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Stop the sprawl: Tudor Dinca vies for Ward 5 seat at Calgary city hall

Tudor Dinca first ran in Ward 5 in 2017.

At that time, he said he raised issues about service delivery in the northeast, a Blue Line LRT extension and the negative impact urban sprawl has on Calgary.

Dinca, who came to Calgary from Romania at the age of 13, said he wanted to wait to see if there were any updates on these things from outgoing councillor George Chahal.

Six months out, Dinca said he hadn’t heard anything new on these files. It was time for him to jump into the race for Ward 5.

“I already did door knocking for two-and-a-half months prior to his announcement,” Dinca said.

“I was already doing my research, writing up the blog posts, reaching out to people and letting them know that ‘hey, I’ll be running again for city council.’”

Combating urban sprawl

Dinca said in 2017, he was one of the only candidates who said that he wouldn’t approve any new communities on Calgary’s outer edge.

That’s still the way he feels today.

“If you ever look at satellite pictures from 1999 for Calgary compared to 2020, the growth is remarkable,” he said.

“The issue is we keep stretching ourselves and we keep stretching our taxpayer base. With some exceptions, we keep building neighbourhoods that are single-family homes.”

Dinca said that has a trickle-down effect.  It means tax dollars are stretched to service those areas.

“As a consequence, we’re going to have to increase property taxes. This is why a number of people have seen their property taxes go up. The city needs to provide all of these public services while having a thinning out of their tax base,” Dinca said.

He said much of the suburban construction is the result of Calgary’s boom/bust cycle. Dinca said if the city doesn’t see another boom for another five to 10 years, the costs of delivering services to an expanding city jump.

“That’s why I think we need to really draw a line with our urban sprawl,” he said.

Ward 5 – public transportation / Green, Blue lines

For Ward 5, public transportation is a top issue, Dinca said. He said the diversity of citizens, and their socioeconomic status, means that public transit is a lifeline for many.

“These are the communities that cannot afford a second car. They need public transport to help them get to their jobs to help them integrate to be able to move around to their essential services,” Dinca said.

 Dinca didn’t indicate if he was for or against Calgary’s Green Line. He did say that the city had initially forecast $4.5 billion for a much longer line. Now, it’s $5.5 billion and significantly truncated.

He believes the extension of the Blue Line (northeast) would provide much better value to riders that need it.  

Dinca also said that when you compare how Calgary does transit projects versus other areas of the world, you see that here neighbourhoods and infrastructure gets built. Then, years later, they try to wedge transit into those areas. The Green Line is an example of that.

“As you build the roads and other public transportation, there’s no conflict. At the very least, there’s minimal additional cost that comes to it,” he said.

“We don’t do this right, we just, we just approve houses and roads, we get the density, then maybe we think about public transportation.”

Event Centre / Calgary police funding

Dinca said he wasn’t too crazy about the most recent arena deal, upping the city’s cash into the new Event Centre.

The only silver lining, he said, was that the Calgary Flames owners would be on the hook for any further cost overruns. He preferred the original agreement, which saw a 1/3 split between the city, the Flames and event taxes.

“I like that better because it was a smaller portion from the public,” Dinca said.

What it comes down to, however, is to what extent Calgarians should be on the hook for a piece of private infrastructure they may never use.

“I say this because I am getting people at the door who are telling me, ‘why are my taxes going to this project downtown that I’m not going to use because I live so far,’” he said. Then, Dinca tied the accessibility to transit infrastructure.

Dinca wouldn’t like to see anything cut from the Calgary police budget. He said it’s increasingly difficult for the Calgary police to cover the city as it continues to expand.

There’s definitely a conversation to be had around reallocation, he said. Dinca said it makes sense to direct funding to certain organizations that can assist the police so their direct involvement isn’t needed.

Fluoride and why he thinks he’s the right candidate

Dinca said he’s been getting emails about the fluoride question coming on Calgary’s municipal ballot.

He said right now, his default position is that he wouldn’t want it to be reintroduced. He thinks the city should expand the scope of its examination to other countries. Find out why many cities don’t add fluoride to the water. 

“What I will bring to city council is an approach where I’m going to try to present models and solutions from outside of our North American bubble,” Dinca said.

It’s that international knowledge he has that’s a factor in why he feels like the best candidate to represent Ward 5.

He said voters can expect a councillor that dives deep into issues. He wants to find the best way for Calgary to move forward.  Dinca said Calgary needs a new vision.

“I think we need to start a new stage in our city’s history. That history needs to take a broader look on where it is in the world and how we can modernize it as a cosmopolitan city,” Dinca said.