For GEF Seniors Housing, the Edmonton Municipal Election started on September 12, 2017, when 25 of the candidates for City Council met with members of the Board of Directors and Seniors Management team over breakfast at McQueen Place. After CEO Raymond Swonek’s presentation provided an overview as to who GEF Seniors Housing is and how the Foundation adds value to communities, the candidates asked engaging questions and expressed their support for the Foundation’s mission.

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GEF Seniors Housing CEO Raymond Swonek presenting at the candidate breakfast.
In the weeks following the breakfast meeting, the candidates took to visiting GEF Seniors Housing’s buildings all throughout the city, totalling well over thirty formal visits through eight Wards. Some of the visits were even formatted as full panel discussions with a range of different candidates all running in the same Ward, sharing their platforms and answering questions.

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Ward 6 incumbent Scott McKeen speaking as part of a panel at Ansgar Villa.
Through many of the meetings, there was a clear support for addressing several issues faced around seniors and social housing. As the new Edmonton City Council takes shape, GEF Seniors Housing is excited to continue its working relationship with the City of Edmonton and is looking forward to seeing what new opportunities arise from strong collaboration.

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Ward 8 incumbent Ben Henderson speaking to tenants at Knox-Met Manor.
Thank you to all the candidates who ran during this election for your visits to GEF Seniors Housing buildings. The conversations brought to light many of the issues seniors face every day and helped spur a lot of creative ideas to help improve the quality of life for seniors in Edmonton.

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Ward 7 candidate Miranda Jimmy speaking to a resident at Meadowlark Place.
Congratulations to Mayor Don Iveson on a successful campaign to be re-elected. We’re looking forward to your second term as Edmonton’s Mayor.

Congratulations to all of the incumbent City Councillors taking your seats once again for another four years in office. We’re looking forward to continuing our strong relationships in your communities.

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Ward 8 candidate Eli Schrader speaks with tenants at Knox-Met Manor.
Lastly, congratulations to the new City Councillors: Jon Dziadyk (Ward 3), Aaron Pacquette (Ward 4), Sarah Hamilton (Ward 5), and Tim Cartmell (Ward 9). We’re looking forward to working with you on new projects and helping to make sure no senior ever has to worry about where they will call home.

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Ward 7 candidate Mimi Williams visiting Virginia Park Lodge.
With new capital projects moving forward such as Sakaw Terrace, Elmwood Terrace, and the redevelopment of Strathcona Place, GEF Seniors Housing knows it has allies in Edmonton’s City Council, sharing a vision of accessible and affordable housing options for everyone.

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Mayoral candidate Fahad Mughal speaking to residents at Pleasantview Place.

On September 12, 2017, members of the GEF Seniors Housing Board of Directors and Senior Management team met with candidates from all 12 Wards for Edmonton City Council and for the Mayoral position. The event was held at McQueen Place and hosted by GEF Seniors Housing Board Chair Karen Lynch. It featured a breakfast prepared by McQueen Place’s Chef Lynn Hunting, a presentation from CEO Raymond Swonek, and concluded with a question and answer session where the candidates shared their thoughts on seniors housing issues.

In total, 25 candidates joined GEF Seniors Housing to learn more about the Foundation’s mission and vision and why supporting affordable seniors housing options in Edmonton is so important. “All of the candidates were completely engaged with the presentation,” says Swonek. “They agreed with our principles and were ready to continue supporting both the continued operations of our current buildings and new capital projects around the city.”

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Swonek explains that the questions from the city council candidates mostly revolved around new capital projects. They were curious about the steps taken to start new building projects and what it would entail for a new project to be built in wards where GEF Seniors Housing currently do not have buildings. For Swonek, this line of questioning is a good sign for what’s to come.

“What these questions tell me is that they want to see more affordable seniors housing options being built,” says Swonek. “They understand the facts around seniors and social housing issues, they agree with our approach to start solving some of these issues, and they want to see us continue the work that started almost sixty years ago when GEF Seniors Housing was first established.”

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The candidates who attended the breakfast are in the midst of scheduling times to continue the conversation by visiting GEF Seniors Housing buildings in their wards. They will be able to connect with residents to hear about their concerns for the new City Council. In total, GEF Seniors Housing has a presence in eight of the 12 wards and candidates from all areas are working to share ideas directly with members of the community.

“We’re thrilled that so many of the candidates see eye to eye with what we’re trying to do as an organization,” says Swonek. “I’m looking forward to this election and working with the new City Council on future GEF Seniors Housing projects.”

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