Sylvan Lake’s mayoral race is off to an early start.
Coun. Dale Plante announced his intention on Tuesday to run against incumbent mayor Susan Samson.
The one-term councillor said he decided to run for the top job because of his passion for the community, which he jokes has made him a “shameless promoter of the town.”
“I’m not afraid to lead the town through some changes and challenges that I believe are inevitable for the town,” said Plante, 53, a realtor and businessman.
“I believe that I’m really decisive and determined and I have a real conviction about stuff here in town.
“I welcome open dialogue on issues because I really believe that different points of views can find better solutions.”
Plante said a mayor should play a key role in working with council and take a consultative approach to developing a collective position on key issues, such as ensuring infrastructure keeps pace with growth.
“That’s going to take some real creative planning,” he said. “As we plan towards a town of 20,000 we have to re-identify what are we as a town.’
“We are not a lake with a town on it. We’re a town that happens to have a great lake.”
He believes his business background, which involves starting a number of companies, will serve him well as mayor.
Plante is married and has two daughters and a son.
It comes as no surprise to Samson that she will face a challenger, and expects more will come forward.
“In Sylvan Lake (elections have) always been interesting. We always have 12 to15 — minimum — candidates who want to sit on council, and we always have three or more people who want to be the mayor.”
Samson, 58, said she wants to come back because there is a lot of work left to be done.
“I’ve been involved in quite a few projects that are not finished, and won’t be finished by the time the election rolls around.”
Number one on the list is the ongoing campaign to convince the province to back an urgent care centre in the community.
“We need to make some major inroads, just in terms of the acceptance of the real need that’s here.”
Samson also wants to be around to help push the project forward to redevelop the town’s multiplex facility.
“It’s going to take strong leadership to develop a facility of that size and nature,” she said. It is part of an ongoing effort to build the community and its infrastructure to attract young families.
Also high on the agenda is continuing to advocate for green initiatives and oversee stewardship of the lake.
Samson remains enthusiastic about the job, which she has held since 2007.
“The work never ends. It’s been great, and challenging.”
Samson is married with a grown daughter.