A couple of familiar community members are among the latest to announce they are running for a seat on Red Deer city council in the upcoming election.
Victor Doerksen and Craig Curtis are among those vying for a council spot, along with Steve Coop, Vesna Higham (incumbent), Nicole Lydiard, Liam Milaney, and 24 previously announced candidates.
Doeksen is a former Red Deer MLA, who since leaving provincial politics in 2008, has been a volunteer, investment advisor, former executive-director of the Central Alberta Refugee Effort. He’s now finance director for a local charity.
Doerksen is against mandatory vaccine mandates, calling them divisive: “No one should fear for their jobs or be excluded from society because of a personal health decision.”
His top city priorities are: Maintaining roads, water and sewer infrastructure and recreation trails and facilities, keeping taxes affordable, improving community safety and good planing and development.
Doerksen also believes in removing unnecessary city regulatory burdens on businesses and “keeping it old school,” in terms of delivering “honest work” and dedication.
Curtis is a retired Red Deer city manager with a background in urban design. He helped create Red Deer’s Master Plan for the Waskasoo Park, contributed to the development of the Centrium, and helped plan for the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
Curtis is concerned about issues city council has left “unresolved,” including the planned shutdown of the Safe Harbour temporary homeless shelter without having an alternative solution in place.
He pledges to “fast-track” the delayed construction of the permanent homeless shelter with wrap-around services.
Curtis wants to spur economic development by narrowing the “disparity” between city and county tax rates, attract more large events to the city, and leveraging Red Deer’s central location to attract people working from home for employers in larger centres, saying this city offers a more affordable quality of life.
Curtis supports having more municipal Indigenous hiring and training programs, and is an ally of the LGBTQ+ community. Curtis promises to advocate for better designed seniors housing and for zoning changes to allow for “granny suites” to be added to residential lots, as well as more apartment development.
Coop promises on Facebook to be a progressive candidate who seeks consensus: “No fighting, solve problems through round table discussions and education. We can all get along and work together respectfully.”
Coop has shared environmental concerns and pledges to give five per cent of his salary to local charities, if elected. Coop doesn’t use election signs out of concern for “visual clutter.” He has advocated for military intervention to help reduce COVID deaths in Alberta.
Higham, a retired lawyer, adjudicator, and incumbent two-term city councillor, said she decided to seek re-election “to support a strong family focus at the council table.” She stands for fiscal restraint through prudent spending, a return to economic prosperity through creating a more business-friendly environment, and a strong focus on community safety.
“I make decisions based on what I believe is in the best interests of our community on any issue – let the chips fall as they may,” Higham stated.
“An elected official is first and foremost a public servant, who must be accessible and accountable to the people. I bring integrity, experience, and common sense to the council table,” she added, pledging to be “hard-working, principle-based, caring and committed.”
Lydiard is a nurse manager who wants to “move the dial” to reduce homelessness by studying successful models used by other communities in improving housing outcomes. She also pledges to contact businesses that have left the city to ask why and what it would have taken for them to stay?
Lydiard supports adapting “age friendly” services to help more seniors with their varying needs, and engaging with community partners to promote wellness and inclusion.
Milaney is a mechanical engineer, who likes to approach problems and projects from an “outside-the-box” perspective.
He wants to support small businesses and to encourage new development to grow the economy “by keeping the money local.” Milaney believes the city should reconsider how it spends and saves, in light of the pandemic. He also pledges to tackle the city’s crime and addictions through more community involvement.
Milaney is an advocate of the arts, historical preservation, and parks and recreation, saying all of these are needed to create an attractive cultural community that’s able to draw more residents.
Jason MacDonald previously announced his candidacy, but not his platform. He states he’s a small business owner who has spoken at many charitable events and coaches his kids’ sports teams.
He’s running for council to “try and put the priority back on service to our citizens and our local businesses. I’m committed to growth and change.”
Other council candidates are: Graham Barclay, Kraymer Barnstable, Bruce Buruma, Brenda Campbell, Calvin Campbell, Matt Chapin, Michael Dawe (incumbent), Grace Joy Engel, Sarah Harksen, Hans Huizing, Cindy Jefferies, Sadia Khan, Chad Krahn, Ryan Laloge, Lindsay LaRocque, Lawrence Lee (incumbent), Jozef Mihaly, Sheyi Olubowale, Harish Ratra, Janise Somer, Lisa Spencer-Cook, Dax Williams, and Dianne Wyntjes (incumbent).
The election is on Oct. 18.