Current Occupation: Consultant/Entrepreneur, and current CEO of Creative City Centre (but have trained talented young people who are taking over from me no matter what happens October 24th)
Voter Information: www.mariandonnelly.com, Campaign HQ Tel: 306.352.2577, Email: [email protected]
I was born and raised in Regina, but have also worked and lived in Winnipeg, Vancouver and Toronto. My background is the music industry (the business side, not the music side). I’ve been an entrepreneur most of my life, but moved back to Regina in 1996 to work as Executive Director of a non-profit industry association, now called SaskMusic. I also worked as General Manager of Globe Theatre for a few years and as a consultant to the provincial Department of Culture, Youth and Recreation. Since 2005, I’ve been self employed again, doing strategic planning work for organizations and communities. I went back to school when I was 48 and earned a Masters Degree in Business Administration. I also teach a class in the Faculty of Business Admin at the University of Regina. For the last 4 years, my focus was on renovating and establishing the Creative City Centre, which has now been up and running since May 2011. I have a 25 year old son named Matt, and there are 42 people in my immediate family. That’s not a typo.
QUESTION AND ANSWER
1. Briefly, why are you running for council?
When Pat Fiacco announced he wasn’t running, and immediately endorsed Michael Fougere as his replacement, I decided to step up. I encourage my students at the University to get involved, through volunteering or advocacy or some kind of civic engagement. I didn’t think I could preach that without practicing it. I believe in leading by example, and if we want to encourage young people to get engaged in politics, especially young women, then we need some positive role models. I thought I had a good shot at giving Mr. Fougere a serious run for the job, because I have the right combination of education, intelligence, leadership skills, compassion for others, and vision for our city.
2. What is the single most pressing issue facing Regina? How would you solve it?
I think many of our “pressing issues” like housing and infrastructure, economic development, even the stadium issue, can fall under the broader topic of “managing the growth of our city”. I think that could be our most pressing issue…the growth of the city has resulted in the housing shortage, the demands on our infrastructure, the traffic jams in the east and northwest ends of the city, the growing split between the people who enjoy prosperity and the people who don’t. I think we need to take a long term, big picture approach to our city’s growth and start being pro-active, instead of reactive, in all of these areas. There are a number of plans that the City’s administration have been working on for the last few years, covering traffic flow, transit, the downtown, housing, the official community plan and so on. From what I’ve seen, these are good documents that provide an excellent starting point. Now we need to put all of these plans on the table and figure out the best way to start moving forward that makes the most sense for the community, for thoughtful, progressive change as we continue to grow in size and numbers. Having said all of that, the biggest problem facing every city in Canada is the low percentage of tax revenues that come to municipalities. So…working with other municipalities and continuing to focus on the right ways to put pressure on the federal and provincial governments for an increased share of tax revenues flowing to the municipal level would also be a big priority.
3. Beyond immediate concerns like housing, the stadium and infrastructure renewal, what “big idea” project do you want to work on that nobody seems to be talking about?
There are a few things I think need to happen right away, that may not be “big” ideas, but that I think could help set the tone for the next four years. First, inspiring a new sense of engagement and civic pride among employees at the city will help us get all of those plans implemented and moving in the right direction with some level of excitement for the future. There are some good people working at the city, we need them to feel empowered to make change, to take some bold steps to get things working better. Secondly, I think what’s happening in North Central and the Heritage Neighborhood needs to be addressed immediately. I would like to see a Block By Block Neighborhood Improvement Program started right away. I want to see what resources those two community associations have, and what they need to start making a difference in their respective areas. The Neighborhood Plan for the Core (now Heritage) area was finished in 2009 and has some great ideas for community building that have not yet been realized because this report has never been given any teeth. Our First Nations and Métis citizens must be part of the growth of the city; they must be active participants in our economy, in our community in general. Training, education, micro-financing, job creation, cultural tourism, whatever opportunities we can help facilitate and develop, we need to get moving on them. Bigger ideas? I’m looking forward to beginning the dialogue around developing Regina as part of an economic region, engaging the RM of Sherwood and neighboring communities in discussions about how we can work together better.
4. Name something the last council got right.
The Downtown Plan….a great example of community engagement, and forward thinking…but not so sure that council had anything to do with that.
5. Now, point out their biggest mistake.
The Downtown Plan…taking 3 years to approve this is not acceptable. Allowing the cost overruns on the Plaza Project to continue…approving the import of paving stones from Germany instead of purchasing locally….so much about that project was so wrong. I would also mention that the level of activity at City Council in the last 90 days of their term is probably the highest it has ever been in the last 10 years. I think that’s been a mistake too.
6. What are you reading these days?
The Prairie Dog Candidate Questionnaire.
7. Beyond your residence, do you own any property in Regina or in the immediate area?
No. No conflicts of interest here.
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1. What is your favourite Regina restaurant?
Picking one is impossible. I love SIAM, Flip, Crave, Copper Kettle, Cathedral Village Freehouse, La Bodega, 13th Avenue Coffee Shop. Mostly because going to any of these restaurants means I’m having a social moment with friends, something I don’t do often enough because of my penchant for working all the time.
2. Who is your favourite Regina artist?
You cannot make me pick one of these either. We have more talent in our town than most big cities boast. I love them all, but FadaDance will always hold a soft spot in my heart for their community building and love of creativity, something that they bring out in the kids who attend their school. I stage-manage their year-end show every year, my favorite three days of the year. Belle Plaine, Andy Shauf, Library Voices, Johanna Bundon, Judy Wensel, Jayden Pfeifer, Rah Rah, Indigo Joseph, Fur Eel, Cameron Wensel, Lonesome Weekends, Danny Goertz, Robyn Barbour, Nick Faye, the Articulate Ink printmakers, Erin Passmore, Judd Stochanski, Jack Semple, Carol Cairns, the folks at the Artesian, every musician I’ve ever known, every film-maker I’ve ever met in Regina, every poet who comes to Word Up Wednesday, all of the people who comprise our creative sector…they are lovely, talented people who make Regina a city that doesn’t just rhyme with fun…it is fun. Take it all in.
3. What actor would play you in the gritty cable drama, Queen City Hall?
Mary Walsh or Cathy Jones. Tough broads with a sense of humour. Canadian. Middle-aged. No nonsense.
4. How would your character die?
I expect to live to a ripe old age, so peacefully in my sleep in the final episode of the 30th season.
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PICK A SIDE
Cats or Dogs? Sorry, can’t pick, love both.
Vampires or Werewolves? Vampires. Way sexier.
Boxing or Roller Derby? Both are a bit too violent for my taste. I prefer music concerts.
Steak or Sushi? Sushi
Hill Towers or Legislative Building? Legislative Building
Quance Street or Dewdney Avenue? Dewdney Avenue
Artesian or Wascana Park Gazebo? Artesian
Prairie Dog or Richardson Ground Squirrel? Prairie Dog
Giant Grasshopper or Stegosaurus? Do we have a Stegosaurus?
Saskaboom or SaskAdvantage? Is this a trick question?
Bike or Sports Car? Bike. Although I used to own a 1959 Triumph TR3.
Le Macaron or Five Guys? I had to google both, definitely Le Macaron.
The Beatles or the Rolling Stones? Depends on the mood I’m in. And the era of Stones.
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BONUS QUESTION: Make up your own question (And answer it, of course!)
Q. If you had to sum up all of your beliefs into one statement, what would it be?
A. Everything is connected to love.
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Find out about all the other people running in this election on our Candidate Profiles page. And follow all of our online election coverage — including interviews, analysis and podcasts — on our Regina City Election 2012 page.