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Red Deer Byelection profile: Mark Collings

Byelection will be held April 22

Downtown renewal is the biggest issue facing Red Deer in city council candidate Mark Collings’ view.

“I have been on several city committees over the past 10 years that have focused on this issue,” says Collings. “Some progress has been made, such as the Ross Street Patio, but there is much to do.

“Making the downtown an attractive shopping district offering unique retail and service offerings is paramount. We need people living in the downtown, so new residential and retail properties need to be built,” he says.

“I worked 30 years ago as an awning installer in Nelson, B.C. on their downtown renewal. Today, Nelson attracts over a million visitors per year. They come to see the downtown which is safe, walkable, built on human scale and offers excellent retail offerings, restaurants, arts and culture events.

“We can do the same here. To do so will require a team effort, the involvement of business, community services, community groups, developers and the public.”

Collings would bring a background in project management and producing to the council table.

“I’ve worked mostly in broadcast television and interactive media or IT. As a television producer, I am responsible for building the team that will run the production and finding and connecting with the people who will be featured in the programs.”

Those experiences have helped him develop his key strengths: seeking consensus, team building and project development.

As a councillor he can also draw on the experience gained from a career that has involved extensive travel and working with a wide variety of people, leaving him with a network of associates he can turn to for ideas, input and support.

Collings sees the most important roles for a councillor as working with other councillors and the community to find the best ways to oversee the management and development of the city.

“More importantly it includes serving people. We have a increasingly diverse community with unique and varied needs. We also have issues such as addiction and mental health that require community response and care.”

Collings does not support introducing party politics into municipal government.

“Political parties are corporations and the members of the party follow the dictates and policies of the corporation,” he says.

“Municipal politics is tied to community conscience, community needs and consensus, not corporate objectives and policies. I do not feel political party affiliation for municipal representative is valuable or needed as it is founded on party policies, and not founded on the voice and needs of our community.”

Paul Cowley

About the Author: Paul Cowley

Paul grew up in Brampton, Ont. and began his journalism career in 1990 at the Alaska Highway News in Fort. St. John, B.C.
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