — he uses the modes of travelling he advocates (LRT, bus, bike or foot). He knows the problems encountered. Gomberg would throw open the doors of City Hall to the public. In a democracy people’s ideas and insights should be tapped into, and the public will be consulted on all major issues. No more handing down of decisions, made behind closed doors, as a fait accompli.

The revitalization of downtown Edmonton is a problem which has plagued successive City Councils for years while, at the same time, the problem has deteriorated. When Tooker Gomberg is elected as mayor he will use his experience and knowledge of major cities around the world to push for realistic, workable and inexpensive solutions.