At Large Town Hall

Our At Large Town Hall starts tonight (Tuesday) and continues on Wednesday night.

You can watch live at 7PM on our Facebook page. Video of the event will be uploaded to our Youtube channel over the next few days.

Tonight’s Town Hall will feature:
Tom Davis
Debbie Hanlon
Meghan Hollett
Anne Malone
Steve Parsons
Greg Smith

Tomorrow’s will feature:
Maggie Burton
Ron Ellsworth
Sandy Hickman
Mark House
Jess Puddister

The questions the candidates will be answering are below:

  1. It is very likely that the Catholic Church will be attempting to cover the costs of recent settlements through the sale of some of its properties. Some of these properties are not just financial assets to the Church, but also community assets providing indoor public or quasi-public space and a focal point for the neighbourhood. Some have great value for re-use: affordable housing, libraries, community gyms, shared office and meeting space for community groups, etc. How will you plan for the opportunity to use these properties to strengthen St John’s communities and neighbourhoods?

2. From the St. John’s Food Assessment, people of all incomes and ages, across all city wards recognized that increased income is the most needed change to improve food access. Where a living wage in St. John’s is calculated as $18.85 an hour, would you support the City of St. Johns in adopting a “Living Wage Policy”, to ensure firms contracted directly or subcontracted by the City to provide services pay their employees a Living Wage?

3. Other than modifications of city-run buildings to enable or improve physical accessibility, what should council do to make our city more accessible for cross-disability?

4. Over the past few years, the City has started to require prohibitively expensive insurance coverage as part of receiving permits for community events and other initiatives on City property. How would you address this and are there other ways you would like to see the city support community and neighborhood groups?

5. Consultants hired to study our transit pre-COVID found St John’s has worse transit coverage than ten other comparable Canadian cities, and called for improvements like free transit for school students and frequency improvements that would eventually have cost an extra $2m a year. In addition, the city is currently drafting plans to switch to electric buses – the federal government won’t pay for more diesel buses much longer. While this will save money long term, it costs more to buy each bus and there will be training and other costs. The city has currently chosen to cut a half million dollars from Metrobus’ budget, however, which seems certain to make the service worse than it already is. Do you feel this is necessary, or would you find the money needed to implement the improvements that have been suggested?

6. Between Snowmageddon, COVID-19 costs and federally-required water treatment improvements, St. John’s will be looking at a budget crunch during your term. Many, however, are also calling for service improvements, and the city cannot legally run a deficit. What values will guide how you balance taxation and spending? What existing services would you be willing to reduce or eliminate to support your priorities?