Incumbent Caterina faces strong election challenges in northeast Edmonton ward

Ward 9 is up for grabs after Bryan Anderson decided to pack it in after nearly two decades on council.

And southwest ward vacated by Bryan Anderson faces series of challenges linked to exploding growth

Edmonton city councillor Tony Caterina. shown here during the 2015 provincial election, is seeking a fourth term on council. (CBC )

Last week, I looked at the councillor races in wards 1 through 6. This week's column focuses on the remaining six wards.

Incumbents are running for re-election in nearly all of these wards. Ward 9 is up for grabs after Bryan Anderson decided to pack it in after nearly two decades on council.

Ward 7

Ward 7 faces a number of issues, including crime and safety, vacant and derelict properties along 118th Avenue, the pending closure of the Edmonton Coliseum and future of the Northlands site.

First elected in 2007, incumbent Tony Caterina is seeking his fourth term on council. He also ran for the Progressive Conservatives in the riding of Beverly-Clareview in the May 2015 provincial election.

Caterina is facing a strong challenge fromKris Andreychuk and Mimi Williams.

Andreychuk is the city's supervisor of public safety. He knows how city hall works and has plenty of experience working with community groups in the ward. He also has political experience having been the constituency office manager for former NDP MLA Ray Martin from 2004 to 2008.

Williams is making her fifth run for a seat on council. She is a well-known community activist and freelance journalist who has the endorsement of the Edmonton and District Labour Council. Andreychuk and Williams have both criticized council's decision to close the Coliseum on Dec. 31 without first having a plan for what happens next.

Ward 7 is going to be an interesting race to watch. In the 2013 municipal election, Caterina received 6,064 votes; Dave Colburn 4,892 and Williams 1,770. With Andreychuk coming from the moderate centre-left and Williams from the left, I can see them splitting the progressive vote once again which would allow Caterina to come up the middle to win a fourth term.  

Ward 8

Currently represented by Ben Henderson, this ward has traditionally elected progressive politicians. The area's current MLA is NDP Premier Rachel Notley; and the NDP's Linda Duncan is the member of parliament.

I believe it is fair to say that Henderson is the most left-wing member of the current council. First elected in 2007, he is seeking a fourth term on council.

The high-density Mezzo and Southpark on Whyte projects, plus the proposed development in Holyrood Gardens, have been controversial.

Traffic congestion on Whyte Avenue, transit and lot-splitting for infill development are also issues for Ward 8 voters.

Henderson is an experienced councillor with a base of support. But he is facing a strong challenge from two centre-left candidates.

James Kosowanis a social studies teacher and a long-time volunteer with the Bonnie Doon Community League. He has political experience at city hall and has been an active New Democrat for years. Kosowan has been door-knocking for months and is running a strong campaign.

Kirsten Goa also has political experience, having worked in Notley's constituency office. Goa also has some municipal experience as the co-chair of a city advisory committee on public engagement. My assessment is that Kosowan is going to make the race in Ward 8 very close between him and Henderson.

Ward 9

The southwest ward is vacant after having been ably represented by Bryan Anderson for 19 years.

The ward's exploding growth is driving a number of issues, primarily traffic congestion on Terwillegar Drive and the southwest leg of Anthony Henday Drive. Other issues include the need for bus rapid transit and criticism of bike lanes and photo radar.

(Left to right) Sandy Pon, Parman Parseyan, Mark Hope, Tim Cartmell and Rob Agostinis are running for the Ward 9 seat on council. Long-time councillor Bryan Anderson is retiring after 19 years on council. (CBC)

My focus will be on the three candidates who have the best chance of winning. Tim Cartmell is an engineer and a small business owner. He is also president of the Terwillegar Riverbend Advisory Council. Cartmell is focusing his campaign on transportation issues facing the ward. He has the endorsement of outgoing councillor Anderson, former Progressive Conservative MLA and premier Dave Hancock, and former city councillor Pat Mackenzie.

Rob Agostinis is a physician who now teaches at the University of Alberta. He is very active in the Terwillegar community and has the endorsement of the Edmonton and District Labour Council, which may or may not be helpful in the most affluent ward in the city. Agostinis is concentrating his campaign on the need to enhance public engagement  and improve transportation and transit.

Sandy Pon is a well-known real estate agent who has lived in the ward for 25 years. She is the president of the Terwillegar Hill Estates Homeowners Association. Pon is focusing her campaign on community safety and transportation issues.

My assessment is that this is mainly a race between Cartmell and Agostinis.

Having the backing of the ward's political establishment may give Cartmell the edge.

Ward 10

The Ward 10 incumbent, Michael Walters, has proven to be a capable and hardworking councillor in his first term.

His interests (LRT expansion, encouraging infill and better bike lane infrastructure) are compatible with those of Mayor Don Iveson, who is also seeking re-election.

Iveson went doorknocking with Walters late last month. The mayor did the same thing with Dave Loken, the incumbent councillor who is running again in Ward 3.

Walters is facing a challenge from two strong candidates. Vieri Berretti is a businessman focusing his campaign on infill and the possible development of surplus school sites.

Splitting lots to accommodate infill is a particularly hot issue in communities like Westbrook Estates. Turning surplus school sites currently used as neighbourhood parks into housing developments has been a controversial issue in this ward for many years

Sim Senol is another candidate who I am watching. She is focusing her campaign on smart densification and a progressive transit strategy.

I expect that Walters will be re-elected on Oct.16.

Ward 11

This southeast Edmonton ward is currently represented by Mike Nickel, who is seeking another term on council. Nickel had previously served one term on council in what was then Ward 5 until he was defeated by a political rookie named Don Iveson in the upset of the 2007 election.

Nickel was a businessman before he entered politics and has made a name for himself on council as a fiscal conservative. This time Nickel faces a challenge from several strong candidates.

Brandy Burdeniuk is an entrepreneur and a community volunteer in Hazeldean. Troy Pavlek is a software developer and president of the Hazeldean Community League.

Keren Tang Is a provincial public servant and president of the Edmonton Multicultural Coalition.

Construction of the Valley LRT line and its future impact on traffic is a key issue in Ward 11.

Nickel is a hard-working councillor who prides himself on holding city administration to account. I expect him to be re-elected to another term.

Ward 12

Moe Banga, the ward's current councillor, was elected in the February 2016 by-election held after Amarjeet Sohi left council to become a Liberal MP and cabinet minister.

Council's decision to allow ride-hailing company Uber to operate in Edmonton and compete with taxi companies is still controversial within the ward's South Asian community.

Banga faces two candidates with political experience. Nigel Logan has run political campaigns and worked as the constituency office manager for Denise Woollard, the NDP MLA from Edmonton Mill Creek.

Jo-Anne Wright works in the legislative assembly office and is a long-time volunteer with the Meadows Community League.

I expect Banga to be re-elected in Ward 12.

.Next week I will look at the highs and the lows of the campaign and what to watch for on election night.

About the Author

John Brennan


John Brennan is a political scientist who has served as a strategic adviser/executive assistant to two Edmonton mayors, Don Iveson and Jan Reimer, and as a senior special assistant/deputy chief of staff to a federal cabinet minister. A participant and observer of politics in Edmonton for more than 30 years, Brennan will provide insight about the Edmonton municipal election throughout the campaign.