The Mountaineer - Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Canada
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Meet the Candidates - Clearwater County Council - Division 6

Editor’s note: Three candidates are looking to represent Division 6 in Clearwater County. Tim Hoven, Lorissa Nafzinger and Diana Spencer are all first-time candidates. Earl Graham, who has served the division for four terms, is not seeking re-election.


Tim Hoven

“When people don’t feel safe in their homes, about their property when they’re gone, it’s not a good community to be in.”

Tim Hoven is a fourth generation farmer in Clearwater County. He ran a butcher shop in Calgary for 25 years, and now farms full time with his family.
“I have knowledge and understanding of what the difference is between a rural mindset and an urban mindset,” he said. “As we get closer to Alberta becoming an urban province I think there’s going to be some major issues for our county in the future.”

What big budget items should or shouldn’t be funded, and why?
“When I look at the county financial and the plan for the next three years, it’s the county building in the north. I don’t have all the information but to me, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. I look at what the province has done in the municipality of Crowsnest Pass, what they’re currently working on in Westlock amalgamating the city and the county. I really question spending $20 million on a facility three miles out of town when in seven years or maybe even five years it might not be necessary.”
“With regards to linear tax, we have to be able to stand up, work with other municipalities to defend our resources and our tax dollars.
“I believe most counties are much better fiscal mangers than the cities. We have to organize and fight the province before they come knocking on our door.”

Is there a specific municipal policy you feel will need immediate attention from the incoming council?
 “When I talk to people crime is such a big issue. There was a funeral in the area and some people didn’t go, they drove around making sure there were no weird vehicles in the area. And when you live in a place where you’re worried about leaving property for a couple of hours that someone is going to come and rob you blind, that’s a major issue. Unfortunately it’s a provincial issue and it’s a federal issue, and both of those governments don’t care a lot about rural issues right now. I think the county needs to work with other municipalities and the RCMP for some kind of broader vision so we can beat this thing. When people don’t feel safe in their homes, about their property when they’re gone, it’s not a good community to be in. There has to be something done.  I know the RCMP are working on it  but the severity, from my limited perspective it looks like it’s getting worse and criminals are getting more and more bold.
“Hire five more policemen? Well that’s an expensive solution.”

Describe a bad decision made by the previous /current council, and why you believe it was bad.
 “That county building in the north should be revisited.”

Describe a good decision made by the previous/current council, and why you believe it was good.
 “I’m excited that they are very interested in economic development. We cannot just be a one-trick pony in the county. We’re oil but we’re also agriculture. We need to diversify what we’re doing. I think we need to support people who are trying to take a chance and try something new and be supportive of those businesses when they are in their infancy so they have a chance to get off the ground and grow. When people have to risk everything they own and take a chance, most people won’t do it.
“The family has been here 100 years, and I want Hovens to be on this property in 100 years. I want to make sure the resources are here for them to thrive, not just survive.”


Lorissa Nafzinger

“Transparency is probably the most important thing.”

Lorissa Nafzinger was born and raised in Caroline. She holds post secondary diplomas in kinesiology and sports and business administration.  
Since returning to Caroline in 2006, Nafzinger has been very involved in the community, serving on the executive of Caroline Minor Hockey and the Caroline Agricultural board. She spent six years with the Caroline Minor Hockey league, co-started a T-ball program for the area and was involved with the Caroline Agricultural Board for six years. As part of the agriculture board, Nafzinger was very involved with the HUB project, and worked closely with the different municipal governments in the county during that time. She and her husband currently own and operate a small construction company. 

What big budget items do you think should or should not be funded and why?
“There are several big budget items; I believe I definitely need more information before I say yes to any of them. Whenever there is a problem I believe that there are several solutions.
“Broadband internet is obviously a huge issue. I believe that there is definitely the need for internet service throughout the community and for reliable internet service. I also believe there is a need for consistent cellphone service throughout the community. That is an issue with our business. There are lots of places that the guys go where there is no cellphone service  and we have to use two-way radios and to me that’s a safety issue not necessarily a convenience issue. I’d really like to see that proceed a little bit further with other businesses.”

Is there a specific municipal policy that you feel needs immediate attention from incoming council?
“Transparency is probably the most important thing. I think when there isn’t transparency people’s minds tend to go to all the darker places more than they need to. I know that I’ve had to clarify some of the information that was out in the community in regards to how much councillors make, which was thought to be $300,000 a year. So, just clarifying and having transparency in council and being out in the community as a councillor. Being open and approachable definitely helps. But being open and being honest are definitely important.”

Describe what you believe to be a bad decision made by the previous council.
“That’s a really tough one because I think you can see things from both sides and I don’t think I have enough information on any of the decisions that council has made to honestly say that there was a negative decision made. They take into consideration first the advice of the administration which is done in consultation with everybody in the community and the right committees depending on what kind of decision is being made. I don’t really see that any of the decisions were wrong, especially because I don’t have enough information on any of them.”

Describe what you believe to be a good decision made by the previous council.
“The Caroline HUB project is something I hold dear to my heart. I worked on that project and I’m very, very happy with councils’ decision to take commitment for that project and financial consideration for the ongoing expenses and function of the building.”


Diana Spencer

 “We need to focus on our needs, not on our wants.”

Diana Spencer has worked in law, corporate services, pipefitting and fabrication, and project management. She has lived in Clearwater County for six years, and says she wants to know where her tax money is spent.
“I want to know the decisions, and how they’re made, and if they’re made in the best long-term interest of myself and the community.”

What big budget items should or shouldn’t be funded, and why?
“One of the things with budgets, we’re always going to see it, is roads. That’s the common denominator issue for the people. It’s something that we all use. Our roads see a great amount of use whether it’s local traffic. Roads are something in particular that people can see the money being spent on. It’s one of the necessary evils that we all understand. When we see the budget and we see these big dollar figures spent on roads and then we see a pothole, we get upset, and that’s a good thing. Roads are something that will always be in the budget and we will always have to keep improving on.”

Is there a specific municipal policy you feel will need immediate attention from the incoming council?
 “All policies always need to be reviewed continuously. You need to be looking for your efficiencies, your redundancies. People have a habit of adding, adding, adding and they forget to take away. Change happens, it’s imminent, it’s not about change itself but how we manage the change. Policies should be continuously reviewed. More specifically, some of the policies about our public participation or maybe the engagement of the public and how that’s dealt with. Maybe a review as we grow and our community gets larger, we’ll have to look at our community and protective services policy.

Describe a bad decision made by the previous /current council, and why you believe it was bad.
 ““I was always taught there are no bad decisions. But … in this case this was just a bad decision. The people spoke. I am not wrong in saying that a few hundred people stood in a room and spoke and did not want a large monument building going up, and let’s face it, our once great economy is now collapsing. This is not the time to be spending our reserves without looking at other issues that need to be taken care of first, whether it’s our lagoons or roads. So they lose on two aspects. A, it’s not the time, the economy doesn’t justify it. And B, the fact that so many people voiced their opinion that they did not want this and the plans were laid to go through, it sounds like they didn’t listen to the people. That’s a loss of trust. We need to focus on direct growth. We need to focus on our needs, not on our wants.”

Describe a good decision made by the previous/current council, and why you believe it was good.
 “I’ve seen a lot of the planning, within the strategic plan, the encouragement of the development and growth. They’re setting up initiatives that will enhance the attractiveness of our community. We need to give our youth a reason to stay, to have their careers here at home. That’s so important for our growth. Therefore by encouraging development hopefully some of the infrastructure, business development programs, will help that, as well as the strong partnership with the county, Rocky and Caroline and any of the outlying hamlets. That itself strengthens the community and the economy. There is strength in unity. That key itself will help our economic growth. I think it’s a good thing that they are encouraging growth and development.