I emailed the four mayoral candidates on October 12 the questions below along with some background material. All the mayoral candidates have been asked to fill in dozens of surveys and I would like to thank all the contenders for taking the time to fill in ours (Devon Hein did not respond). Here are their responses in full.
(Former) President 2013-16
1) What is your record on promoting Saskatoon as an active winter city?
2) How will you work towards fair, transparent funding for sports?
3) How will you support us in developing a cross country ski facility that can meet the needs of the skiing community?
Thanks for your email regarding the NordicClub. I have always been a promoter of Saskatoon as a winter city. Your statistics are right on the money. Cross country skiing is an important part of our city. The PotashCorp rink at the Bessborough is an award winning facility and every time we promote any winter facility it helps raise awareness of all winter sports and recreation. I am looking forward to the Optimist Club winter snow boarding and tubing facility at Deifenbaker hill as well.
I am disappointed to hear that the city's funding and granting decisions have not been favorable for you. I wish you had brought these to my attention earlier. If I am fortunate enough to be re-elected I would be happy to arrange to hear your concerns and put them in front of the city administration.
Campaign to Re-elect Don Atchison as Mayor
Thank you for your questions,
1) -Part of my visioning statement is to champion Saskatoon as an active year-around city. I have been involved in city initiatives that have embraced active lifestyles in winter. For example, I was involved as one of the lead volunteers in the the renewal of the Winter Festival that was initiatives during the City of Saskatoon Centennial Celebrations. I am an active outdoors person who cross country skies routinely on the Nordic Ski Club and Municipal trails. I have been a year-round cyclist, snow-shoer, skater, hiker, and snow mobile rider. Simply put, we need to do much better.
2) I appreciate you sharing this information and as a city we do need to address this as there seems to be some inherent unfairness in what you share above. This is an issue that I am aware of as a member of the Nordic Ski Club and would be supportive of trying to get a better system in place.
3) As an avid cross-country skier I am very supportive of improving trails throughout our city and region. We do have a deficit, we had better trails when I was a youth, and we need to do much better. Cross country skiing is one of the best ways to engage in our city in a healthy way.
Thank you for your questions.
I ask for your support and your vote on October 26, 2016 and that of the members.
1) I have been promoting more ‘winter city’ thinking for many years as a Councillor. This included initiating a formal investigation on using the river and river valley for winter recreation and strongly advocating for the City’s strategic plan to incorporate a winter city strategy, which led to the winter city strategy process underway now. I have also promoted the incorporation of more winter activities into the City’s recreation master plan. I am a fat tire biker, a cross country skier, and I play shinny hockey. There is so much we could do to better embrace winter. I believe in Saskatoon’s potential to develop a vibrant winter culture and the important role that outdoor physical sport plays.
2) Overall my approach to these issues is that if there are volunteer groups wanting to work with City facilities to get active and build community, then the City should be looking for ways to support these efforts.
I see particular value in promoting winter options in this City, when kids, adults, and seniors alike can get more homebound and stuck behind the TV or computer. Creating a more active city in the winter will lead to better outcomes all-round. I support a level playing field, and a facilitative, collaborative approach by the City to ensure that non-profit sports groups can work to keep fees down, and we get the best use out of our facilities.
3) As a member of the ski community, I have heard skiers talk about the facility deficit, the desire for a better facility, and the potential options to team up with existing civic facilities for the past few years. From what I have learned, the ski club has been looking at various possibilities for a few years and is developing a proposal around the Gordie Howe Management Area. Overall, I believe in finding synergies between different user groups and facilities; I am excited by the potential synergies and all the different possibilities that could develop from bringing the ski community together with other sporting communities and the City. I would be happy to work with the ski community as a Mayor to find the best way to work together, find the best solution, and help grow cross country skiing in Saskatoon.