Growth an issue for Foothills candidates
Foothills: Elections to be held in four divisions
By: Don Patterson
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 25, 2013 06:00 am
As the development pressures and populations rise in the MD of Foothills, candidates running for a seat at the municipality’s council table want to ensure it’s done right.
There will be election campaigns in four divisions of the MD in preparation for the Oct. 21 municipal election after nine people stepped forward by Monday’s nomination deadline. Three councillors were acclaimed in their divisions.
Division 1 candidate Rick Percifield said development can’t be stopped, but it needs to proceed responsibly.
“One of my biggest problems is the size of Calgary,” he said. “Every time Calgary grows by 100,000 people, it’s a lot more pressure on development in the MD.”
Percifield joins fellow candidates Shirley Pickering and Colin Woodley in the running to replace outgoing Division 1 Coun. Ralph Nelson.
The Blackie-area farmer admitted to not paying as much attention to MD council over the years, but it changed when the BFI landfill was proposed near Blackie two years ago.
“When that dump tried to come in here it really scared us and you realize just how important it really is,” said Percifield of being involved in local politics.
He said he wants ensure a farmer’s point of view on council and keep further fragmentation of agricultural land to a minimum. He said acreage development needs to be directed to areas that don’t affect agricultural operations.
One of the foothills’ top water experts is also challenging for the Division 1 seat.
Shirley Pickering said the MD’s water resources and how they affect land use decisions need to be a key consideration at the council table.
“We need to be able to understand how growth and development can change the landscape so it affects both the water quantity and water supply,” she said.
Pickering is involved with numerous river advisory boards and committees in southeast Alberta, including the Bow River Basin Water Council and the Oldman River Water Council. She said she wants to lend her expertise to council’s deliberations.
She also wants to ensure the value of the MD’s agricultural land is recognized and protected. She said farmland can’t continue to be fragmented by development.
Pickering said any steps to mitigate the impacts of floods and protect residents needs to be scientifically based. Whether it’s diversion canals or reservoirs, she said each options needs to be closely studied.
Division 5 candidate Brian Saltman said he is concerned about how future development in the area will proceed with increasing development pressure from Calgary and the Calgary Metropolitan Plan.
“I think the particular division that we’re in is going to be under some kind of stress in the next few years from development and the impending Calgary Regional Plan,” said Saltman, who is taking on incumbent Ron Chase.
Saltman has a background in planning having worked for the former Calgary Regional Planning Commission and as a private consultant. He has also served on the MD’s Development Appeals Board.
Saltman said he wants to ensure residents’ concerns are heard and the investments in their property won’t be negatively impacted.
“I think that to date council has done an excellent job of putting the MD’s interest forward in respect to the Calgary Regional Plan and I would like to be a part of that moving forward,” he said.
Elections will also be held in Divisions 2 and 3. In Division 2, incumbent Doug Longson is facing a challenge from Delilah Miller. Division 3 incumbent Barb Castell will defend her seat against Jason Parker.
Division 4 Coun. Suzanne Oel, MD Reeve and Division 7 Coun. Larry Spilak and Division 7 Coun. Ted Mills were all acclaimed.