As of today, with our municipal election now on, second out of the gate from our incumbents is Brian Gallant.
I am excited to announce my candidacy for reelection. It was exceptionally rewarding to work with the public, a variety of volunteer boards, and the municipal staff to move the community forward for the last three years. I am seeking your support to continue.
I don’t think anyone will deny that it has been a tough three years. I did not agree with every outcome during the past term, but I made an important contribution to the decision making process. The hardest part of being on council making difficult and sometimes unpopular choices, but I would not be doing my best for this community if I shied away from the tough decisions.
During my term in office I have been a voice of fiscal restraint. At no time did I vote for a municipal tax increase. I also called for moderation on fee increases and I initiated the cancellation of development levies that deterred growth. The municipality is changing as an organization and I have the practical sense to help refine the operation, but we have been in a 30-year slump and it will take time.
We have a lot to look forward to over the next several years and, despite what some might tell you, the future is bright. The fact is that development permits and new housing starts are on the rise with 2012 & 2013 showing the highest numbers we have seen in years. A number of new businesses have popped up. New mines and a hotel are in the works. School enrolment at Horace Alan and ISS is up. We need to plan to be successful and continue this trend. This will not happen by upholding the status quo and hoping that good things fall into our laps. We must actively pursue economic opportunities by promoting our community to investors, businesses and prospective residents.
We need to develop our industrial capacity. We have a shortage of serviced commercial land and infrastructure to support the resurgence of industry, especially mine related. We need to diversify our economy and there is no “silver bullet” for our problems. To help this diversification, I will propose a business incubator for Crowsnest Pass, which has been highly successful in other communities. We also must promote tourism opportunities because these businesses have some of the lowest start-up costs and highest return. Tourism is a leading industry in Alberta so there are a number of existing tools we can tap into. To this end, I will move to implement feasible elements of the Visitor Friendly Communities plan, which was commissioned by Community Futures.
Revitalization is critical to our future and I have backed many initiatives. I have championed enhancing our recreation facilities and capacity. I am not just talking about a recreation centre, but a set of services that will help make Crowsnest Pass a destination. Long term, this will benefit not only locals, but will also attract visitors and new families. We have the ability to offer an experience that is not possible in other areas of the province. I am proud to have worked with the Heritage Board in furthering a heritage master plan. Through the development of a sound business case, we were able to attain funds to move forward.
As stated in the Municipal Inspection, communication needs to improve on all levels. This has been an ongoing concern for me and I took steps during the term to improve this, but we need to do more. If reelected, I will move to accept the report and redefine the standards that everyone can expect when communicating with the town office and council.
I look forward to an honest and healthy debate around the many issues facing our community. We need to move forward – together. For a broader view of the issues that matter to our community, please visit my website.
One of the hardest tasks of leadership is understanding that you are not what you are, but what you’re perceived to be by others.