Over the last 15 years that I have lived here, the community has grown. I feel we have lost some of the sense of community that was here a decade and a half ago. We must make this an important part of the work of the next term. When residents feel a part of the community, all other aspects of life become easier: volunteerism, community engagement and support for our businesses.
My community-first approach is often taken by some, including some on Council, as an anti-regional approach. This is not the case. As past chair of Northern Lights Library System and current chair of both Roseridge Landfill Commission and Edmonton Metropolitan Regional Board’s Solid Waste Collaborative, I wear my regional or sub-regional hat to the table.
But at the Council table, I wear my Morinville hat, the one that says we must first and foremost look after the interests of our residents.
That means advocating for fair funding from the county for recreation, including the leisure centre, library, and museum. I did that as one of three members of Council, co-creating an agreement that saw an almost tripling of the share we will now receive.
That means not attending this year’s festival when an outside caterer was hired. I went to a local restaurant for breakfast instead.
It means opposing $28,000 for Edmonton International Airport at a time when the majority could not support a 1% reduction in taxes and when many of our businesses were in an open then close state.
It means introducing a Morinville advantage program where our residents get a lead on securing free tickets before County residents do.
Council was given the opportunity to sit on a number of strategic plan focus groups. I chose the strategic plan of finding ways to bring the community together because it meets my vision to restore or build on a sense of community.
I’m interested in doing the following this term:
• Creating real partnerships with community groups where they feel hear, feel a part of the process as opposed to being dictated to.
• Create real community partnerships to get back to putting on festivals that are the envy of the region
• Create a shop local program with a real incentive and not a $50 gift card. Imagine if every time you shopped local you had a chance to win the equivalent of your property taxes back.
• Create opportunities to strengthen and fund volunteerism. Taking tickets at the cultural centre is one way we do this. Let’s expand that type of program to community cleanup and using social media and other marketing avenues to help promote our community groups.
• Continue to advocate for cost-sharing opportunities with the County on fire services.
This list is in no way the extent of what can be done, but it gives you a sense of where I’d like to go.