It’s the time of year for one of our annual traditions at The Wanderer – resolutions for the City of Edmonton! A few of our outstanding leaders in Edmonton have kindly shared their hopes, goals, and wishes for our vibrant city in the upcoming year. Happy New Year, Edmonton – best wishes for a happy, healthy, and memorable 2016.
My resolution for the City of Edmonton in 2016 is to build a new partnership with the provincial government – through our City Charter discussions – that will allow us to tackle issues of mutual interest. We all want to help those with chronic addictions, those who are homeless, and those struggling to lift themselves out of poverty. By taking a partnership perspective, we can reduce our costs and actually get at the root of the problem, rather than just managing the symptoms. I’m going to work hard this year to ensure our Charter discussions focus on the better delivery of transit, policing, affordable housing, and poverty alleviation – for the benefit of every Edmontonian.
~Don Iveson – Mayor, City of Edmonton
I would wish for the City of Edmonton to build on the wonderful energy that is the arts community in this vibrant city. The city itself is so great in supporting the arts, but I would wish for the citizens of Edmonton to take advantage of the variety of the arts in the city and visit galleries, participate in live theatre and opera, or take in concerts to share in the talent that reflects on their own stories or journeys. Where there is art, there is life!
~Tim Yakimec – General Manager & Artistic Director, Edmonton Opera
This city, province, and country have taken some significant steps this past year to be leaders in creating communities where everyone can eventually feel safe, welcome, and valued regardless of who they are and where they come from. My resolution for 2016 is to continue to create awareness about those who often find themselves at the margins of society – especially the transgender and gender diverse population. This will be an important year ahead for the transgender and gender diverse community as we continue the fight to have our basic human rights respected and protected in our schools, our hospitals, our corrections facilities, and in the greater community.
~Marni Panas – LGBTQ+ Advocate, John Humphrey Human Rights Award recipient
The TELUS World of Science Edmonton team is committed to renewal and expansion through our Aurora Project. My biggest resolution is to focus on community awareness and support for this exciting initiative. I want TWOSE to be the place where the community gathers to explore, discover, debate, test, invent, and get their hands dirty with the joy and insight of exploring the universe through the lens of science. And just as importantly, I will focus on increasing accessibility to the science centre, improving our ability to meet the needs of underserved audiences.
~Alan Nursall – President & CEO, TELUS World of Science Edmonton
I think 2015 was a great year; never has it been such an exciting time for a young person to live in Edmonton. Walking downtown and seeing all the cranes brings thoughts of compelling times to come. My 2016 resolution for our city is for young people to take the time to explore Edmonton and take advantage of all the opportunities this city has to offer. This year, voice your opinion on social issues, volunteer with something you feel passionate about, and don’t be afraid to question why things are done a certain way. Edmonton has a lot to offer its young citizens and we have ideas on how to make our communities better too. Young Edmontonians have a voice that will shape the future of our city; in 2016, I hope they will be heard more than ever.
~Marina Banister – Chair, City of Edmonton Youth Council
My resolution for 2016 is to promote changes that will make Edmonton an even healthier city. For example, let’s work together to make commuting safer and easier. Let’s get the junk food and pop out of public facilities and schools. And how about working with the province to do more to curb junk food advertisements and smoking? Wouldn’t it be great if Edmonton ranked as the healthiest city in Canada? Let’s dream big!
~Timothy Caulfield – Canada Research Chair, Health Law and Policy
My resolution for Edmonton is the same as my wish always is for myself, for my children, for my students: to cultivate a deeper sense of empathy and curiosity. The ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes reveals a deeper understanding of the world, and it is driven by a desire to know why things are the way they are. When we are scared or worried, we have a tendency to close off our empathy, to just look after “our own,” which we define as an ever smaller circle. And we protect ourselves further by not even wanting to know about others. So, when times get tough, it takes extra effort to find those reserves of empathy and curiosity. I don’t know if 2016 will be tougher than 2015, but if it is, I hope we will make that effort to open our hearts and minds.
~Karen Unland – Founder, Seen and Heard in Edmonton
2016: a beautiful year, music, joy, happiness, stars shining on Jasper Avenue, trees swaying in a prairie breeze by a river bending through a city of lights, glow glow glow to cheers for Eskimos and Oilers. See the arctic hare thrive as children play, all colours laughing together, all people under the day star luminous, all people quiet listening next to the bright Citadel where paintings reflect the music spilling off the magical stage named Winspear, out the doors past the mighty Sir across the pyramid expanse that is the people of the city. Beautiful, joy, music, Hallelujah!
~Bill Eddins – Music Director, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
Pick yourself up / Take a deep breath / Dust yourself off / And start all over again…
In considering the approaching new year, Dorothy Fields’ lyrics from “Pick Yourself Up,” a song popular in the ’30s, wormed their way into my mind.
A fresh start is to be savoured. A fresh start provides an almost tangible aroma of delicious optimism. So many possibilities – a chance to make things right, repair a few faults, and refocus and recommit to the vision each of us has for a life well lived. In the case of Edmonton, from one University of Alberta Alum’s perspective, I envision a pulsing positive force of green and gold energy emanating through and beyond our city, province, and country, as efforts to ‘uplift the whole people’ continue.
The problems we face are tough and complex. At the same time, our commitment to a higher quality of life and a community accessible to and fully shared by all is steadfast. We want more – greater sustainability, an end to homelessness and poverty, and an inclusive community with room for all to grow; understanding of and support for mental health and wellness; safety and security; and meaningful actions to right past wrongs and reclaim the rich possibilities of our indigenous family members.
We can do it. You have a role to play. Find a cause that moves you to action and get involved. Green is the colour of growth; gold the colour of prosperity. My wish is that Edmonton, and each and every one of its citizens, has more of both in 2016.
~Mary Pat Barry – President, University of Alberta Alumni Association
Banner photograph courtesy of Wanderer Online Photographer Krishlene Mudaliar.