Candidates discuss proposals and plans

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With the municipal election vote now less than three weeks away, Didsbury and Carstairs candidates have outlined some of their proposals and plans.

There are five mayoralty candidates in Didsbury:

ï Challenger Rhonda Hunter is running for mayor. She said if she’s elected she will “listen, work with and for Didsburians, be open and accountable, forward-thinking, and respectful of the needs of all citizens.”

“I am running for mayor to put people first, with the belief we can achieve our goals together,” said Hunter. “My 25-plus years of municipal government experience, my extensive volunteer history, my mentor/trainer roles have prepared me to be a great mayor for Didsbury.”

ï Challenger Keegon McPherson is also running for mayor.

“What inspired me to run was the growing political interest in the younger generation, my peers, here in Didsbury, specifically the dissatisfaction they’ve expressed about the town’s economic state,” said McPherson.

“Local monopolies, a lack of competition in business and no big industry; there isn’t as much money to be made here as there is in Olds or Carstairs. I will change that.”

ï Challenger Norm Quantz is running for mayor.

He said as mayor he would be fiscally responsible, would promote growth in the town, and would listen diligently to residents.

ï Current councillor Joyce McCoy is running for mayor. She said she wants to “build a better Didsbury.”

“I have lived here for 34 years and been a town councillor since 2013,” said McCoy. “As mayor I will lead on transparency, accountability and sustainability. I will ask the community to assist on decisions from roads to recreation.

“I will lead the discipline of zero-based budgeting. My vision is that together we polish this jewel called Didsbury to lead the region in quality of life and sensible economic development.”

ï Current Didsbury mayor Rick Mousseau is seeking another term. He was unavailable for comment at press time.

There are 17 candidates running for council positions in Didsbury:

ï Incumbent councillor Lavar Adams says promoting cooperation on council will be a priority for him.

“I believe as we come together with a common purpose we can accomplish the tasks at hand, whatever they may be, and continue to move Didsbury forward,” said Adams.

“Working together brings strength and understanding. We all have a specific role to play in the accomplishment of our goal, which is to help Didsbury to continue to be a place to grow.”

ï Challenger Erhard Poggemiller is a past mayor of Kerrobert, Sask.

“I would like to see the construction of a proper sidewalk on 23rd Street and an immediate tax freeze on all residential commercial taxes with a review of taxation policies,” said Poggemiller. “I also plan to lobby CP Rail to cease train whistles through town.”

He said he supports youth initiatives such as the proposed splash park.

ï Challenger John Baswick said keeping the town’s finances in good shape would be a priority for him.

“Being a councillor for the next four years is a commitment I don’t take lightly,” said Baswick. “A new, professional and accountable council will bring fresh new ideas for growth and control expenses.

“New beginnings sometimes require tough decisions to meet future challenges to our community.”

ï Challenger Mel Crothers says his business experience would be an asset on council.

“My priorities on council will be bringing new small businesses into Didsbury, concentrate on affordable housing for future development, look at amending the current land use bylaw to allow the build of small homes on smaller lots, plus a much-needed children’s playground in Valarosa,” said Crothers.

ï Incumbent Garth Hollinger said he would “work for the best of Didsbury.”

“I think we should use our recreation master plan as a guide in developing more recreational opportunities for our children and teens,” said Hollinger.

“I would like to see us working with the RCMP to facilitate a smooth transition to local funding of the RCMP in 2019 and optimizing the utilization of our RCMP manpower to reduce crime.”

ï Challenger Robert Davidson said he is “concerned about how the town develops.”

“I was asked by more than one person in town and I was on council before, and there were things that needed doing that still haven’t been done,” said Davidson.

“I’d like to see the town continue to grow. At the same time not to make a mistake like some of the other communities that have lost their cohesiveness.”

ï Challenger Wil Helkenberg said his past public service would be a benefit to council.

“I served two terms in a small town in Saskatchewan back in the 1980s,” said Helkenberg. “After 11 enjoyable years of residing in Didsbury, this is my way of thanking people.”

ï Challenger candidate Bill Windsor said he has a number of qualities that would make him a good councillor.

“Like many residents of Didsbury, I will vote for candidates who have shown an interest in the job, attended council meetings, town open houses, developer forums and community events, have volunteered in the community indicating their genuine interest in the flavour and culture of the community, are articulate with time to devote to committee assignments and research issues that come before council, and have a broad spectrum of experiences from business to leadership. I am a candidate with all of these qualities,” said Windsor.

ï Challenger Dany Piepgrass said Didsbury “needs solid leadership and more fiscal responsibility.”

“I am running for council because I believe I can be a positive change for Didsbury,” said Piepgrass. “I stand for fiscal responsibility and living within our means.

“We need to reduce the debt load while not raising taxes. I want the people of Didsbury to know I will be an open book and be there for all of their concerns.”

ï Past mayor Dorothy Moore is seeking a seat as councillor. Her past experience on council would be an asset to the new council, she said.

“I have been solving problems and leading planning for other municipalities since 2008,” said Moore. “I have unique skills and wide experience that will help council provide the best government possible.

“My record of community engagement, commitment, long-term planning and fair agreements while mayor from 2001 to 2007 demonstrates my priorities.”

ï Incumbent Gail Nowlan says her experience would be valuable to the new council.

“I believe in Didsbury and how much stronger we are together,” said Nowlan. “My 10 years’ experience, integrity, passion, dedication, and commitment to collaboration are assets for council and our community.

“I will always work to engage with you, ensure controlled and mindful spending, and build quality of life and the feeling of pride in our community.”

ï Challenger Curtis Engel said being “prudent and responsible with the taxpayers’ money” would be a priority for him.

“Making the right decisions is an obligation of the town council,” said Engel. “This is a way in which I can give back to the community that has given so much to all of us.”

ï Challenger Pat Rowden said bringing a seniors’ lodge to Didsbury would be a priority for him.

“With community help, I want to have the lodge built to meet the needs of senior residents like the lodge in Sherbrooke in Saskatchewan,” said Rowden, “a foundation to support seniors wishing to stay in their homes as long as they wish.

“As well as having the provincial and federal governments enforcing the law protecting seniors in care facilities.”

ï Incumbent Sheila Schulz says her past council experience would be an asset to the new council.

“I represent Didsbury in a professional manner, on all levels, locally through nationally,” said Schulz. “I bring even more to the table than when Didsbury elected me, four years ago. I learned all I could, I know the whole job, and I plan to do an even better job. Didsbury invested in me for four years, so I want to continue to put my knowledge and skills to good use.”

ï Incumbent Kim Moore says she wants to “keep the people informed with what the town has going on.”

“I want to see the whistle cessation carried through,” said Moore. “I listened to the people and was an integral part of stopping the building of a boulevard down 20th Avenue.”

CARSTAIRS –

There are two mayoralty candidates in Carstairs:

ï Incumbent Lance Colby said his experience on council would be an asset for the new council.

“I have been mayor of our great community for 14 years and have worked with dedicated people who do their very best to keep our town moving forward in a positive and responsible manner,” said Colby.

“Council and administration work together to plan for future growth and ensure we have the proper infrastructure in place so we can grow.”

ï Challenger Cameron Tolley said as mayor he would “provide a new voice with proven leadership experience as an officer in the Canadian Forces.”

“Carstairs is in a critical phase of development that will see the immediate need for new schools, new emergency services, and new infrastructure that in my opinion needs a fresh approach to achieve,” said Tolley.

“It’s been far too long since Carstairs had anything other than an acclaimed mayor, and I’m excited to be a viable choice for my community.”

There are seven candidates for council in Carstairs:

ï Incumbent Al Gil said he wants to “continue supporting the residents of Carstairs.

“With four years of experience and knowledge of the policies, priorities and strategic plan for the town I am dedicated to working towards building a new seniors’ complex and expanding or building a new school,” said Gil.

“I am committed to planning for the continued growth and the future development of Carstairs. I can be your voice on council.”

ï Incumbent Bob Green said he wants to “see our community continue on its path of organized and responsible growth, yet continue to provide the citizens with the quality of life they expect. “We have seen a fairly large and successful growth in the past four years, and we need to have a plan in place so that continues. That plan must include policing, school, seniors, green areas and recreational sites.”

ï Challenger Rhonda Kraemer-Wise said having lived in Carstairs for 37 years she now “wants to give back for what the community has given me.

“I raised my family here and now my children are raising their children in this area,” said Kraemer-Wise. “I was a councillor before and know what’s expected.

“I’ve volunteered with a large number of organizations in town including serving on the library board for many years. I was also the vice-chair of the kindergarten when my children went to school here.”

ï Incumbent Rick Blair said his past experience on council would be an asset to the new council.

“With the sustained growth that the town has experienced, there will be many large infrastructure projects needed over the next term of council,” said Blair.

“We’ve started the groundwork on many of these and I would like to continue that work and make sure that we construct them in a fiscally responsible way, with little or no impact to the ratepayers.”

ï Incumbent Dean Allan said he wants to continue with the work of the past council.

“We’ve been able to pay off a lot of debt and get a lot of our infrastructure done and maintained,” said Allan.

“We have three big projects coming up we want to finish up: wastewater, water reservoir and the tri-services building. I want to make sure we stay focused and keep paying down our debt and keep working on those major projects.”

ï Incumbent Marty Ratz said he is “looking to further some of the priorities I see for Carstairs. “We need a tri-services building in town,” said Ratz. “It may not be done in the next four years but certainly the preparation certainly needs to be done as we get closer to that 5,000 (population) mark.

“We also need dignified, affordable seniors’ housing. Right now we don’t have a place for 24/7 care. People get separated from their families and that’s a horrible thing for our seniors and their families.”

ï Challenger Shannon Wilcox said if elected she would like to promote “strong family values and community spirit.”

“I think town council should be reflective of the entire population of Carstairs and I would love to continue to support my community by representing young families as a council member,” said Wilcox.

“I am new to the political arena but not new to hard work, leadership, collaboration and contributing to the betterment of our community.”

Residents will be able to get a chance to see and hear from all the candidates at upcoming all-candidates forums.

In Didsbury, the forum is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. at the multi-purpose room of the memorial complex.

In Carstairs, the all-candidates forum is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. at the community hall.

Election day is Monday, Oct. 16.

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Craig Lindsay

Craig Lindsay is a reporter with the Mountain View Gazette who joined the newspaper in 2016. He covers news, sports and community events in Didsbury, Carstairs and Cremona. He is a photographer and columnist as well.