Candidate Interview: Jeremy Zhao

By Katy Anderson

<1. What do you think the big issues in this election are?
2. How are you planning to address the city’s crime problem?
3. What can the city do to ease the crunch on affordable housing?
4. What transportation infrastructure need would you address first?
5. What separates you from the other candidates?

1. I think affordable housing and public transit are probably the biggest issues this city is facing right now. Public transit right now, people are still complaining that due to urban sprawl a lot of people can’t get to places they want to go. Affordable housing, we’re seeing with the standard of living and the quality of life that standard of living is going up but the quality of life is going down. The average house is approximately half a million dollars.

2. I think right now we need to concentrate on recruitment and more presence in downtown and all around the city. Calgary’s having really bad image problem with a lot of homeless people and petty crime in the downtown core. Just like the rest of the province right now, we’re facing a labour shortage, and we need to focus on funding and more recruitment for the police force.

3. Right now we have a lot of suggestions, the main one being secondary suites–to approve all 50,000 secondary suites in Calgary. But that’s only one way that, as Calgary, we’re seeing this urban sprawl. Developers are still developing at the borders of Calgary, and we need to work with them on things like inclusive zoning. The developer would be required to build a certain percentage of affordable housing. We also need to build transit routes around these affordable housing routes, whatever the developers plan around the community.

4. Definitely transit. They’re just expanding roads, and not really addressing the traffic concerns. There’s still going to be stops all along; 16th Ave. for example, even though they’re widening the lanes, you still see traffic lights at many different places. So traffic won’t be reduced. If we increase transit, such as more LRT lanes–we’re seeing possible extension for the west LRT, possible extensions for northwest and northeast LRT, get more rapid transit in, we can encourage more people to ride the transit that would take a lot of cars off our roads.

5. I’m young and energetic. I know there’s been a lot of criticism and skepticism saying, “Jeremy Zhao, you’re really young. You’re only 19, you’re still a university student right now, no one will take you seriously.” I really think that I’m trying to voice my opinion, which reflects the opinion of youth and those of visible minorities in the community. I think that we need to serve in the interests of all Calgarians, and right now our low income families and our homeless are the ones who really need our help.

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