Edmonton mayoral candidates: Cheryll Watson
While many mayoral candidates vying for votes have previous experience as city councillors, Cheryll Watson believes her business knowledge and outsider perspective will help propel Edmonton forward.
Watson, born to a single mother, grew up in Beverly and worked as a tech innovator with IBM and Intuit. She described being faced with a decision after 15 years of work at Intuit to either move to Silicon Valley or stay in Edmonton.
“I decided to stay,” Watson told CTV News Edmonton. “I really wanted my skills and experiences to help move our city forward. So, I went to work on our economy.”
She then went on to found Innovate Edmonton and co-found the Alberta Innovation Corridor.
It was those experiences that led to her decision to run for mayor. While she led Innovate Edmonton and worked for the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation, Watson described how she would meet with the mayor and city administration, and present to council. Watson said those four years opened her eyes to the important role city council plays.
“I really understand how city government works,” she said. “(I saw that) the city’s policies and plans are not being created by the users of the services, or by the people that these policies, bylaws, and supports are meant to serve.
“Now more than ever, I believe we need an outside perspective in how we are moving our city forward.”
'WE NEED PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS'
Watson’s platform focuses on supporting Edmontonians whose basic needs are not being met.
Some of her commitments include improving access to public washrooms, water, free and accessible hygiene items – including menstrual products and sharps disposal – at public facilities, and review policies that criminalize poverty-related activities or excessively ticket those without means to pay.
“We need practical solutions,” Watson said. “I don’t think we are helping anyone when we make commitments that we aren’t able to achieve.”
Her campaign for mayor began in October last year. Since then, Watson is most proud that she was the first candidate to announce a policy solely committed to downtown Edmonton.
“Make business simple,” is Watson’s guiding principle for downtown and the entire city.
“It’s really about creating a more accessible downtown,” she said.
According to Watson, that includes extending free parking downtown from 30 to 60 minutes, developing a central business neighbourhood downtown to support innovation and entrepreneurs, expedite business permit approvals and new processes to escalate permitting issues.
“We have an incredible future ahead of us if we really recognize that we need to create the best possible environment for the companies that are being created here,” she added.
BUILDING BETTER AND SAFER NEIGHBOURHOODS
When it comes to city infrastructure, she plans to ensure every part of the city receives investment when it needs it.
Watson expressed concern over newer suburbs receiving recreation centres while mature neighbourhoods like Eastglen have their pools closed.
“We have an inequality in how many amenities are being created in certain communities,” she said.
“We need to create great communities and neighbourhoods no matter where you live.”
Watson also wants to make Edmonton safer for women and girls by installing better lighting on high-use community pathways, increased safety improvements for the LRT and transit, and pass municipal street harassment bylaws empowering authorities to ticket or respond when necessary.
“I want to build a city that works for all Edmontonians, no matter where in the city you live, no matter where you come from – whether you are a born and raised Edmontonian or you are a newcomer.”
If elected, Watson wants the city to focus closer on core services and move away from things that the province or federal government normally provide, or enter into better collaborative and cost-sharing agreements. That way the city can provide services better and ensure it can invest in responsible climate adaptation.
“Let’s be good enabling partners,” Watson said. “That is the type of mindset, and, 'yes, and,' mentality that our city needs to have.”
GET TO KNOW YOUR CANDIDATE
What is your favourite meal in the city?
“That is easy,” Watson said. Her favourite foods are chicken wings and pizza, with The Mercer being her favourite place to enjoy those foods.
Best summer activity in the river valley?
“All of them,” she said. “Our river valley is so incredible, and there are so many things that we can do (there).”
She listed attending Folk Fest and enjoying the trail system while walking or biking as her top activities.
Favourite viewpoint or public art piece in Edmonton?
“The Talus balls,” Watson shared. “I like them because they are such a surprise.
“You’re really not expecting them to be there; you aren’t really expecting that kind of art piece there in the river valley.”
Do you have any unknown talents or hobbies?
“We have a family band,” Watson said, that includes her husband and four children.
“I sing backup and have been known to play the tambourine,” she added. “That’s one of the things that we like to do as a family.”
What was the last book you read?
Shantaram: A Novel, by Gregory David Roberts.
Watson, who has been to India 15 times, describes the novel as one of her favourites as it shares insights into the beauty of Indian culture.
What sport do you enjoy playing or watching the most?
Watson said her favourite sports to play are tennis and slo-pitch.
“There are those that would question my skills in both of those sports, but I do like to try,” Watson added, as she laughed.
She enjoys watching Oilers games with her family.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
In high school, Watson described how she followed her friend group into hairdressing.
“Very quickly, I discovered that I had no hairdressing ability,” she said. “So that dream was quickly crushed.”
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Nearly all Conservative members of Parliament voted for a bill they say would protect the conscience rights of health professionals when it comes to medical assistance in dying.
North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles toward its eastern waters Thursday after the United States redeployed an aircraft carrier near the Korean Peninsula in response to Pyongyang's previous launch of a nuclear-capable missile over Japan.
The Ottawa woman who former Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard is convicted of sexually assaulting says she is now suing him for $2.8 million.
In the first footage of its kind, scientists captured the moment a pod of orcas hunted great white sharks in South Africa.
Starting Thursday, businesses in Canada will soon be able to pass credit card fees on to their customers, thanks to a multimillion-dollar class-action settlement involving Visa and Mastercard.
A Texas death row inmate whose case redefined the role of spiritual advisers in death chambers nationwide was executed Wednesday, despite the efforts of a district attorney to stop his lethal injection.
Colorado baker fights ruling over gender transition cake years after case involving gay couple's wedding cake
The Colorado baker who won a partial Supreme Court victory after refusing on religious grounds to make a gay couple's wedding cake a decade ago is challenging a separate ruling he violated the state's anti-discrimination law by refusing to make a cake celebrating a gender transition.
Eric Weinberg, an executive producer and writer for the hit TV show 'Scrubs' and many others, has been charged with sexually assaulting five women that he lured to photo shoots and there could be many more victims, Los Angeles County prosecutors announced Wednesday.
As the holiday season approaches, food banks across Canada are desperate for donations due to an increasing amount of clients. As inflation hits all Canadians, those who feel the impact most are the vulnerable communities with the highest food insecurity rates.
Decisions made at a conference of international oil producers are expected to affect the crude oil market and the price of gasoline at Alberta pumps, which are already back to summer peaks.
Thousands of mail-in ballots in the United Conservative Party leadership vote have been rejected and now some voters are receiving phone calls and emails telling them they'll have to vote in person on Thursday.
Premier Jason Kenney, speaking a day ahead of the UCP leadership vote, said he is uncertain of his political future, but is proud of what he's done for Alberta.
The chief forensic pathologist for the Saskatchewan coroners service took to the stand in Saskatoon on Wednesday for the trial of Ranbir Dhull.
Following his $1 million lotto win, Rollins Head was in such a state of disbelief he checked his ticket at two different stores.
With rising inflation across the country programs that provide free food in Saskatoon are contending with unprecedented need.
Saskatchewan residents are paying more to attend live concerts, theatre performances and art gallery exhibitions following an expansion of the provincial sales tax.
A Regina woman who was convicted in 2019 for embezzling millions of dollars has been granted her appeal and a new trial has been ordered.
McKell Wascana Conservation Park is officially the Regina Wetland Centre of Excellence serving as an outdoor classroom for science students at Dr. Martin LeBoldus Catholic High School.
More than 16,000 customers in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are still without electricity 12 days after post-tropical storm Fiona hit the Maritimes on Sept. 23. The ongoing outages and restoration efforts have prompted the Nova Scotia government to declare a state of emergency in several counties in northern Nova Scotia.
Some Nova Scotians are unsure if they qualify for the federal Fiona recovery fund announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday.
Post-tropical storm Fiona changed the coastline of Prince Edward Island forever, however nowhere is more obvious than the P.E.I. National Park on the island’s north shore.
The Ottawa woman who former Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard is convicted of sexually assaulting says she is now suing him for $2.8 million.
Businesses in Ontario will be allowed to pass on credit card fees to customers starting on Thursday. There are a few things businesses and consumers need to know.
Insults, discrimination, mental distress and a lack of support from leadership – these are some of the claims brought forward by Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) employees who say bullying and harassment have become commonplace in the publicly funded workplace.
Hockey Quebec says it has lost confidence in Hockey Canada and will no longer transfer funds to the national organization.
Organizers of the Montreal Pride need to pay for security, communicate better, and hire more experienced staff to avoid another repeat of the devastating cancellation of the parade next year, according to a post-mortem report into the August 2022 fiasco.
The new rule allowing businesses in Canada to pass credit card fees onto customers will not apply in Quebec.
Ottawa police say a man is dead, and two other people were injured in a shooting in the area of Tompkins Avenue and Tenth Line Road Wednesday night.
Ottawa police are reporting a sharp rise in the number of vehicles stolen in Ottawa this year, with newer model Honda CRV's topping the list of targets for thieves.
Ottawa city councillors may soon need to disclose personal relationships with city staff to the city’s integrity commissioner.
The family of a man with a service dog who was forcibly removed from a Kitchener, Ont. restaurant last fall, is speaking out after assault charges against the two men involved were withdrawn.
The process to remove a truck that crashed into a building in Atwood a month ago started on Wednesday, as portions of the building were torn down to help dislodge the truck.
The Region of Waterloo is reminding business owners to start winterizing their property while avoiding over-salting surfaces.
Two recent incidents of adults trying to lure children have North Bay and area parents and caregivers on edge.
Cambrian College in Sudbury is still offering a free dental clinic as a way to help both people in need and students in the dental hygiene program.
Candidates vying to be Sault Ste. Marie’s new mayor say a few issues appear to be top of mind for voters: homelessness, drug addiction and mental health.
More than one-third of Winnipeggers believe people who have occupied public spaces in the city should be allowed to stay there briefly, according to a recent poll.
The Winnipeg Police Service has charged five more people after an encampment was cleared at the Manitoba legislature on Tuesday.
A mayoral debate Wednesday hosted by the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association saw four of Winnipeg’s 11 mayoral hopefuls talk crime, infrastructure and economic development.
'The worst that it has ever been': Concern mounting as severe drought conditions persist in parts of B.C.
On B.C.'s Sunshine Coast, home to about 20,000 residents, drought conditions have caused water levels to drop so low an emergency operations centre has been activated.
3 taken to hospital after trailer flips, spills load into oncoming traffic on Vancouver-Burnaby border
A trailer attached to a dump truck flipped and spilled its load into oncoming traffic on the Vancouver-Burnaby border Wednesday, and paramedics say three people have been taken to hospital.
'My disability informs me': Quadriplegic West Vancouver council candidate shares inspiring life journey
Twenty-four years after the accident that changed her life forever, Alexis Chicoine is running for West Vancouver council with the goal of improving accessibility in the district.
Victorians lined up outside city hall on Wednesday to cast an advance vote for the next leader of the city. Across the street, those vying to be the next mayor squared off in a live debate hosted by Victoria radio station CFAX 1070.
The B.C. Conservation Officers Service (BCCOS) has confirmed that two African servals are on the loose in the Qualicum Beach area of Vancouver Island. The exotic cats have killed a domestic cat, according to the BC SPCA.
B.C. Premier John Horgan says the New Democrat government's crime-fighting agenda involves more than increasing arrests of alleged violent offenders. Horgan says he agrees with Attorney General Murray Rankin who told the legislature on Tuesday that a focus on more arrests of prolific offenders to curb crime would be “futile.”