Microsoft word - brian varga.docx
Medicine Hat has had very little population growth in the last 5 years and even less new industry. Doyou feel it is important to entice large business to come and set up shop in Medicine Hat. If so, whatwould your plans be to ensure that this type of economic development occurs?
I believe that we must do whatever we can as a city to entice large business and industry to come toMedicine Hat. A strategic business plan for new business must be established. The city must establish agame plan with incentives, benefits, and processes that can be offered to these new businesses. Instead ofbusiness coming to us we must go to them. The city must establish what our needs are for the present andthe future and then phone, write letters, email, whatever we have to do to get them to come to MedicineHat. Our city real y has to come up with all the information needed along with a great presentation to selour city to potential business, industry and manufacturers that the city feels wil be an important part ofour future.
2. Small businesses with ten employees or less produce 50+ percent of all jobs. What initiatives do you
feel would encourage small business the economic freedom to grow and generate more jobs?
Once again I believe that the city has to do a great job in giving our businesses all the informationnecessary to run a smal business in our city. No surprises, yearly taxation assessment protocol and processand procedures must be set out for them; bylaw information for certain types of businesses must beconveyed to them of the do’s and don’ts. Small businesses should be encouraged to expand and the cityshould be there to help. Whether it be in more land acquisition, a break in commercial taxes until theybecome better established or just clear and concise information from our city departments on what we cando to help make that happen. This is how I would like to help with smal businesses as a city. Make theprocess easy and smooth and timely.
3. There are some good examples of cities who have recently invested in their local economy and social
programs by building public infrastructure. What role do you feel that Medicine Hat should play withthe construction of infrastructure and public facilities?
We real y should be involved with the construction of infrastructure and public facilities. We arefortunately lucky enough to invest in both because our city makes money each year. With our CapitalReserve Fund we can invest in these projects that make our city better. We have already agreed to build anew Veiner Center and we are also improving our aged infrastructure in the downtown core. We mustcontinue to plan for the cities future. My only question would be do we continue as a city to contributemoney to the operations of the building after we have it built or do we step away and have professionalpeople come on board and run these facilities and make money doing it. I like the later, where we helpbuild it then we step aside and they take over the operation side and run it as a business. It’s a win for thecity and a win for the operators.
4. The City has talked about revitalizing our downtown, however it seems that little has been done to
make this happen. Do you feel that Downtown Medicine Hat is important to the growth and social life
of our city? If yes, what would you do as an elected representative to progressively move towards therevitalization of our downtown core?
First of al we must establish a hard game plan. What do we want, how is it going to look and who do wewant to have involved in the development, how are we going to get it done and how long wil it take. Oncewe have established “The Plan” we must sit down with local developers and offer them incentives tobecome part of the plan. I do not know what we can offer for incentives from the city but I am sure that wecan do something to get the downtown core moving. We need people to live in the core so businesses canthrive. We have to build lofts on top of businesses, we have to build apartments, we have to build a condoto get people living in our core. If we can do that the businesses wil fol ow. The city in my mind has twolines of action. First, they have to create incentives and opportunities that will help in the development ofthe downtown core with such things as tax breaks for a period of time, reduced land costs for newdevelopments, funding or grants available to fix up your property. Secondly we need to put pressure onbuilding and land owners who have vacant lots or empty buildings in the downtown core. If they refuse tosel , fix-up or develop their property to the standards of the proposed “PLAN”, the city must set up anaction plan to deal with these individuals. The city has to get away from the nice guy attitude for thesepeople who have these properties in the downtown core so our plan can work in the near future. This ishow I think we should develop the downtown core.
5. Medicine Hat has put a strong focus on upgrading our sewer, water and transportation systems recently
– this is vitally important so that utilities can be delivered, waste can be managed and our citizens can
get around Medicine Hat easily. Do you feel that it is more important to build for planned growth than itis to build for what we need today?
Right now with our growth rate being so low I believe we are in a situation where we fix it as we need it. Ibelieve it is very important to build for planned growth. We have six plans approved by Council since 2010and I really believe that they have not been looked at or acted upon since they have been approved. Thelonger we wait to do things the more it costs. In saying that if we could predict and indicate where ourgrowth wil come then we should move forward with the infrastructure needed to service these areas. Thatway, if we do have a growth spurt we can have the areas ready for instant development. I would rathersee it done this way as long as we have the funding available to get it done.
6. Please list your top five strategic priorities for the City that you would commit to over the four year
1. Get people who are stil not in their houses from the flood looked after so that they are settled inwhatever place they have to be before winter sets in.
2. Flood mitigation with the Provincial Government and a plan of action put in place so we can start torepair and build up along the river so that it does not happen again.
3. I would try to eliminate the so called “RED TAPE” and “TIME LINES” stigma that haunts City Hal . I wouldlike to see policies and procedures put in place to eliminate and speed up the process with our city so thatbusinesses and individuals can start their projects in a professional and timely manner.
4. I would talk to the Medicine Hat Col ege and discuss with them on what our students are graduating inand what fields they are moving towards. I would then proceed to seek out and talk to the businesses
and industry that might relocate here so that our kids can stay right here in Medicine Hat and work. Wehave to also seek out businesses and industry that bring in a bigger wage rate for our people. We have toincrease our population for better economic growth for the future.
5. I would like to look after our senior, youth, and young families and make sure that they are all animportant part of our community. I would like to see us get involved in the development of a modernyouth centre for the kids of Medicine Hat and area. “With active kids, comes active lifestyles”. Thebuilding of a modern “Veiner Center” for our senior population is already in the works, and for our youngfamilies I would like to make sure that they have enough activities and facilities throughout the city tokeep them active and engaged in our community.
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