Edmonton Votes 2017: Safe streets a priority for culturally diverse Ward 3

Ward 3, in the northernmost tip of the city, is one of Edmonton's most culturally diverse areas, with about five per cent of the population speaking Arabic at home.

Incumbent Coun. Dave Loken facing off against four challengers in northside ward

Beaumaris Lake is located in Ward 3, a largely residential area of Edmonton. (Trevor Wilson/CBC)

Ward 3, in the northernmost tip of the city, is one of Edmonton's most culturally diverse areas, with about five per cent of the population speaking Arabic at home.

It's largely residential, and contains the greatest percentage of homeowners in the city, but it also has a thriving business community, particularly along 97th Street.

Shelly Amedi lives in Ward 4, but owns businesses in Ward 3. She says the demographics in Ward 3 are more amenable to running a business. 

"The people there, you have all sorts of income, you have all sorts of education, we've found," she said. "You have the youth and you also have the older generation. We found it was a perfect mix." 

Safety and security a 'priority'

But Amedi said crime is also a concern.

"We've noticed a lot of drug dealing, we've noticed a lot of after hours random cars in parking lots," said Amedi. "I think safety and family is going to be a priority in these elections for Ward 3."

The Castle Downs area was the community where police began investigating a possible "hate incident" earlier this year.

In June, Mohamed Rahall took to Facebook to report an alleged confrontation between a group of Muslim men and a group he described as "white individuals next to their trucks holding Confederate flags" at a Tim Hortons parking lot.

He said he intervened and called police.  The conflict broke up soon after but it it left Rahall feeling fearful.

"The threat is real," he wrote. "This is not just in the [United] States. Canada's hidden racism is becoming more exposed and more explicit."

But in a recent conversation with CBC, Rahall said the mood in the neighbourhood has calmed a bit since that day.

"Right after the incident, the Edmonton Police Service was really active in the north side in just making their presence known in that they're going be protecting the Muslim community," he said, adding that police came and spoke at the Al Rashid Mosque.

Mayor must call out racism

Rahall said that with a rising number of reported hate incidents in Alberta, he would like to see the next mayor stand up against racism.

"We want to hear them speak up, we want to know that they're there," he said. "I feel like there's a lot of political correctness, and there shouldn't be any worry about calling out racism."

2016 municipal census statistics

Population: 72,113

Eligible voters: 49,445

Owns home: 62%

Rents home: 17.2%

Lived in home five years or more: 40.3%

Mainly drives to work: 80.1%

Takes transit to work: 10%

Main language other than English: Arabic(4.8%)

Income under $30,000: 6%

Income $60,000 to $100,000: 13.7%

Children in preschool: 3.9%

Children from kindergarten to Grade 6: 5.9%

Interesting statistic: Ward 3 has the highest percentage of homeowners in the city (62%), although Ward 12 is a very close second (61.9%). It also has the highest percentage of people who drive to work (80.2%).

Neighbourhoods:: Kilkenny, Evansdale, Beaumaris, Dunluce, Canossa, Rapperswill, Baturyn, Lorelei, Eaux Claires, Belle Rive, Mayliewan, Ozerna, Lago Lindo, Klarvatten, Schonsee, Crystallina Nera, Chambery, Elsinore

Five candidates:  Jon Dziadyk, Dave Loken (incumbent) John (Giovanni) Oplanich, Karen Principe, Sarmad Rasheed

From left: Dave Loken, Jon Dziadyk, Sarmad Rasheed, Karen Principe, John (Giovanni) Oplanich (Ward map: City of Edmonton; candidate photos supplied)

CBC Edmonton's candidate survey responses:

Jon Dziadyk, 35has lived in Edmonton for 11 years

Family: married
Credentials: urban planner and military officer. Master's degree in urban planning, BA political science
Top issues: balance spending in the downtown area with investment for "ignored" north side, including roads, sidewalks, parks; deal with inefficient transit and city services like snow removal
City's biggest challenge: overspending in downtown while neglecting north side

Dave Loken, 52, has lived in Edmonton 52 years

Family: married, four children
Credentials: master's degree in conflict analysis and management from Royal Roads University
Top issues: Build LRT, add bus routes and more frequent service; revitalize roads and sidewalks in older neighbourhoods; address safety issues such as speeding in neighbourhoods, school zones, playground zones; more visible police presence to deter break-ins
City's biggest challenge: fast-growing city — need to address housing, services, traffic and transit

John (Giovanni) Oplanich - No response

Karen Principe, 48, has lived in Edmonton 19 years

Family: married, three teenage children
Credentials: dental hygienist
Top issues: create and support a wellness centre; improve infrastructure and transit,; eliminate wasteful spending to balance budget without raising taxes
City's biggest challenge: growth has put pressure on roads, hospitals, schools, police and fire rescue services

Sarmad Rasheed - No response

Ward 3 issues:

With files from the CBC's Natasha Riebe