The Mountaineer - Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Canada
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Meet the Candidates - Clearwater County Council - Division 3

Editor’s note: Three candidates are vying for a seat on county council in Division 3. Incumbent Curt Maki is looking for a second term. He is up against newcomers Daryl Lougheed and Megan Jeffery.

 

Megan Jeffery

 “We have a really beautiful backyard.”

Megan Jeffery is pursuing a degree in political science from Athabasca University. She has worked for Canada Post, the City of Red Deer and the Mountain Rose Women’s Shelter.
“I enjoy being part of the community,” she said. “I just want to be part of Clearwater County.”

What big budget items do you think should or should not be funded and why?
“I know that there has been a lot of concern over the new county building as well as the ag centre that is proposed. I don’t believe that we need a new county building, and I think that the ag center is really going to need a lot of focus whether its a yes or a no item. I’ve heard more negativity about it and how it’s going to affect small businesses and people that have arenas in the community. Especially in my division there are a couple of really beautiful private arenas. That’s a big concern of mine, whether or not it is going to affect those small businesses, because business growth is something that I think is extremely important.”

Is there a specific municipal policy that you feel needs immediate attention from incoming council?
 “I don’t think there’s a huge overall problem with a lot of the policies. At this time I don’t really think there are any policies that I’d demand change to be taken right now. There’s room for growth with the policies.”

Describe what you believe to be a bad decision made by the previous council.
 “Alberta Health Services allots how many doctors they allow here, how much money they are going to give to ambulance companies. That’s somewhere council needs to be putting more pressure to be getting better medical attention to our community. Why do people in the city deserve to have a paramedic on their ambulances funded by AHS? Right now in Caroline we have EMTs. Council hasn’t put much pressure onto AHS about giving more funding to our community.”

Describe what you believe to be a good decision made by the previous council.
 “We have a really beautiful backyard. When I’ve gone there this summer, the money this county has put into keeping our recreation open is wonderful and it’s a really good step forward. The backcountry is a huge focus that we need too, especially with the closures down in Castle and stuff, the budgets that have been put into [the Sasquatch initiative] are pretty good.”

 

Daryl Lougheed

 “It would be a good time to renew the commitment to the Stronger Together idea, maybe make it less of a slogan and more of an action.”

Daryl Lougheed is dedicated to community service, and committed to the Condor community and surrounding area, having lived and worked in the area for decades. He has spent 33 years in the fire service.
“What I’ve learned from that is being an active listener is a key component for being effective, to create good planning and create good action.”

What big budget items do you think should or should not be funded and why?
 “The elephant in the room to me probably is the north [administration building]. We’ve seen that small salt storage facility balloon into a $30 million administration complex. It’s not often we see communities rally, but the community rallied and said a clear no to that. Wrong building, wrong place, wrong time. That’s one balloon that shouldn’t fly.”

Is there a specific municipal policy that you feel needs immediate attention from incoming council?
 “We’re going to have new faces on council, I think we’re going to have some new faces on council of surrounding municipalities. I think it would be a good time to renew the commitment to the Stronger Together idea, maybe make it less of a slogan and more of an action.”

Describe what you believe to be a bad decision made by the previous council.
 “Council’s decision to close the community fire stations. I’ve had 33 years in the fire service and it has been a life’s work, a life’s commitment. Current plan is to close and combine them in a remote location somewhere I think that doesn’t respect the tremendous contribution and community ownership that each community – Leslieville and Condor – had. Ultimately to be an effective fire force staffing is the key issue, and that’s only been possible with that community ownership and I don’t think that plan respects that. I also don’t think it respects the commitment that council had made to these two hamlets as growth hamlets. Removing services doesn’t reflect that commitment and I would like to see it revisited. There are other solutions.”

Describe what you believe to be a good decision made by the previous council.
 “Council looked forward and saw areas that needed future consideration so they set up reserve funds to try to meet those needs. We need to solidify those reserve funds, make sure they are directed to where they were intended, to try to meet the infrastructure needs in the future.”

 

Curt Maki

“Municipal government is the closest form of government to the people.”

Curt Maki is a fourth generation resident of Clearwater County. He runs a cow/calf operation southeast of Condor, and has served one term as county councillor in Division 3.
“Municipal government is the closest form of government to the people. Issues that affect me as a councillor affect the residents too,” he said. “We have the ability to respond. When I talk to somebody at the grocery store or the auction mart – that’s how accessible we are.”

What big budget items do you think should or should not be funded and why?
“Interesting question. We need to grow our community. We have a declining population, our growth is pretty much stagnant. We need to make investment into our community, in our core. In other words roads, bridges, water sewer infrastructure. I do not believe that we should be investing in high speed fibre optic. We need improved internet service in the county but I don’t believe the county should be competing with private business.”

Is there a specific municipal policy that you feel needs immediate attention from incoming council?
“The agreements with the town, the joint servicing agreement, the intermunicipal development plan and the joint revenue sharing agreement for the north development area have to be completed. We cannot move forward as a municipality without that. We were told quite clearly by residents that they would like to see industrial development clustered, not scattered over the county, and without these agreements in place we can’t do that. The north area structure plan is also one that has to be completed.”

Describe what you believe to be a bad decision made by the previous council.
“We haven’t made bad decisions. Every decision has been made with all the information presented to us. Decisions have always been made in the best interest of the community.”

Describe what you believe to be a good decision made by the previous council.
 “I always think all of our decisions are good. For me, moving forward, it is still our north development area. We didn’t get as far as we’d like to, but we got a lot farther than we ever had before.”