Morinville – After living in the community for six years, 31-year-old Fort McMurray Native Rob Ladouceur said he is certain of two things: Morinville is where he wants to continue to raise his family, and Morinville is where he wants to make a difference. Ladouceur is the latest resident to step forward and announce he will run for a Council seat in the fall election.
“I’ve been interested in helping people for a long time,” Ladouceur said, adding his time working behind the scenes in provincial politics with the Wildrose Party was a good experience, but one that was party based and required sticking to the party line. “I didn’t like that. You have to represent the people that elect you and the people that don’t.”
Ladouceur said after speaking to a number of people in the community and attending Morinville Town Council meetings for the past six months he feels a seat on Council may be the best way to have an impact on the future growth of the community, something he sees continuing over the next four years as Morinville begins to look at whether it will become a city or not.
He has seen community growth before and believes the community can grow while maintaining the things that draw people here. “I love the community. I really do,” Ladouceur said, adding he has been here since 2009. “I was born and raised in Fort McMurray and it reminds me of what Fort McMurray was growing up. It was awesome. It was a great place. Still is.”
Ladouceur said he has watched Morinville grow by a couple thousand residents but he has not seen any major inroads into developing industrial space. “We’ve talked about trying to keep our taxes low here. I think in order to do that we can’t just have our residents paying taxes,” he said. “I think that we need to invite and encourage industry and business to be here, to set up shop here to develop and expand. I think we certainly need to expand our industrial and commercial base and have more land.”
Less research, more decisions
Ladouceur believes research is important in planning and developing community needs, but he also feels Council has a tendency to do too much research on occasion. “One of the things I’ve seen this Council do now is a lot of research,” he said. “They haven’t necessarily made a lot of decisions on that research. I think it is time we do that.”
Ladouceur sees the lack of decision tied to a lack of leadership on Council. “One of the things I’ve heard from some of the people that have talked to me is they don’t see Council as leaders at this point,” he said. “I know that I’ve found the same thing on certain topics. There seems to be an issue of needing research done. You get a research paper done and for some reason you need to go back and have another one done, and maybe another one before a decision can get made. I think it’s time that we seriously consider what that’s costing us and what the value of doing so much research is.”
The candidate said he did not want to discredit the importance of research and planning. He feels the next Council needs to set some goals and timelines, then work hard to stick to those priorities by making decisions instead of putting things off.
Recreation and youth
The candidate believes time is of the essence when dealing with Morinville’s recreation needs, particularly the much-talked-about multi use facility. Ladouceur is anticipating considerable discussion and debate on the subject in terms of where and when it is to be built. At the very least he sees the need for a new arena coming quickly over the horizon.
“I think before we find ourselves without enough time, we need to start now, saving, planning, deciding where we are going to build it,” Ladouceur said. “We need to put a solid plan in place and follow it.”
Another thing Ladouceur would like to see some planning and action on is youth activities, ensuring the Town has the right programing for young people. He believes communication with youth is essential to make that happen. “You can run library events or run some talent nights, if that is not necessarily what the youth in our community want to do or interested in being engaged and part of, then it’s never going to bring people into the seats,” he said. “The other thing is, are we communicating it well enough. I think the Town really has to get involved and make sure they communicate. The Town’s website right now is horrible. It’s very poor. It’s not user friendly for youth – who are the people most often on the Internet – to get on and see what’s happening. I think we need to do that.”
Skills on the table
Ladouceur’s time working behind the scenes in provincial politics helped him to build some relationships with a number of people from all parties, both provincially and federally, connections he sees as beneficial to a role on Council.
A control centre operator with Enbridge Pipelines in Edmonton for the past two years, Ladouceur has also had past experience as a project manager and operations supervisor for a major construction project. There he accumulated skills he believes are of value as Morinville embarks on future building projects. “I have an understanding of how budgets are going to work and how they are planned,” he said. “I have an understanding of construction and timelines, what is realistic and what is not cost wise.”
Beyond that, Ladouceur feels being young and intuitive are attributes that would benefit a role on Council, as would his belief that listening is important. “I think what is important for anybody that’s going to be on Council is you have to be willing to work hard, represent people and be prepared,” Ladouceur said. “You don’t represent yourself and your friends, and you don’t just represent the people that elected you. You represent the people that didn’t as well. It’s important to sit down, be patient and listen. Everybody has something valuable to bring.”
Ladouceur said he feels he is a good communicator who is willing to work hard and listen. The candidate has established a campaign web site at www.MorinvilleRob.ca.