Running for city council?

Are you thinking about running for a Red Deer city councillor seat? It’s not very glamourous to be a member of council — but it matters, a lot.

Are you thinking about running for a Red Deer city councillor seat?

It’s not very glamourous to be a member of council — but it matters, a lot.

Municipal government impacts everyone’s everyday life more than any other level of government because it’s all about where people live.

Municipal government runs the show that brings you essentials like clean water, a sewage system and storm water drainage. City parks, for people and dogs, roads and sidewalks and their maintenance such as snow removal, policing and that other big emergency service, firefighting, are all provided by the City of Red Deer.

But it’s more than this.

What’s a hometown without things like a good library, a development standard that puts trees and sports fields in every new neighbourhood, or a vision for the future about what kind of place you want to live in, such as a rejuvenated, lively downtown?

Nomination day is Sept. 23 and the election is on Oct. 21. For the first time, the term on council will be four years, instead of the long-standing three.

A number of incumbent and new candidates have declared already.

This year the city’s municipal election is guaranteed to be more interesting than usual because we will have a new mayor since Morris Flewwelling has decided not to run again, and there will be a plebiscite that could result in council changing from an at-large system to a ward system.

The question: Do you want the City of Red Deer divided into wards? will appear on the ballot in October.

If you are running for a councillor seat, here’s an instant pop-up platform to help you get one of those seats (which will be worth about $55,000 a year in salary, after the October election):

• Throw your support loud and strong behind an indoor year round market. The (privately-run) seasonal public market downtown is Red Deer’s No. 1 attraction. A year-round market not only would attract city residents, it would also attract people from the surrounding area continually, and probably a lot of convention people continually visiting the city. The city needn’t run it but it could offer other kinds of support and some start-up assistance and promotion.

• Turn Red Deer’s reputation as crime-ridden city around. The city doesn’t deserve this reputation. You won’t have to spend an extra nickle on policing. Just get out there and defend the city, every chance you get, as a safe place to live. For the most part it is.

• Synchronize the lights on all major roads, not just 30th Avenue. Promote the need for fewer traffic lights in new areas, but more traffic lights that include a left-turning sequence.

• You’ll get big points if you see to it that there’s fireworks on New Year’s Eve at Bower Ponds. Last New Year’s, thousands attended the ponds because there were fireworks and other activities. Sadly, it was a one-time thing to ring in the city’s centennial.

• Embrace the importance of another Collicutt Centre (with a different name of course, and a big private sector investment to go with that name). This is, after all, a city of nearly 100,000.

• If you are brave enough to support the ever-contentious bike lanes, be prepared to take heat and stand by your conviction. Voters will take conviction over wishy washy any day. You might win those anti-bike people over by proposing the return of the two free coupons to the landfill every taxpayer received annually until city council put an end to it.

• Support free transit passes for seniors. Convince voters to look at it this way: it will help take the pressure off the handibus system. A lot of seniors actually vote. You could draw handy support on this idea, which, by the way, is offered in other cities, such as Fort McMurray.

• Finally, know your community.

Mary-Ann Barr is Advocate assistant city editor. She can be reached by email at barr@bprda.wpengine.com or by phone at 403-314-4332.

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