Jacquie’s Forum Opening Remarks

Good evening,  My name is Jacquie Hansen and I am running for City Council.  Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to be here tonight.

My reasons for running for city council are three fold:

I care deeply about this city and its future
I care deeply about the quality of leadership
I’d like to ensure that St. Albert is well represented in the region.

For 16 years I have been elected to local, regional and provincial boards.  I served 4 terms on St. Albert Catholic School board and chaired a provincial board for three years.  As chair and president of this provincial body, my main objective was to unite 61 public, separate and francophone boards on education issues that I could then directly advocate to government on.  This experience has been invaluable and has taught me about what makes a board effective and so I believe it has prepared me well for this office.

I also believe leadership matters. On Monday, we have the opportunity to bring new energy, optimism and new eyes to this city council.  From where I stand, I see a need to elect individuals that can put aside their egos, attack the issues (not the people) and make decisions based on the greater good of our community.  There will, no doubt, be hard decisions to make over the next four years but therein lies the heart of the job of council.  This kind of work requires a mindset that is collaborative, unified and respectful of the final corporate decision (whatever that decision may be).

Municipal issues will come and go (we’ve talked about many over the last few weeks) but at the end of the day, integrity, ethics and sound decision making come with respecting perspectives, governing with due care and listening to the people whom your decisions affect.  It can be done with the right processes in place and with a group of people who are willing to make it happen.

It’s an exciting time for St. Albert’s future.  On October 16, I respectfully ask for your vote.  Thank you.

-Closing Remarks-

St. Albert is a very special community with hard working, dedicated people who care.  That’s the community spirit that made us the number one place to live in Canada by Money Sense Magazine.

As we’ve heard tonight though, there are many issues on our radar.  Whether it’s housing, mental health, transportation or taxes – it’s all part of a bigger, integrated conversation about our future.

The fact is the St. Albert is a growing municipality in a growing region. Council decisions will need to be made within this context. With our neighbors growing too, how will we regionally position ourselves and protect our uniqueness at the same time?

I see the next four years as an opportunity for listening and learning, advocacy, regional conversations and outside the box thinking.

We do want to secure a healthy future. My vision is to safeguard the exceptional quality of life we enjoy in St. Albert today and in the future. Thank you.








Supporting the City’s Social Master Plan


Let’s talk about people.   St. Albert has over 68,000 people all with varying experiences and needs.  There isn’t one of us who hasn’t been thrown a curve ball that requires some sort of support.

I wanted to learn more, so  I did a little investigating to see how we support our good residents.  It’s a good news and bad news story but filled with hope.  Here’s a snapshot:

  • At any given time 1 in 5 people (little ones too) suffer from mental health issues.  Think about it next time you are driving around in your car, every 5th car you see represents a driver that is suffering.
  • There are also hungry people in our city, more than you know,  using our food bank.   There are more people unemployed and more people (particularly women)  fleeing domestic abuse since the economic downturn.  There is an increased number of  single parents (especially Moms) that cannot pay the bills let alone daycare costs.
  • Seniors are dealing with  increased fear of  isolation, the need for long term care, supportive living and affordable housing
  • St. Albert has no PLC – Did you know that St. Albert is the only city in Alberta of its size that does not have a Parent Link Centre – a support centre to help raise healthy families
  • We have an increased number of homeless people – many of whom are looking for a place to sleep each and every night. This number is growing… 32 in 2012, 89 in 2015.
  • Rental Assistance program, while generally a good program and with well intentions, it has eligibility issues… remember those single Mom’s I mentioned?

I could go on, but you get the idea… we have some challenges ahead of us for all kinds of reasons – reasons that are complex.  Of course we’re not alone – all communities face these challenges but that doesn’t make it any less real.   It’s how we respond that will set us apart.  Supporting people of all ages, of different cultures, of different sexual orientation, of different physical and mental needs is key.  It’s about valuing people and supporting them where they’re at.

That’s where the GOOD NEWS comes in:  The city has a Social Master Plan.   Spearheaded by Councillor Tim Osborne and others, it is a plan that I am very proud of.   Thankfully, we are addressing some of these issues a little bit at a time.

> “The Collective”- A safe haven where young people can be themselves, make some friends, learn how to be an entrepreneur, prepare for a job…..but it’s also a place where you can seek out counseling,  make positive decisions and learn about giving back.

> Cultural kitchen –  A collaborative initiative between FCSS and the St. Albert Food Bank that brings cultures together to meet and cook together.

> Our volunteerism went from 18,000 in 2011 to 25,745 in 2015

> St. Albert is building capacity with community working groups: for seniors, youth, families, new residents and temporary residential services

> The Red Willow Place is working toward supporting seniors directly.  In 2015, over 7500 meals on wheels were delivered, the 50+ bus took 1776 trips and almost 3500 seniors participated in outreach activities.

> Thankfully, St. Albert Stop Abuse in Families (SAIF) exists to provide free counseling for those suffering and fleeing domestic abuse

What’s next:  This plan is important and I support it’s implementation wholeheartedly.   Whether it’s advocating for funding at the provincial level or working with our municipal partners to make headway on social programs, it needs to remain a priority,  People are our most valuable asset.   If elected to council, I will advocate for the continual implementation of the Social Master Plan.  www.stalbert.ca



Small Town St. Albert

Small Town St. Albert


How do we keep our small town charm in an ever progressive and changing environment?

We hear it a lot…. One of the best things about St. Albert is that it’s small enough to know your neighbor but large enough that we don’t have to run into Edmonton for our every day needs.

For me, the small town feel is synonymous with quality of life. The quality of life is second to none, that’s why St. Albert is recognized as the best place in Canada to live by Money Sense Magazine. I’m really proud to live here because a community spirit exists that I haven’t seen anywhere else. It draws you in.

Indeed, quality of life in St. Albert didn’t happen by accident, all you have to do is go back to the beginning. Our roots in St. Albert stem directly from a strong pioneer spirit over 150 years ago.   Health and education, living off the land, building community, that’s how it happened over on the hill.

St. Albert is now at 72,000 and some would say it’s a perfect size, not too small, not too large. Our growth has been manageable and steady. Since moving here in 1995, it’s been exciting to see the landscape of the city change and grow and yet all the while, the small town feel remains the same.   That comes down to people.

St. Albert will continue to grow – and from my perspective that’s critical! It needs to grow in order to stay competitive and autonomous, otherwise we risk getting swallowed up by those growing around us. How we manage growth, protect our assets and maintain that friendly small town feel is the balance we must achieve going forward.

How will the next 20, 30, 40 years look for St. Albert as we continue to grow? What should be maintained and what needs to change and evolve?

Here is what some residents are telling me……

  • Focus on supporting business and be make it easy for new business start ups to set up shop – promote buying local
  • Twin Ray Gibbon Drive not just because of traffic congestion, but to invite business opportunities to the west side of the city
  • Create enough housing options to meet people where they’re at.
  • Transportation, get the LRT built
  • Look after our seniors. We owe it to them to provide a comfortable, affordable place to live that supports them at all phases of senior life.
  • Continue to provide programs that foster education, innovation, arts, culture and sports for all ages.
  • Park and Ride – please hurry up with this so that our university students can get to school without a hassle (number one issue for 20-25 year olds).
  • Consider the social needs of all our citizens and recognize that at any given time 1 in 5 people are suffering from mental health issues. Recognize that domestic violence and homelessness is on the rise, and that people from all parts of St. Albert use the food bank.
  • Support our environment – protect our natural spaces and waterway, eat local food, encourage local quality food sources (yes that even means support pilot programs like chicken coops and raising bees).
  • Resource our first responders so that we remain safe and secure at school, home and work.
  • Think outside the box when it comes to funding projects
  • Be leaders in innovation, stick with the Smart City approach
  • Traffic issues – where to start

At the end of the day, I heard people say:

Be forward thinking. Promote a culture of strong volunteerism and community spirit. Collaborate with neighbors, don’t infight.  Decisions made today will affect our future 20, 30 40 years down the road.   Respond to current and emerging needs of the city in a measured, thoughtful way. The new city council must make governance decisions with due care, weighing the pros and cons and by listening to all perspectives.

How to protect St. Albert’s small town feel? Keep the passion for the city alive. Listen to one another, learn from one another and have an open mind.