Ashley Salvador is excited to begin her tenure as councillor for Ward Métis. With a background in urban planning, sociology, and sustainability, Salvador brings a well-rounded skill set. 

“I’m very excited about the folks we have around the table, too. I think there’s a lot of diverse voices, different life experiences, expertise, and I think that’ll make for better decision making.”

Homelessness and affordable housing was a major concern at the Nov. 1 city council meeting. Concerns including the opioid crisis and inequity of resource allotment across wards are connected. In that light, Salvador points out that she has consistently called for holistic solutions. 

She says, “When it comes to housing, homelessness, and affordable housing, being able to really look for more systemic solutions, address root causes, which of course, is looped in with conversations around… mental health, addiction, and really a larger conversation about community well-being. That was kind of reflected across the board. Obviously. It’s a major, major conversation in our ward.”

Salvador has a holistic vision for Ward Métis and for Edmonton. “We can talk about the need for more permanent supportive housing. From the perspective that this is a health issue. This is about well-being. This is about safety in our communities. It’s also about being smart with our dollars. It’s much more economical to do the right thing at the outset, as opposed to not, and seeing that cost reflected in our healthcare system. So, being able to talk about issues and frame issues with that holistic perspective, and being able to lean into that complexity is something that I really look forward to doing.”

Salvador advocates for a decentralized model and says that people who are vulnerable and need help with housing or other needs live everywhere in the city. “I think oftentimes, we think it’s a downtown issue, when in reality people are facing those challenges everywhere. And historically, I think we’ve seen a concentration of supports and services and affordable housing in that downtown core and a little bit into Ward Métis, as well [as] in the Alberta Ave area. And it’s just really important that we’re able to spread out those services.” She continues, “Not only is it important for those [vulnerable] communities, but it’s also more conducive to recovery and well-being, so that we’re able to integrate things like permanent supportive housing into [more] neighbourhoods.”

Salvador would like to see more diverse, walkable, and accessible communities for young families, and for seniors who would like to age in place. Developments should be well connected to transit and amenities. She suggests planning clusters of smaller bungalows around a central courtyard or garden space and retrofitting character homes. 

“Being able to have different types of infill is a crucial part of this conversation [about] zoning bylaw renewal, which is a process that is ongoing at the city and is going to be coming to the urban planning committee and eventually council office quite soon.”