Ask-a-candidate: Morinville councillor candidates reflect on what they would not change about the Town

There’s an old adage that goes: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Of course, in practice, not all people (or businesses, or governments) necessarily follow this line of thinking. When you’re running in an election, especially for a spot in local government, it’s easy to say what’s wrong with a community; to point a finger and declare, elect me and I will to fix that. But, it’s also telling to learn what a candidate thinks is right with a community. What do they know and understand about the people living in their municipality, about why they like to live here? At the end of the day, a lot of it comes down to knowing your audience.
The Morinville News asked each of the Councillor candidates running in the Morinville election what they think need to remain status quo in Town.

Sometimes it’s not about what needs to change, it’s about what needs to stay the same. In what areas does the Town of Morinville excel? What would you want to keep the same?

Stephen Dafoe, incumbent (1 term):
As a community—it’s our ability to come together and maintain that small town feeling. As an organization, we need to ensure that we are doing all we can and meeting residents more than half-way to preserve that. It is what drew so many people here, and that sense of community is easily lost once we pass that magic 10,000 mark.

Neil McDougall, first time candidate:
The town excels as a friendly community and needs to keep that spirit alive and exciting as we challenge the future growth pattern.

Sarah Hall, first time candidate:
What I love about Morinville is that there are endless possibilities for families and individuals to grow, thrive and be involved. We have that small town ‘feel’, and something for everyone. It would be sad to see that dissipate as we grow. Morinville has been able to thrive, because of generations of engaged residents and businesses. Resident involvement is a great strength we have, one that I support and would like to see built upon. Initiatives and community programs that appeal to all ages, genders, talents, and needs are paramount if we hope to uphold an inclusive, diverse and engaged community as we grow.

Nicole Boutestein, incumbent (two terms):
I am proud that as a community we can come together to celebrate our heritage and town-wide events and festivals. There aren’t many communities that still hold a parade in November where families and friends line the streets dressed in parkas and ski pants and brave the cold just to catch a glimpse of Mr. & Mrs. Claus or host a free pancake breakfast on main street. These are just a few reasons of what sets us apart from other communities and why I am proud to call Morinville home.

Lawrence Giffin, second time candidate:
The Town of Morinville still has a great small town feel. The Public Works are doing a fantastic job: the streets are plowed promptly, cleaned in spring and the parks are well maintained. We also have some great amenities (e.g. the spray park, the skateboard park, the library and the cultural center).
I feel that council has a role in keeping that small town feel by making people feel welcome and supported. To do this we need to support recreational facilities like the arena. We also need to keep the streets safe and keep up the appearance so that people take pride in our community.

Rebecca Balanko, first time candidate:
We are a community. We do this so well in so many ways! From our fabulous town wide events, celebrations and family opportunities. I have never witnessed a community come together to support a ‘Call to Action’ in such a wonderful way. From the response to the fires in Fort McMurray, filling a bus to support those needing help from our local foodbank, adopting deserving families over the holidays or sponsoring a child to play sports or a town activity, this town never fails to deliver.

I supported a young Mom through JMMF for a four month span; she had a very young family including a newborn. A Call to Action was made for produce, diapers and food. Every single day, someone dropped something off at my door or hand delivered to me items to support this family. It was a beautiful, empowering and community lead act. One that humanized her situation and empowered her to live freely and in safety. We do this right, we love a worthy cause and Morinville always answers the call with kindness, support and action.

Scott Richardson, first time candidate:
I think Morinville does a great job of preserving our rich heritage. The Morinville museum, St. John Baptiste days and the Light up the Night parade are things that join us as community. These types of things let us reflect on the past while creating community spirit and that’s what makes me proud to live in Morinville.

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