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– Stephen Dafoe
We have lived in Morinville for twenty-two years and while campaigning door to door several trends are evident. There is an increase in the number of young families moving into the newer subdivisions and also some of our long established areas. Residents see themselves as part of a larger Capital region in conducting business and enjoying leisure activities. Morinville continues to be a lifestyle choice for military families and workers from Fort McMurray.
I hear several themes in discussions with residents.
As residents we want to know what we receive as value for the taxes and other fees we pay. Over the past three years we have experienced a 20% increase in our residential taxes. In addition we have seen increases in our water and sewer bills. Residents comment that value for services is essential in the long term.
We want to live in a safe community. On this we develop our feeling of neighbourhood and social responsibility. Fundamental principles such as crime prevention through environmental design (CEPTED) are critical in updating the older areas of the community and building new subdivisions. Residents want four season access to safe walkways, parks and other amenities. They want to know their children are in a safe environment in walking to and from school and other social amenities.
Economic development is important in setting future direction for growth of our community. It is a source of employment for local and regional residents, and offers future opportunities for our children to live and work in Morinville. We recognize the importance of supporting our local business community. They are our neighbours and their livelihood depends on our patronage. Residents have said to me that the existing businesses are the best ambassadors and examples on which to attract new business to Morinville. I believe that Town Council can work more closely with the Morinville District Chamber of Commerce to identify, target and attract new complementary businesses to our community.
Land-use planning for future growth is key to looking at the residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and recreational opportunities. We must provide for children, adults, seniors and persons with special needs as we plan our community for the present and future generations.
Given these themes what are we voting for on October 18th?
First, open communication. This means listening to residents and businesses and THEN responding. I believe we need to get back to basics of engaging our neighbours in dialogue on their vision of direction for the Town. Over this campaign I have spoken to many residents, including first time voters, and I have encouraged them to get involved in this community building process.
Second, on October 18th we are electing a Council team of a Mayor and six Councillors. I have many years of experience as the public representative on several Council committees. I Chair the Municipal Planning Commission; the Aerial Pumper Truck committee for the Fire Department, and the Working Committee for the Municipal Sustainability Plan. I thrive in a team environment.
Finally, we have choices of candidates to select from. I encourage you to listen and ask questions of all the candidates. Above all I encourage you to vote on October 18.