Candidates unveil their platforms at meeting
Okotoks: List of people vying for town council seat growing
By: Don Patterson
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013 06:00 am
Water, growth, recreation and building on Okotoks’ sustainable track record were all on the minds of prospective town council candidates last week.
Almost 20 people attended an informational meeting hosted by the Town of Okotoks for people considering running in the Oct. 21 municipal election.
While those in attendance included current and former councillors, former candidates and even residents who won’t be running in the election, several at the meeting announced their intention to make a run for a seat at the council table.
Jared McCollum, owner of Healing Elements, said Okotoks is a well-run community and he wants to help lead the town into the future.
“I’m here benefiting from all the good that these people have done and I think it’s my turn to help out and get involved,” he said.
It will be McCollum’s first time running for council, but not his first campaign. He ran in the 2008 federal election as a candidate for the Green Party.
McCollum said he wants to bring a younger perspective to council to represent the thousands of families with young children who call Okotoks home.
He said the Town hasn’t been doing enough to live up to its ideals as a sustainable community. He wants the Town to take new steps to control development and building process to ensure more is done to conserve energy and water.
Okotoks resident Tanya Thorne said the Town needs a plan for future growth and development. She said the lack of a firm plan has resulted in inaction in the past few years.
“I think we need to start planning, we’re a community that’s done a lot of planning in the past, but somewhere along the way we’ve stopped thinking forward,” said Thorne, a former sales manager for a local agricultural technology company.
She said Okotoks is beyond the critical point for its water supply and the Town needs make a decision on what it will do.
Thorne wants to work to develop Okotoks’ business sector by moving away from attracting more big-box stress and building the employment base in the community.
“We need to keep some of our talent that’s driving everyday to Calgary, we need to keep that talent in our local community,” she said.
She said the Town also needs to ensure a wider range of housing is available to meet the diverse range of needs in the community.
Realtor Nicole Watkins is taking her second run at a seat on council.
“I feel I have a voice that I can lend to the community that I feel would benefit the community,” she said.
The Okotoks realtor said it’s time to “shake-up” council with some new blood and fresh faces. With councillors Stephen Clark and Laurie Hodson not seeking re-election, she said it presents an opportunity for new people to join council.
“There will be some tough shoes to fill but I’m up for that task,” she said.
Watkins said she’s still putting her campaign platform together, but said growth and planning for the future are key issues.
“Obviously, water is always an ongoing issue I think we need to be mindful of,” she said.
Geneva Clark said she wants to contribute to the decision making process on council.
“I’ve been in Okotoks over 16 years, I love the town, I love the feeling of the town, I love the people in the town,” said Clark, who is married to outgoing Coun. Stephen Clark.
Clark said she shares many of the same concerns of others when it comes to growth and infrastructure.
“My issues are like everybody else’s issues,” she said. “We have the water issues, we don’t have enough sports facilities for the Town.”
Clark said she also wants to bolster flood protection measures in Okotoks.
“We did good last time, when we had the flood, can we do better and be more prepared next time,” she said.
Candidates must submit their nomination papers at the Town council chambers on Sept. 23 between 10 a.m. and noon. Council candidates also need to pay a $100 deposit, while anyone running for mayor must pay a $500 deposit.