compiled by Colin Smith
To help provide information on where candidates for Council stand on matters of interest to residents, Morinville Online will be asking them a question each week for the duration of the election campaign and publishing their responses. The responses may have been edited for length and clarity.
Today’s Question: If elected, what specific item would you most like to see accomplished during your term on council?
Simon Boersma: If elected, we need a common-sense approach to taxes and budget. We must obtain the best value for our residents and have our businesses thrive. We must improve the attitude towards public engagement with residents and businesses alike. The culture at council needs to respect the taxpayer and entrepreneurial spirit. Safety for our community, the lights at 100th and Grandin need installing. We need to look at water/utilities – Town growth will outgrow its sources. Collaboration with all levels of government, Town of legal and Sturgeon County to create sustainability. Reconciliation, we are an inclusive community, deeds not just words.
Shane Ladouceur: I would like to accomplish the transition of town to city. To really have an identity of our great town/city that we all are proud of, and others would want to be a part of to live, work and play.
I’ll be the biggest advocate and cheerleader for our great, incredible, quiet town, with community decision making as a whole.
Barry Turner: Did not respond by our deadline
Jenn Anheliger: With new approaches and proactive planning, we can truly create positive change and advance growth. Should I have the privilege of gaining the trust and votes of residents, I commit my full time and attention to ensuring we succeed. Focusing on increasing and diversifying revenue streams, fostering sub-regional collaboration to realize efficiencies and cost savings, using a targeted approach to attracting business as well as standardizing our approach to community engagement are mechanisms that will set us on a positive path forward. With a passion for community and an articulate town building approach we can empower community and advance growth together.
Rebecca Balanko: We need to set a path to have incremental and affordable tactics to reduce our debt. We can’t keep going back to homeowners and businesses for more taxes. Hopefully, with reducing our debt, we can increase reserves for our growing town. We need to live within our means.
Nicole Boutestein: Reconnecting with our residents both young and old, community groups and neighbouring municipalities would be a main goal I would like to achieve before the end of the next term. Over the last year and half, we really haven’t been able to directly engage with anyone due to the pandemic. This has definitely set us back as a community in planning for our future. It’s difficult to set priorities, improve and/or replace infrastructure, review service levels without direct input from our citizens. All of these decisions must take into account the budget and resources needed to maintain a healthy vibrant community.
Stephen Dafoe: A complete service level review is at the top of my list of things to accomplish this term. Quite simply, if we do not know what it truly costs us to provide services to our residents, then we do not have a base from which to find efficiencies or to do a proper budget. Morinville has a spending problem – not because the administration throws money away, but because we do not have an asset management program in place (in the works) or a service level review to assess our actual costs. These will greatly assist in budgeting properly in the future.
Wayne Gatza: As we know there are several items that need to be addressed. I will advocate for our residents on their behalf to make our community better by using a common-sense approach, being fiscally responsible to get our deficit in order, ensuring open lines of communications, getting residents’ input, ensuring transparency, working on regional collaboration and ensuring the safety of our community is at the forefront. As an elected official, I believe my duty is to represent our residents ensuring that their concerns, wants, needs and services get the attention they deserve. Talk is cheap now it’s time for action.
Sarah Hall: Should I be re-elected, I would most like to accomplish two things. First, that we reach a balanced and healthy 80/20 residential and non-residential split. Attracting new and retaining existing business is imperative to keeping taxes low. And second, that we do a better job of advancing our social services sector to better serve the needs of our increasingly diverse population. I personally will continue to advocate for a community social services hub and reliable, affordable transit.
Alan John Otway: Water, utilities, Fees, taxes, roads, safety, community services, growth, transparency, prioritization, communication and cooperation are many of the responsibilities and accountabilities of a council. None can be improved without the council working as a team towards common goals. If I had to choose one specific item that I would like to see the team accomplish, it would be increased value of people’s homes and businesses above the level of increase by other communities. There is no better indicator of a successful council than increasing value due to the desirability of living in the community.
Maurice St. Denis: Finding a viable solution to the Grandin Drive/Highway 642 intersection should be the highest priority for our new council. This public safety issue is in many ways a microcosm of a much more global issue — the perceived disconnect between taxpayers and elected officials. Our residents want greater accessibility to their elected officials and more transparency in the decision-making process. Our next council must identify and remove systemic barriers that currently prevent civic engagement and create space for more respectful and impactful dialogue. We must earn back the trust of our residents before looking at new economic development strategies and regional collaboration opportunities.
Erin Vollick: I would like to see a more effective council that does better: completely transparent by stating exactly what they are going into closed session meetings for (except legal or real estate matters) so taxpayers have no need to assume anything questionable is going on; accountable and listening to all its residents by having regular involvement and engagement from the public; meetings that don’t exceed a couple hours, as nothing productive gets accomplished beyond that; working collaboratively as a team rather than dividing themselves, and the town, in half; and doing what is in the best interest of the town and its citizens.
Scott Richardson: Did not reply by our deadline.
Ray White: Did not reply by our deadline.