EDMONTON -- Mayoral candidate Cheryll Watson opened her campaign office in downtown Edmonton on Monday.

"It's so important for us to have a vibrant city downtown. It's really important. So this demonstrates my commitment to downtown," she told reporters that morning.

"This is going to be our touchstone and our gathering place for the campaign."

The Innovate Edmonton founder first announced her intent to run in the mayoral race in October 2020, and says that she has since spoken to hundreds of Edmontonians to develop her platform.

The foundation of that was revealed Monday, with Watson selling a vision of "a smart city leading in technology and innovation."

"A city can work for you, like easy commutes and 15-minute neighbourhoods," she said. "A city can work with you."  

Cheryll Watson

Watson is also promising to create an independent position outside of city administration that would help keep it accountable by reporting to council and mayor on previous effort on issues and tracking costs of reports and council-directed work.

The Beverly-raised candidate boasts two decades in the business and technology sectors, including time with Edmonton Economic Development Corporation and Alberta Innovation Corridor. Watson sits on the Downtown Recovery Task Force and serves as co-chair of the Startup Genome Global Senior Policy Maker Forum.

So far, she has three competitors: Ward 11 Coun. Mike Nickel, Crestwood Community League president Diana Steele and former Ward 2 councillor Kim Krushell.

The municipal election is Oct. 18. Mayor Don Iveson announced in November he would not be seeking reelection.