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Jamie Finn

1424
3

I’m a lifelong resident of the Goulds; my family have been residents of Kilbride and the Goulds for generations. I’ve been an active community volunteer for over a decade with the Goulds Lions Club where I have served in a variety of leadership roles including President. My education includes a Bachelor of Arts with a major in History and minor in Geography which I received from Memorial University in 2007. I returned to Memorial to complete a Bachelor of Education degree in 2011 and I have worked in the education field as a teacher ever since. I have grown up in Ward 5 and I have seen it change and grow. I am looking forward to hearing residents concerns and hope to work together to make it a better place to live now and into the future.

Contact Information

Survey Responses

What is your full name?
Jamie Finn
 
What role are you running for? If it's a ward councillor position, please specify which ward.
Ward 5
 
If you are currently on council, or have served previously, how many years in total have you served?
No, this is my first time seeking election.
 
Why did you decide to run for office?
I’ve been a community volunteer for over 15 years so I’ve always been community minded. Through my volunteer work I get to see the great work community groups and members have done to improve our communities every day. It is through this that I have been inspired to run for St. John’s City Council. I would like to have the opportunity to work with the people of the ward and the rest of Council to make our ward a better place to live. I want to give our communities a strong voice on council. Running for office has always been something I had considered doing at some point in my life. With the all the changes happening in the province and city currently, I wanted to be a part of that change.
 
What do you think makes St. John's unique or special?
Its history. Being a city that has developed over a period of 500 years lends to its uniqueness. Though this does present its challenges when it comes to the city’s lay out it gives the city its charm that makes it loved. I also like that the city has developed communities within the city, which can be seen throughout Ward 5 with Goulds, Shea Heights, Fort Amherst etc.
 
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?
I am currently a substitute teacher with the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District but if elected I would make Council my number one focus. While I would continue to substitute as I enjoy teaching, council responsibilities and the people of the ward will come first.
 
What changes or initiatives would you advocate for at Council?
Transparency. I don’t like the idea of Council holding closed door meetings. I believe that more decisions need to be debated in a public manner. I would also push for a value for dollar assessment on spending rather than a simple balancing of the books. I would advocate for the city and councillors to continue to work on the the way that they engage and interact with the citizens of St. John’s.
 
What, to you, is the most important kind of decision City Council makes?
All decisions made by City Council affect people in their day to day lives in some way or another. Tough choices have to be made in the council chamber so it’s imperative that Councillors need to make informed decisions so that at the end of the day they can live with those choices. With that being said some of the most important decisions that take place in the council chamber deals with budgeting. People know that taxes are a necessity and that they are not going anywhere but what most people want is for Council to make informed decisions and be able to back up those choices. Financial decisions affect people’s lives perhaps more so now then they have at previous times in the last decade. The province is currently going through tough economic times so decisions based around money need to be well thought out and for the long term benefit of our city and its people.
 
Questions for ward councillors...
Do you live in the Ward?
Yes I have lived in the Ward my entire life (33 years) and intend on staying within the Ward well into the future.
 
If you had a whole day off to spend in your ward relaxing, what would you do?
I’d start the day off by riding my mountain bike either to explore the many farm roads behind the Goulds or ride to Bowring Park through Waterford Valley Trail to visit Fort Amherst. For supper I’d stop by Good Water Sea Foods or Bidgoods supermarket and I’d end the day by taking a drive to Blackhead and Cape Spear and hopefully see some evening whale watching.
 
What could Council do to make your ward a better place?
1) Improved infrastructure such as water as a large number of residents within Ward 5 currently lack this service.
2) Sidewalks – This is an area of concern that has been raised by a number of people through conversations I have had, especially in school zones and areas that are frequently used by youth.
3) Improvement in fire service to make sure that as the ward grows response time will be at an acceptable level.
4) Traffic control has also been a major concern in a number of areas of Ward 5.
5) Many residents would like to see traffic calming measures implemented. Council needs to do a better job engaging with the citizens of Ward 5 and putting their input into action.
 
Have you been out canvassing in the ward? If so, what are the priorities you’re hearing most loudly?
Traffic safety, water and sewer, a better relationship with the city, a strong voice on council, waste management, as well as more recreational opportunities for children and better communication between citizens and the members of council.
 
Increasing density and mixed uses are priorities in the new municipal plan. Where would you like to see more density in your ward?
Ward 5 needs to increase density in a number of areas, one of these areas would be Goulds. A high density in the area would make it more viable to connect residents who are currently living without water and sewer to the service. Higher density would also do this for improving other infrastructure such as sidewalks. The city also need to look at making communities self sustaining and accessible when it comes to services, amenities, and walkability.
 
How do you think your ward will change during the next Council term?
There is still development in Southlands, Brookfield Plains, and Kilbride and with the further development of Galway the population of the Ward is set to rise which of course is going to create a larger demand for services and amenities. I would hope that as Councillor for Ward 5 I could help facilitate these changes and increase public engagement within the ward.
 
What would you like to see included in the new Regional Plan?
Regional public transportation, water resource protection, an increase in recreation opportunities. With Newfoundland having the highest rates of obesity and diabetes in the country the Northeast Avalon can play an important role in helping Newfoundlanders lead healthy and active lifestyles, which in the long run will help save the provincial health care system millions of dollars. A regional development plan would also play an important role in deciding what future areas are to be developed and what areas should be protected. A clear regional plan would also help facilitate developments when they border on other municipalities in the region such as Galway bordering on Mount Pearl.
 
What, if anything, would you want done to establish better communications between citizens and developers before development is proposed?
It’s important that citizens are made aware of future development. Every effort should be made to have a public forum on major developments so residents can voice their concerns or approvals. However efforts need to be made to make sure people attend these forums and fill the seats. This is where the city needs to continue with their efforts to engage citizens and get them involved and interested in what is happening in their community.
 
How would you use the Engage! process and system?
Engage is a great tool to help Councillors stay in touch with city residents. It is vital that Councillors know the feelings and concerns of their constituents and while Engage can play an important role in doing this it should not be relied on completely. I feel that it is still very important for Councillors to get out and interact with their constituents on a personal level.
 
In your opinion, what are the three best decisions the outgoing Council has made, and why?
1)The creation of the St. John’s Community Action Group on Fentanyl. This was an important step in dealing with this serious problem. Though I feel it took too long for the city and province to take action and also that more work will need to be done. It is however a positive step in the right direction.
2) The improvements to Bowering, Bannerman and Victoria parks as well as work on recreation facilities like the Paul Reynolds Centre.
3)The efforts to be more engaging with city’s residents though Engage St.John’s.
 
In your opinion, what are the three worst decisions the outgoing Council has made, and why?
1)The 2014 budget, in particular council’s initial attempt to remove the mill-rate reduction for residents without water and sewer services. Not only did this go against the city’s taxation act it also showed a lack of understanding of the costs and the inconvenience faced by those without water service.
2)Taking away bulk garbage pick up. Not everyone has the ability to get to the dump or even if they do, many can’t make it based on the hours of operation. I’m glad to see that Council has reconsidered this decision.
3)Handling of heritage properties such as the Richmond and Baird Cottages.
 
Quick response questions! In 100 characters or less, what is your position on...
Creating a regional government
Would allow for communities to pool resources and create a development plan for the region.
Amalgamation with surrounding municipalities
I’m open to the idea only if beneficial to the parties involved and is a financially sound decision.
Making City Council a full-time job
Council is my #1 one priority. I would substitute teach when I could as I enjoy working with youth.
The mail-in ballot system
Needs to be improved upon to make sure that all citizens have an equal opportunity to vote.
The new Municipal Plan
Long overdue. It should hopefully put the city’s future development on track.
Grants to community and arts organizations
They are indispensable parts of our city and should be supported in a fiscally responsible way.
City employee salaries
Should be fair and competitive so we get value for tax dollars. Oversight for unneeded increases.
Creating more bicycle infrastructure
Would help foster an active lifestyle. Needs to be economically responsible in its implementation.
Increasing public transit service
Needs to be functional, needs increased ridership to make this happen. More Park and Ride options.
Corporate and union donations to candidates
I do not think that candidates should be able to accept donations from corporations or unions.
 
How often do you use the following ways to get to work or errands?
Walking: Once a week
Riding the bus: Never
Biking: Once 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).
1. Public transit
2. Cycling
3. Driving
4. Walking
Other: All of these systems need a great deal of attention but of the four systems I feel like public transit and cycling need the most improvement. It is hard to do justice to these topics with a ranking system.
 
What could the City government do to make St. John’s a healthier place to live?
Continue to invest in the recreation system and trailways that are already in place, while looking to improve and expand access in areas that lack recreation facilities. As I have previously said, Newfoundland and Labrador falls behind many provinces when it comes to health and fitness, so investment in healthy lifestyles will not only benefit the people of St. John’s but the Province as a whole when it comes to saving money in the healthcare system.
 
What changes need to happen to have more diversity in age, gender, race, and life experience on Council?
Council needs to keep improving with how they engage with the public. A transparent and engaging municipal government will allow people to become more involved in the political process and this may lead to more people stepping up to take on a leadership role.