Two fresh and two familiar faces are joining the competition for a seat on Red Deer city council.
Lawrence Lee and Dianne Wyntjes are the first incumbents to announce they are throwing their hats into the election ring this fall — and so are two new candidates, Kraymer Barnstable and Hans Huizing.
The four will be running against previously announced Red Deer city council candidates Graham Barclay, Matt Chapin, Grace Joy Engel, Sadia Khan, Chad Krahn, Ryan Laloge, Lindsay LaRocque, Sheyi Olubowale, and Janise Somer.
Barnstable, a former Red Deer Rebel hockey player and businessman, said he wants to sit on council because “it’s time to give back.” He’s running on a platform of fiscal responsibility, downtown revitalization, and bringing more jobs to the city.
“The future of Red Deer is our youth. Local kids and teens have been massively affected by the pandemic and policies that hurt them at every turn. We need to support our youth and encourage physical activity and development,” said Barnstable.
Huizing, a public school principal, has sat on many boards and wants to build community alliances to address the city’s biggest issues.
Spurring urban renewal is one of Huizing’s goals. He said he wants to “incentivize” areas of the downtown to encourage more small businesses to open. This could mean providing tax incentives or infrastructure improvements.
Huizing also wants to establish a 311 call centre to handle bylaws complaints, establish a city charter for Red Deer, start a conversation with local community groups about fundraising for a concert hall or other major capital project, and to better acknowledge the inter-connections between policing, mental health and homelessness.
Lee is seeking another term on council to attract new investment and increase employment opportunities. Outside of council work, he is a business owner and entrepreneur.
“I believe in supporting an environment that protects people and allows individuals to be healthy and thrive,” said Lee. He added, “I have built a strong network to deal with initiatives like an expanded hospital, a new seniors care facility, a new courthouse and a polytechnic institution.”
Wyntjes, who has worked in labour relations for 30 years, sees plenty of challenges ahead in the post-pandemic world for hard-hit families and businesses. “Certainly for the next few years it’s going to be about the economy, affordability.”
She wants to use her negotiation and problem-solving skills to continue working with the province and community on building a permanent homeless shelter and more supportive housing, to envision the future of the Michener North site, and in helping resolve the city’s “complex social challenges.”
So far, four candidate have announced they are running for mayor of Red Deer: James Allen, a former cadet who’s held various jobs, joins businessman Dwight Hickey, former oilfield supervisor Brad Magee, and electrician and entrepreneur Jeremy Moore in the race. Incumbent Mayor Tara Veer has not yet revealed whether she’s seeking re-election.
So far, Matt Chapin, Matt Gould, Terri Grills, Meagan Parisian, and Jaelene Tweedle are running for public school trustee seats.
Anne Marie Watson is the first incumbent trustee to declare she’s running for re-election to the Red Deer Catholic School Board. No new candidates have yet come forward.
The municipal election is on Oct. 18.