Monday, October 6, 2014

Charleswood-Tuxedo Questionnaire - Kevin Nichols

Question 1: What is your name?

Kevin Nichols

Question 2: What is your profession? What business holdings do you have in Winnipeg and beyond. How would you avoid conflict of interest as an elected official with what you do now?

My profession- Safety Technician for the City of Winnipeg, I have no business holdings in or beyond Winnipeg. As a City employee of 28 years, I deal with conflict all the time. To avoid conflict of interest I would back away from anything that may even be perceived as a conflict of interest.

Question 3: How old are you?
Age- 50

Question 4: Can you tell us about your family?

My family – I am married with 3 kids

Question 5: Why are you running in Charleswood-Tuxedo?

I am running for Council for Charleswood – Tuxedo – Whyte Ridge because I feel that our needs have not been addressed and have gone unheard. I feel I can do the job that will restore public confidence and benefit all the citizens in the ward and the City.

Question 6: How long have you lived in the ward? Do you live full time in Winnipeg?

I have lived in Charleswood for 22 years, I was born and raised in the City of Winnipeg. Lived here all my life.

Question 7: Have you had any past political affiliations in provincial or federal politics?

I have no political ties what so ever.

Question 8: Who did you vote for in the last civic election both for mayor and councillor and why? How would you rate the last council and mayor?

I honestly don’t remember who I voted for, but I do know it wasn’t for the current mayor and councillor. I would rate them as failing miserably.

Question 9: Do you feel your political views are left, center or right? How would you describe your political views?

 My political views are neutral. While there are good ideas from all parties, there are equally bad ideas. My beliefs are that a politician is elected by the people and should represent all the people. I believe that people should vote for common sense, not a party. I also believe that party politics has no place in the City Council.

Question 10: What do you think are the major issues for the city of Winnipeg?

Infrastructure is a major issue, without a doubt there has been some neglected infrastructure throughout the City. Urban sprawl is another one, and very poor planning implementation.

Question 11: What do you think are the major issues for the ward of Charleswood-Tuxedo?

The major issues are the disappearing green space, the lack of indoor facilities for programs to run and the big one coming is the development of Ridgewood South.

Question 12: Do you support a tax freeze or do you believe that taxes should go up to re-build infrastructure and support programs?

Before we talk about tax freeze, tax increase or anything to do with taxes, we have to look at where the money is going and how can we be more efficient. If we are only getting 60 cents on the dollar for work that is done, we need to find out why and get better at what we do. Questions have to be asked of many people to ensure that our tax dollars are spent efficiently to get the best bang for our buck. Then and only then can we look at what an increase or freeze will be.

Question 13: Do you support cuts in the city of Winnipeg budget? Where?

We need to look at our wants and needs. Based on those, we can look at where to cut and where to increase. If it costs less to hire more fire fighters than to pay overtime, then it makes more sense to hire fire fighters. This holds true for all City departments.

Question 14: Do you support increases in the city of Winnipeg budget? Where?

See question 13.

Question 15: Do you support an increase, decrease or a freeze in the city budget for police officers? Do you believe we need more police officers? If so, would you support a tax increase for it?

The budget and what we spend on will give an indication of increase, decrease or freeze. I believe that more police need to walk the beat downtown, this does have a direct impact on the amount of crime. I believe that resources need to be deployed where they are needed most and a better use of those resources needs to be looked into. The cadet program is a wonderful program but it needs to be carried further. This program should be more of an apprenticeship where they shadow police officers to learn.

Question 16: What is your view on crime in the city of Winnipeg and what can you as councillor do about it?

I have seen the crime stats and they vary in degrees of violence, kinds of crime and numbers being committed. I believe as a councillor I can see that resources such as training are provided to ensure we prevent crime rather than just investigate it.

Question 17: Do you support rapid bus transit or light rail transit? Do you have any other ideas for rapid transit? Do you believe Charleswood is well served for public transit?

As Rapid Transit is designed right now, I can’t get behind it and wont. I believe that the City would be better served by adding more buses and more operators to man those buses. I would also like to see Cadets ride the buses as a deterrent to crime on buses such as assaults. Transit needs to provide increased service to all areas, transporting 10 people fast is not efficient. The diamond lanes seem to be working very well, moving people fast and causing less disruption to Transit operations.

Question 18: Do you believe a city should fund a zoo? If yes or no, please indicate why. 

I do believe a City should fund a zoo, and promote it as a major tourist attraction. When the zoo was handed over, it became too commercial and less attractive to those on a fixed income. It used to be a great place for parents to take kids on a nice summer day. Now it seems as if it is a “go once” type of thing and that’s it because it is too costly for parents to take their kids every day. I have been to a few zoos and for what other zoos charge, we are far behind in attractions.

Question 19: Do you believe a city should fund arts and culture? If yes or no, indicate why.

Yes, we do need to provide subsidies to the arts to a point. Arts in many forms help to enhance the city and promote creative thinking.

Question 20: Do you believe the fire department should have an increase, decrease or a freeze in their budget? Would you support a tax increase for the fire department?

See question 13. We need to look at all city departments to find efficiencies.

Question 21: Do you believe that roads, water and sewer should receive an increase, decrease or freeze in their budget? Would you support a tax increase for roads, water and sewer?

I believe there are efficiencies to be found(seeing the work done first hand) and before discussing budgets we need to look at what is really needed to maintain the roads and all infrastructure.

Question 23: Would you support the city of Winnipeg having a sales tax in addition to property tax?

No, I believe this will drive more people to shop elsewhere. I believe developing a municipal income tax coupled with a property tax decrease would be far more beneficial to everyone and bring in more revenue for the city.

Question 24: Do you think Winnipeg should have a tax cut? If yes or no, explain why?

See question 21.

Question 25: Do you believe that the present city of Winnipeg budget is adequate for the city of Winnipeg? If yes or no, explain why.

I believe we have to look at how we do business and what we spend money on. We also need to look at the overspending that is done such as for a new police station. We also need to look at contracts such as those for CAO’s that don’t work for us anymore but still receive a paycheck from the City.

Question 26: Should education be funded through property tax or through general funds from the province?

The province should look at different ways to fund schools and it should not be funded by property taxes.

Question 27: Do you support term limits? Will you be serving a term limit even if there are no rules in place? How long will you serve?

I believe a person’s term is decided by the constituents, if you have a great person in place, why get rid of them. If the people are not pleased with the elected official, then change will happen.

Question 27: Do you think housing should be allowed at The Forks? If yes or no, explain why.

No, the Forks is a gathering place for all, not just those that live there. The Forks has become too commercial and has strayed from its original intent in my opinion.

Question 28: What changes (if any) should be done to upkeep our city parks and recreation programs? 

More trees need to be planted in certain areas, this will cut down on the amount of grass to mow, which costs the city money. We need to ensure that new developments have adequate green space in the form of fields, not walking paths. We need to enhance green space not build on it.

Question 29: What do hope to see in the Kapyong Barracks along Kenaston?

Widen Kenaston is top of the list for Kapyong barracks. After that I would say high density housing close to Kenaston gradually tapering to regular housing to match the neighbourhood backing onto it.

Question 30: Do you support a moratorium on development on old railway lines in favour of rapid transit and bike corridors?

This should have taken place long ago, we had the chance to make a bus lane on the abandon line running north/south paralleling Kenaston. We crammed residential development into it instead.

Question 31: Do you support widening Kenaston to three lanes in each direction?

See question 29.

Question 32: Do you support the creation of service roads for any further shopping developments?

Yes, we should have made them along Kenaston south of Taylor.

Question 33: What is your view on city taxes helping to build professional arenas and stadiums?

In some major projects, I believe a reasonable amount of help is essential to help the community. However, I think that lavish spending must be curtailed if funds are provided.

Question 34: What is your view of a possible call for taxpayer help to expand  attractions around the MTS Centre? Would you support it? 

No, the arena was upgraded/funded in order to rejuvenate the downtown, if the surrounding businesses cant survive with this kind of help, then funding should not be put forward.

Question 35: What do you believe the city should do to ensure a vital downtown? Do you believe it is important as a councillor to support it?

Lots of proposals have been put forward to help downtown and not much has helped. I believe that a plan to get more people living downtown and more grocery stores available will help to draw people downtown. I would support any plan that is reasonable and sustainable to help ensure downtown does not end up a wasteland.

Question 36: Do you believe that some city service should be privatized? What services (if any) would be candidates for it?

I believe that some city services would be best served in a private industry, such as when specialized equipment is required. I believe the City has gone too far and has too much private enterprise involved. An example is garbage collection. When it was city owned and operated, the guys may occasionally drop some garbage. They would take the time to pick it all up, now, the ditches have garbage in them all over the place because no one even gets out of the truck if something falls out.

Having worked for the city for 28 years, I have seen worker pride and morale decrease, I would like to bring back worker pride, increase morale. As anyone knows, a happy employee produces more in a more efficient manner.

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