No City of Edmonton councillor had as overwhelming an election day as Tim Cartmell did back in the fall of 2021. With over 80 per cent of the vote, he easily won re-election in Ward pihêsiwin.
But, now comes the messy part — the discussions for the four-year budget plan. And, as one of only four incumbents to get re-elected in 2021, Cartmell hopes the rookie-laden council will take a common-sense approach. While Edmonton is a growing city, he worries that council will be too enamoured with launching new programs and building new infrastructure to see that the City has lots of existing roads, buildings and facilities that are overdue for repairs.
“There’s a tension there, especially when you’re a first-time councillor, that there’s a self-imposed need to deliver something,” says Cartmell. “And that tends to the new, the shiny and the ribbon-cutting. We need very, very little of that… I don’t want to see us do a lot of new stuff. I want us to focus on maintenance and rehabilitation.”
So, with that in mind, Cartmell’s wish list for pihêsiwin is small-scale.
“In my own ward, we need a replacement library branch. We need small-scale recreation, which is usually the realm of the community leagues. We need splash pads and a couple of arenas, not the sort of thing that’s the mega-rec centre. We need neighbourhood scale recreation for all of these neighbourhoods that have been built over the last 15 years, where we have not kept up.”
But he says even the smaller asks — including any he may have — need to be scrutinized. Construction costs are tough to predict, because of higher labour costs and how the price of materials continues to skyrocket.