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Forward progress: Stan Sandhu running for the Ward 5 seat at Calgary city hall

Stan Sandhu said he wants to move the communities of Ward 5 forward.

Sandhu was a northeast Calgary kid and after growing up here he didn’t want to turn his back on the area. While he’s a pricing actuary in the private sector by trade, Sandhu has spent the past four years working in the Ward 5 office with his predecessor, George Chahal.

“I just want to continue to build and move northeast Calgary forward and just build on the tremendous progress that I’ve had the opportunity of being a part of over the last four years,” Sandhu told LiveWire Calgary.

He said he’s been contacted by many community leaders in the area asking him to put his name forward for the job.

Over the past four years, he said he’s been a part of delivering positive change in parks and recreations, public safety and transportation to residents of northeast Calgary.

Top issue: Emerging from the pandemic

Sandhu said Calgary needs to focus on a strong recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

First, he said public safety around the fourth wave of the pandemic is crucial. Once that’s secure, he said the post-pandemic recovery must be a focus.

After the oil crash of 2014, Sandhu said it seemed like Calgary was finding its way through and then was hit by the pandemic. Then the geopolitics around oil sent it sinking further.

The impact was a hollowed-out downtown core, Sandhu said. It needs a fix. He said diversifying the economy should remain a priority, and incentivizing businesses to move downtown is key.

Sandhu said jobs and the economy are important issues for all Calgarians.

“I think that’s going to be a big focus of mine moving forward,” he said.

In Ward 5, continuing to improve the equity in services is a big issue, Sandhu said.

He said, in particular, there’s a correlation between access to recreation and other services and public safety.

“We want to keep our community safe, and we want to give our youth opportunities – and opportunities of staying away from gang violence,” Sandhu said.

There are a lot of northeast Calgary residents who play field hockey and cricket. He said the area has a lot of green space and they need to work at repurposing some of the fields in Ward 5 to allow for more of these opportunities.

Green Line rhetoric / Arena deal

Sandhu said government often gets in its own way, particularly on the Green Line.

“There’s been so much rhetoric from all levels of government on projects like this,” he said.  

“We need to reduce red tape and we need to invest in Calgarians, and I think some of the some of the issues we’ve had with the Green Line over the past few years has really been governments.”

While Sandhu is a firm believer in LRT expansion and does support the Green Line, he said the city needs to look at where the growth and need for services exists. He’d like to see a further extension of the Blue Line in the northeast.

Sandhu said LRT service needs to be built in areas that will see the most benefit.

As far as the Events Centre goes, Sandhu said he’s not against having a new one.

“I think the way the deal came together, I don’t think it was the best deal for taxpayers and the residents,” he said.

It’s deals like these where he said his background in finance would play a strong role for the City of Calgary.

“At the end of the day, we need to invest where we get a good return for taxpayers,” Sandhu said.

“I did see a lot of red flags with the revamped deal when negotiations were transpiring. And I did bring them up to the attention of administration behind the scenes. I wasn’t happy with the terms of the deal.”

Development and public safety

Sandhu said Calgary’s had some issues with gun violence in the past several years. He was a big proponent of the Public Safety Task Force that was initiated by Coun. George Chahal in the prior term.

He said that they need to continue to bring people together for responsible conversations, not continuing the rhetoric.

“The end goal is a safer community,” Sandhu said. They’ll continue to work with the Calgary police to make that happen.

Sandhu said the Calgary police are a big part of having a safe community in Calgary. He would continue to work with them and other stakeholders – including non-profits – to build safer communities.

Sandhu said the city needs to make responsible, sustainable decisions on development moving forward.  He said the city must focus on transit-oriented development.

On fluoride, Sandhu said Calgarians must make this decision. There’s a lot of data out there on the fluoride debate. He’s a data-driven guy.

“I’m confident that the decision Calgarians make will be the right decision,” he said.

Track record

Sandhu said the track record of his time with George Chahal’s office speaks for itself.

Their work on public safety and the new infrastructure for the ward is just the beginning. That’s work he hopes to continue if elected in Ward 5.

“I will continue to deliver positive changes for northeast Calgary and Ward 5, and will continue to move, Ward 5 forward and make sure that nobody in northeast Calgary is left behind in this post-pandemic recovery,” Sandhu said.