Everyone needs a place to live. The cost of renting in St. John's is increasing dramatically, and in many cases people are having a hard time finding a home they can afford to live in. The city needs to do more to engage developers and encourage the development of affordable housing and mixed-use neighbourhoods.
We should also look at the subsidized housing program offered by the city, to see if it can be operated more efficiently, or expanded, to give more people the opportunity to live somewhere they can afford. Oftentimes the people that suffer the most from rising housing costs are those in a disadvantaged position: Seniors on fixed incomes, students attending school or just entering the workforce, or single parents struggling to put food on the table. Having a roof over your head is a basic human need, and one that we need to strive to ensure all people can achieve.
Community safety encompasses many things. Providing safe sidewalks for our children to walk home from school on, keeping drunk drivers off our roads, and reducing crime in our neighbourhoods are all examples community safety.
While it is a big issue to put in such few words, we should all feel safe in our communities.
City Hall should work with residents in areas where crime, or other safety concerns, have been a problem to determine what the cause of the problem is, and the best approach to deal with it. When a community approach is taken to deal with crime the chances for success are much higher. The Advisory Committee on Crime Prevention that was recently approved by City Council is a good first step, but we still have much work to do.
We need to look at ways to improve public transit within St. John's, and look at offering transit services to connect neighbouring communities. An example of this could be a park-and-ride service where commuters from neighbouring communities could park on the outskirts of the city and take public transit to work, school, etc. This would reduce traffic on our streets as well as the need for parking spaces.
A review of Metrobus was conducted in 2007, and again in 2011/2012. Both reviews made recommendations on how the service could be improved, become more efficient, and more user-friendly. Many of these recommendations have not been implemented. The better we make the service, the more people will choose to use it. This has been show true in many cities across Canada, and it can be true here.
There are a number of benefits to improving public transit, such as less traffic on our roads, less demands for parking, and it's more environmentally friendly. It also gives people without a vehicle, often teens and seniors, the ability to get from one end of the city to the other in an efficient manner to do the things they need to do.
Reduce Waste & Improve Curbside Recycling Program
We need to look at ways to reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfill. This could possibly be achieved by expanding the items that can be recycled at the curb, or by implementing a curbside composting program which seems to be going well in the Town of Grand Bank.
We need to make recycling easy, so we should look at the collection schedule for recyclable materials and see if the current biweekly schedule is sufficient, or if it should be increased to a weekly collection schedule.