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Questions with the Candidates – Airdrie City council

In the lead-up to the municipal election on Oct. 18, the Airdrie City View editorial team will be asking a weekly question to a group of City council candidates.
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In the lead-up to the municipal election on Oct. 18, the Airdrie City View editorial team will be asking a weekly question to a group of seven City council candidates. The candidates are asked to submit their written answer to the question in 150 words or less. 

This week's question was the following: What does the next council need to do better to improve from the current council?

DarrellBelyk

Darrel Belyk – Council

“The past four years have had some unique challenges, notwithstanding 19 months of the pandemic. It seems that more and more upper government issues are being downloaded to municipalities to deal with both socially and financially. This also includes cutbacks on grants and funding that municipalities rely on. These issues are placing a strain on Airdrie as a city and its taxpayers.

“Although The Alberta Urban Municipality Association is a voice for Alberta municipalities, I would like to see Airdrie City council be more advocacy-driven towards upper governments for what we deserve and what used to be other governments’ responsibilities. I have seen Airdrie as a leader in so many ways over my two terms that I believe the last thing we should do is turn back now, as this would not be for the best interest of the residents of Airdrie.”

MarkSteffler

Mark Steffler – Council

“One area for improvement would be increased and more effective public engagement. COVID has been a challenge, but we seem to be relying more on non-personal modes of communication. Social media and virtual meetings are not effective communication tools for all demographics. More inter-personal and community engagement is required.

“Over my 30-plus-year municipal engineering career, I have worked with many different councils and administrations. From my observations, I feel the current council has operated well as a team, with healthy discussions and respectful debates. Debate is healthy to understand the diversity of issues on topics and disagreements are to be expected.  What is important is that once a decision is reached, council must move ahead as a whole. I have seen several councils where divisions have lead to infighting, inability to progress, and loss of public confidence.” 

LorePerez

Lore Perez – Council

“I am not here to judge the current council, for sure. I think the current council has done as much as they can, as it is in their hands and in their skills and possibilities.

“I would like to invite the next council to be more involved with the community. It is very important to see and get to know who is leading our city. At the moment, I do recall a couple of the council members and our mayor having that personal connection with me and my family. That for sure makes a difference.

“Airdrie is modern and growing, and our city council should reflect this. It is time to bring in young fresh leadership and new ideas. As councillor, I will make sure my door is always open for those who are looking to help in our community and be an advocate for those non profits looking to provide solutions.”

DerrickGreenwood

Derrick Greenwood – Council

“Transparency is very important for me. While the council meetings and minutes are available to see, I think council members need to be very approachable at all times. There are a lot of big projects in the works in Airdrie, and a lot of people that would like updates on these and the opportunity to discuss them. COVID-19 has naturally had a huge impact on what the current council was able to achieve against the priorities set in 2019, and the next term will also be a challenge as we work to recover from it. 

“People understand that these are difficult times, but council needs to be open with Airdrie citizens on the status of these critical projects. While public sessions are great, council should be able to provide more info, more often to more people.” 

HeatherSpearman

Heather Spearman – Council

“I’ve spoken with people across our city and many believe that council has seemingly stopped involving citizens in decision-making. Issues are consistently blamed on a lack of “engagement,” or "passion.” I've heard this, while watching council meetings, and my jaw hits the floor. We need to understand the majority of Airdrie wants more out of their City, and can't be ignored or told to look elsewhere when they ask for services or amenities.

“People pay good money in taxes, and deserve to know the value of what they pay for. The next council will play a critical role in not only driving an economic recovery, but also being the driving force behind strengthening Airdrie’s social fabric. Parents deserve more and kids deserve something to look forward to in their city. I'd like to see city politicians act as engaged after the elections as they do when trying to win them.”

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Jay Raymundo – Council

“Communicate, dream big, and think outside the box. I understand there are budgets, planning, and project management timelines that need to be followed and approved, but I'd like to see the next council reduce red tape and take action in making the changes that Airdrie needs.  

“I'd like to see better communication strategies by using multiple outlets including social media, print, town halls, or an email list for those engaged citizens. We need to start accepting that Airdrie is no longer a small town and start thinking big. If we want to see things change, then we must change the way we see things.

JaclynDorchak

Jaclyn Dorchak – Council

“One improvement that can immediately be made is with communication. Residents deserve the opportunity to be updated on the progress of capital projects or be provided detailed information regarding the decisions being made to know and understand them. Progress reporting is standard practice in many industries. There is no reason why the practice cannot be duplicated in Airdrie. Watching hours of video, writing emails that rarely get returned, or having to hunt for information is frustrating for residents.

“I have seen first-hand how organizational and community culture drastically improve and strengthen when everyone is included in the process in some way. How do we do this? By providing publicly available project background work and progress reports, decision reasoning, councillor voting records, and utilizing more effective means of advertising to increase participation are just some of the ways.”

To see last week's Questions with the Candidates, click here.


Airdrie Today Staff

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