by Colin Smith
Volunteerism is a key theme in the campaign of Jenn Anheliger, who announced Tuesday she is running a seat on Morinville Town Council.
Anheliger bases her bid to become a council member on her long-term community advocacy, as chair or a member of a number of volunteer committees in Morinville, including the Town of Morinville Library Board, Community Services Advisory Board, Municipal Planning Commission and Four Winds Public School Council.
“I spent six years preparing for the role of councillor,” she said in an interview.
Anheliger attributes her commitment to the love she has come to have for Morinville since she and her husband Derek moved here from Edmonton eleven years ago. She put a career in banking and finance on hold to focus on raising their three children: Charlotte, Blake and Adam, in “a town that put its residents first.”
“It is in this wonderful town that I quickly gained a sense of purpose, understanding the value of community engagement and knowing my contributions can help shape Morinville into a place for my family to thrive.”
Anheliger started out volunteering and sitting on school council and school advisory boards.
“I really enjoyed volunteering and connecting with others in my community,” she said. “I knew I wanted to do more.”
Her inclination to take a larger part in municipal affairs was strengthened when in 2015 she became involved in the storm pond odour issue in her Champlain neighbourhood, which brought her before Town Council.
“I had a lot of success in dealing with council and the administration,” she said.“Encouraged by this process I decided that running for Town Council would be my goal.”
Anheliger believes that a municipality that successfully engages its community and volunteers can affect the wellbeing of its residents in a meaningful way. She hopes to take a collaborative approach that can create value and promote a more inclusive Morinville.
“Empowering community to feel valued and engaged is key in creating a home that is inclusive and enjoyable to all who reside within it and ensures they are inherently connected.”
A specific initiative would be developing a standardized approach to engaging volunteers, creating ways for them to engage in the civic process and ensuring they are celebrated and heard.
From an economic standpoint, Anheliger wants to encourage growth that will drive much-needed revenue to the Town by targeting value-added industry.
“With Morinville’s proximity to major highways, railways and airports we have the unique opportunity to proactively collaborate within the Regional Agricultural Master Plan and position ourselves as a prime location for agricultural industry,” states her website, jennanheliger.com.
She would also like to see municipal collaboration further enhanced, with neighbouring communities seeking opportunities for shared efficiencies. This could translate into cost savings in the delivery of Morinville’s municipal services.
“We should be collaboratively rather than just operating in our own silo,” said Anheliger.
Another priority for the candidate is transparency in the municipal decision-making process, taking into account resident involvement.