Infrastructure deficits are an important election issue for the mayors of two of the largest municipalities in the Rocky Mountain House-Rimbey-Sundre riding.
Fred Nash, Rocky Mountain House mayor, and Rick Pankiw, Rimbey mayor, both pointed to the deficits as the top priority for them ahead of the May 5 Alberta election.
“Like everybody else, we have infrastructure deficits,” said Nash, who mentioned the need for a new hospital in the town of about 7,500 people.
Pankiw shared a similar concern for lagging infrastructure in his community, something he says is really a concern provincewide.
“Where’s the money coming for our infrastructure?” asked Pankiw.
Another recurring theme that both mayors mention is the need for open, transparent and fair government.
Pankiw said Rimbey’s industry is primarily oil and agriculture. The falling price of oil has raised employment concerns in his town.
“With the price of oil a lot of companies have laid off people. What is our government going to do for these people without jobs?” said Pankiw. “We’ve come up with 59 new taxes, fees or licences. How is that going to help the average working individual?
“Those are the answers I’m looking for.”
Pankiw also hopes the MLA elected for the region will keep Rimbey in mind. He said in the past, the MLA has set up constituency offices in Sundre and Rocky Mountain House and largely forgotten about his town of about 2,300.
The deadline for candidates to file to run in the election is Friday. So far, no Liberal Party or Alberta Party candidate has been declared for the riding that stretches from Rocky Mountain House all the way to the B.C. border and goes, south as far as Sundre and north to O’Chiese First Nation.
Incumbent MLA Joe Anglin, who sits as an independent, is facing challenges from Jason Nixon of the Wildrose Party, Hannah Schlamp of the NDP and Tammy Cote of the Progressive Conservatives. Anglin was elected as a Wildrose member in 2012, but left to sit as an independent on Nov. 2, 2014.
All-candidate forums have been scheduled for April 20 at the Rimbey drop-in centre, at 5110 53rd Ave., at 7 p.m. and on April 23 in Rocky Mountain House at the Legion, at 4911 49th St., at 7 p.m.