Edmonton Votes 2017: Transit woes and hopes are key issues for Ward 2

Ward 2 is in northwest Edmonton and there are more than 53,000 eligible voters in the ward.

Several challengers seek to replace incumbent Coun. Bev Esslinger in the Ward 2 race

The Metro Line, which runs through Ward 2, was plagued by signalling problems that prevented it running at full capacity. (CBC)

Edmonton's Ward 2 encompasses the northwestern-most corner of the city, stretching from Kingsway Mall in the southeast over to St. Albert/Mark Messier Trail, and up to the north leg of the Henday.

The area is home to both NAIT and the former site of Edmonton's municipal airport, set to be transformed into a new, sustainable community called Blatchford.

Transit will be a key election issue. Ward 2 has a troubled, yet optimistic, relationship with LRT. Delays and signalling issues plagued the Metro Line LRT, which is still not running as intended.

Mayor Don Iveson has admitted the troubles have cast some doubt on the city's management.

"I don't think we have a huge public-relations challenge here with desire to use the system," Iveson said. "I think people's confidence is more in question about the city's ability to manage projects. And I don't think council is done asking tough questions about that."

Meanwhile, a renewed battle is brewing over the extension of the line into the northwest to Blatchford. Two of the three candidates running for the seat say the northwest LRT expansion will be a top priority for them as councillor.

2016 municipal census statistics

Population: 74,211

Eligible voters: 53,404

Owns home: 46.2%

Rents home: 33%

Lived in home five years or more: 34%

Mainly drives to work: 74%

Takes transit to work: 11.3%

Main language other than English: Arabic and Tagalog (each 2.6%)

Income under $30,000: 9.2%

Income $60,000 to $100,000: 12%

Children in preschool: 4.1%

Children from kindergarten to Grade 6: 5.4%

Neighbourhoods: Prince Charles, Inglewood, Woodcroft, Prince Rupert, Sherbrooke, Dovercourt, Athlone, Calder, Lauderdale, Rosslyn, Kensington, Wellington, Griesbach, Carlisle, Baranow, Caernarvon, Pembia, Hudson, Cumberland, Carlton, Blatchford  

Three candidates: Bev Esslinger (incumbent), Ali Haymour, Shelly Tupper

From left: Shelley Tupper, Ali Haymour and Bev Esslinger (Ward map: City of Edmonton; candidate photos supplied)

CBC Edmonton's candidate survey responses:
 

Bev Esslinger, 59, has lived in Edmonton for 36 years

Family: married with two children, two grandchildren
Credentials: pursuing a master's degree in leadership
Top issues: public and transit safety; continue to develop gender-based violence prevention; build northwest LRT and northwest seniors centre.
City's biggest challenge: growth — balancing new infrastructure such as roads, fire halls, recreation centres within a limited budget. And more housing.

Ali Haymour -  No response

Shelly Tupper, 57,has lived in Edmonton for 39 years

Family: single
Credentials: retired federal government employee, NAIT accounting grad
Top issues: city should be conservative with property taxes; maintain character of mature neighbourhoods; safer, more reliable transit
City's biggest challenge: city growth and the role of infill
 

Ward 2 issues:

With files from the CBC's Natasha Riebe