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Ian Froude

2190
12

I live in Ward 4 with my wife Stephanie, our son Simon, and our two dogs Desmond and Riley. I am a civil engineer, and the owner of Bite-sized Farm, a small business focusing on offering fresh vegetables through the Farmers’ Market and farm-to-table delivery. I completed my Bachelor of Engineering at Memorial University; during this time I completed work terms at the City of St. John’s and volunteered with Engineers Without Borders. Since completing my degree, I have worked with Engineers Without Borders, and more recently for the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. I currently sit on the Board of Directors for the O’Brien Farm Foundation and am the Executive Director of the St. John’s Tool Library.

Contact Information

Survey Responses

What is your full name?
Ian Froude
 
What role are you running for? If it's a ward councillor position, please specify which ward.
Ward 4 Councillor
 
If you are currently on council, or have served previously, how many years in total have you served?
 
Why did you decide to run for office?
I decided to run for public office because I saw a need for strong, progressive leadership that is compassionate and principled. With my background and experience, I can be an effective representative of the people of Ward 4 at the Council table. At heart, I am a community activist and organizer. I work to solve problems facing our community, and I believe politics – through City Council – is a route to creating positive change in our city. Given recent struggles experienced by the City and Province, I believe that it is time for strong, principled voices to step forward with positive vision for St. John’s and I want to be a leader in that change.
 
What do you think makes St. John's unique or special?
What makes St. John’s special to me is the experience of the city. The trail system, the vibrant arts community, our history and built heritage, and our culture all combine to create a unique experience for those who live here and the people who visit.
 
If you were elected, do you plan to hold another paid job while serving on Council? If so, what would it be and how will you divide your time?
In the spring of 2016, I started a small farm, which I am proud to say grows high-quality affordable produce for customers in St. John’s. If elected, I plan on hiring staff to take the place of most of my on-farm efforts. I plan to manage the business, but I do not plan to be there day-to-day. Residents expect a lot of their representatives, and so they should. I intend to be able to invest the energy and time needed to pursue the changes I have heard so many residents talk about and demand.
 
What changes or initiatives would you advocate for at Council?
To create a city that we can all be healthy and happy living in, we need to focus on creating great neighbourhoods, we must support our people and businesses to succeed, and City Council and City Hall must be accountable first and foremost to residents. Here are my commitments on each of those priorities: Creating better neighbourhoods for our families and friends – Complete neighbourhoods are places that we can call home. Whether you live with friends, are starting a family, or have lived in the same home for years, your neighbourhood should be safe, encourage physical activity, offer the amenities you need, and inspire a sense of community; Supporting our people and businesses to succeed – Thriving entrepreneurs and local business owners are critical to the success of our city and the livelihoods of residents. I want to ensure small businesses are well represented at City Hall, given a fair deal, and celebrated for their contributions to the well-being of our community. Our businesses are our employers, our coffee shops, our companies that are thinking global, our art galleries, our favourite places to shop – they are the drivers of our economy; Building strong accountability on council – The city we build and the decisions we make as councillors have a real impact on people and on businesses. I want to bring an enhanced culture of accountability to council and make sure every decision considers those impacted most.
 
What, to you, is the most important kind of decision City Council makes?
Each and every decision related to the development and design of our city has an impact on the lives of individuals and families now, and decades from now. When Council approves a housing development that has no parks, poor walkability, or limited access to amenities it fixes that decision in place for decades. This has significant impact on the social well-being of our city and neighbourhoods, the physical and mental health of residents, and on the financial stability of our households and our city as a whole.
 
Questions for ward councillors...
Do you live in the Ward?
Yes, I do. I live near the University.
 
If you had a whole day off to spend in your ward relaxing, what would you do?
During my free time, my family and I frequently spend time exploring the many parks and trails in the Ward on foot. A whole day off would undoubtedly involve a long walk in Pippy Park or along Rennie’s River with Stephanie, Simon, and our canine companions. The day would also contain leisurely exploration of books and magazines at Chapters with Stephanie and Simon; coffee in-hand. There are many interesting new restaurants in Ward 4. A favorite is Piato; during the evening I would enjoy a relaxing and delicious meal there with my family.
 
What could Council do to make your ward a better place?
Ward 4 encompasses a large portion of the City of St. John’s including many of the major transportation arteries, employment centres, and parks. When making decisions that impact Ward 4 and its residents, we are also impacted the city as a whole. Among the key changes I have shared elsewhere in this survey, such as improving affordability, better accountability of council, and improving our neighbourhoods; there are some important specific issues that need to be addressed in Ward 4, including, but not limited to: improvements to walkability in and between neighbourhoods; improving traffic flow around the University and the Avalon Mall; getting the park complete in Kenmount Terrace; better management of garbage disposal; maintaining our existing parks and trails; and addressing parking challenges in some pockets across the Ward. The changes I will be advocating for, as articulated in question 11; and the improvements being requested by residents in neighbourhoods around the city as I have reflected on in this letter (http://www.ianfroude.ca/campaign_update ) as well as properly managing the changes in our city that I explain in question 14f cover the majority of ways we can make Ward 4, and the City as a whole, a much better place to live. These are ambitious changes, but required ones. They won’t happen overnight, and will required hard work and creativity, but we must address them as a community.
 
Have you been out canvassing in the ward? If so, what are the priorities you’re hearing most loudly?
My team and I have been on over 125 streets across the Ward, on over 6000 door-steps to date. I am committed to being accessible to residents and meeting them in the community, on their streets and in our parks so that they have every opportunity engage on the issues that matter to them. Residents are concerned about low-income individuals and families, and the potentially exacerbating effects a challenged economy can create. The recent emergence of Fentanyl in our communities has also been a concern highlighted by a number of residents. I’ve heard mixed opinions of the quality and consistency of services delivered by the city. Most residents are satisfied with garbage collection, but many are disappointed with overflowing public or commercial bins, litter around the city, and the mess often created on garbage day by ineffective covering of bags on the curb. Snow clearing for streets and sidewalks remains a concern for many, and those living in cul-de-sacs are particularly frustrated by the amount of time it takes for snow removal, or the lack thereof. Many residents have expressed concerns regarding vehicle speeds on residential streets. From important infrastructure upgrades, such as the replacement of water lines or road improvements, to the approval of new developments, the common theme, regardless of whether or not residents agreed with the decision, has been a desire for greater clarity on how these decisions are being made. Fees for home renovations, property tax assessments, and residential or commercial permit processes are examples of experiences that are leaving many residents without a clear understanding of the rationale driving decision-making. I recently published a blog reflecting on what I have heard from people across the Ward. You can check it out here: http://www.ianfroude.ca/campaign_update
 
Increasing density and mixed uses are priorities in the new municipal plan. Where would you like to see more density in your ward?
Kenmount Road; Ropewalk Lane is not in the ward, but on the periphery and is a service location for many in Ward 4; Churchill Square, as was originally intended in its design; and the area on Elizabeth Ave between New Cove/Portugal Cove
 
How do you think your ward will change during the next Council term?
There are many changes that I would like to see, including: development of the Community Park in Kenmount Terrace; a potential trail network along Kenmount Road, which has been requested by the residents of those neighbourhoods; investment in the bus system and how it is integrated with Memorial University; ideally a shop, or shops will open in the old grocery store location on Churchill Square; and improvements in waste management, including the beginning of the roll-out of automated garbage collection. Development along and at the top of Kenmount Road will continue; changes as the university adds additional buildings and potential changes to routes of metrobus; Farmers’ Market moving into the former Metrobus depot will offer a great sense of community and food security to that neighbourhood; continue revitalization of the New Cove/Portugal Cove area of Elizabeth Ave; increased occupancy as businesses move back into Churchill Square; the addition of programming and activity on the O’Brien Farm will offer great opportunities for the community to explore this beautiful area of our city.
 
What would you like to see included in the new Regional Plan?
Regionalization of Services: regional transit system, maintenance of roadways, planning of traffic flow between municipalities, improvements to waste management. Direction for long-term development of the North East Avalon region, that considers: environmental impacts, requirements for habitat preservation, and storm water retention, in the context of the needs of each individual community. As part of the Regional Plan, we need a region-wide strategy that will ensure we are preparing for our aging population. This means making sure that our services are designed to be accessible to our elder citizens; encouraging immigration to ensure we have a consistent and strong workforce; that people are able to afford to stay in their homes as long as they are healthy enough to do so; and that our streets and sidewalks are designed to allow our aging population to navigate the city and stay active in their later years. These are just some of the issues that would need to be addressed in the regional plan as it relates to our demographic challenge.
 
What, if anything, would you want done to establish better communications between citizens and developers before development is proposed?
More opportunities for citizens to gain an understanding of the process for development or change in the city, including zoning styles, development regulations, and the various stages of the development process; Greater clarity on the rationale for, and the details/design of an addition/change; Greater clarity on the plan for the city as a whole: the types of development planned for where, and when; More opportunities for citizens to have input on projects and development in their neighbourhood at the decision-making stage
 
How would you use the Engage! process and system?
Create groups within ‘Engage’ that are neighbourhood driven, which would provide a forum for neighbourhood specific issues to be brought up and addressed; Allow for more citizen driven discussion and dialogue between city staff, councillors and their constituents; Incorporate it as a mode of public engagement in the Participatory Budgeting process. You can learn more about my ideas on engaging residents in budget and development decisions here: http://www.thetelegram.com/opinion/letter-to-the-editor/2017/7/5/letter–a-path-to-better-decision-making.html
 
In your opinion, what are the three best decisions the outgoing Council has made, and why?
Investment in Food Security and Local Agriculture through the new St. John’s Farmers’ Market, as well as funding to kick-start community and heritage work the O’Brien Farm property; St. John’s Convention Centre Expansion – having a large convention centre that is centrally located in our downtown and well-equipped for the needs of modern conferences/meetings allows us to attract visitors to our city who stay in our hotels, shop in our small businesses, eat in our restaurants, and maybe even return for a second visit with their family; Investment in Park Revitalization by the last two councils: Victoria Park, Bannerman Park and Bowring Park
 
In your opinion, what are the three worst decisions the outgoing Council has made, and why?
Often, not making a decision, or not making progress on an important issue has as many negative consequences as making a poor decision. Indecision and inaction have consequences. The lack of modernization of the city’s development regulations based on an updated Municipal Plan is among the most disappointing by the outgoing council. We had an opportunity to chart a path forward and it was not taken; Delays in improvements to waste management: automated garbage/recycling collection, and delays of a composting program; The ‘Alt’ hotel on Water Street. Located in such an iconic St. John’s neighbourhood, the Alt Hotel does not fit with the heritage and character of the surrounding area.
 
Quick response questions! In 100 characters or less, what is your position on...
Creating a regional government
There is value in regionalization of services and that requires strong collaboration and leadership
Amalgamation with surrounding municipalities
Any conversation regarding amalgamation has to start with an understanding of the benefits and cost
Making City Council a full-time job
The current system disenfranchises women and young people, and favours more flexible work situations
The mail-in ballot system
The current system has benefits and challenges. We must continue to improve accessibility for voting
The new Municipal Plan
The new council elected in 2017 must have full opportunity to review, adapt and approve the Plan
Grants to community and arts organizations
Community and arts orgs add great value to our city and we must continue and this support
City employee salaries
We must balance fair and competitive salaries with oversight and scrutiny for all expenditures
Creating more bicycle infrastructure
We need cycle infrastructure that allows for safe and efficient travel in our neighbourhood and city
Increasing public transit service
Public transit must be a priority in designing our city and the day-to-day decisions of council
Corporate and union donations to candidates
I believe corporate and union donations should not be permitted in our democracy.
 
How often do you use the following ways to get to work or errands?
Walking: Almost everyday
Riding the bus: A few times a week
Biking: A few times a week
Driving: Almost everyday
 
Please rank the level of attention you think council should pay to each of these transportation modes in the coming term (1 = most important, 5 = least).
Other: The transportation needs of the city are complex and require systemic thinking to provide improvements on the ability to get people and goods around the city. Each of the four transportation modes and how they are integrated require attention.
 
What could the City government do to make St. John’s a healthier place to live?
There is a lot the City of St. John’s can do, and needs to do, to make St. John’s a healthier place to live. The decisions made at the Council table have a great impact on the health of its residents, especially on the ‘social determinants’ of health. Social determinants are factors that impact health that lie outside of how we typically think about health care. City Council has the ability to make decisions that improve the physical and mental health of its residents by: a) designing neighbourhoods that are walkable, for pleasure and to get around with trails, parks, and safe sidewalks; b) by building community centres and recreational facilities, such as ball fields; c) by investing in public transit, walking and cycling infrastructure d) by prioritizing sidewalk snow clearing so that our residents can move about the city 12 months of the year e) ensuring community spaces: parks, community centres, street corners, are accessible and safe places for everyone including children, women, newcomers to our city, etc. f) investing in affordable housing so everyone has a safe and stable place to live; and g) improving access to healthy foods by supporting community gardens, protecting agricultural land in our city, ensuring there are no areas of the city that lack a grocery store, etc. These are some of the ways in which the City can make St. John’s a healthier place to live. We must take into account the social determinants of health when making decisions and policies at City Hall.
 
What changes need to happen to have more diversity in age, gender, race, and life experience on Council?
Consideration of alternative voting systems, such as ranked ballot which forces candidates to speak to a wider and more diverse group of residents, and evens the playing field for those who are typically disenfranchised within politics such as young people, immigrants, and women. Timing of city council meetings: currently the main council meeting happens at supper time on a Monday for nearly every week of the year. Councillors are also expected to attend many community events, which take place in the evening. For councillors and the general public, a supper time meeting makes it less accessible. There should be tax incentives to donate to municipal candidates campaigns. This exists at the Federal and Provincial level, and should at the municipal level. This helps encourage donations from individuals, which helps level the playing field so that non-incumbents have a greater opportunity for electoral success. We need to make voting more accessible to students: Under provincial law, residents must be living in St. John’s for at least thirty days prior to election day in order to be eligible to vote. With the 2017 election date set for September 26th this means that anyone who wants to vote must have active residence in the city no later than the last week of August. We need to change the date of our municipal elections to later in the fall. This would allow more students – and other residents who arrive in September – to participate in our election. Additionally, there are actions we can take to improve student access to voter registration and to the ballot box. In the 2015 federal and provincial elections, on-campus ballot boxes at post-secondary institutions across Canada, successfully increased accessibility and resulted in higher voter engagement by students. Offering a polling station on campuses for municipal elections could increase voter engagement. If not an on-campus ballot box, the city could ensure access to polling stations through dedicated transit on election day. I have more to say about this on my website: http://www.ianfroude.ca/student_voting. There should also be more formal and informal mentorship programs, and more campaign schools, such as those organized by EqualVoice.