Chris Ross enters the race for Lacombe City council

Ross serves as chair of Lacombe Days and is involved with other community initiatives

Local resident Chris Ross, chair of Lacombe Days, has entered the race for a seat on Lacombe City council.

Residents head to the polls this October.

Ross ran in the last municipal election, but this time around, he said he’s prepared, and has garnered plenty of valuable community experience and connections over the past several years that has helped to make him a much stronger contender for City council in 2017.

“I was born and raised in the Lincoln District northwest of Lacombe – I’m the fourth generation – our family immigrated in 1919,” he said, reflecting on the many changes he has witnessed in Lacombe and the surrounding areas over the years.

“Unless you are directly connected and directly contributing to demonstrating how you would want to make change or contribute to making a community better, you have to prove yourself,” he said.

To that end, Ross joined the Rotary Club of Lacombe Daybreak and he also signed on to serve with the Lacombe Recreation and Culture Board. He’s also chaired the Lacombe Days festival for the past four years as well.

“As chair of Lacombe Days, for example, you go out and prospect for sponsorship. You get out and you connect with the business community,” he said. “You get to hear the feedback from making those connections and meeting more people.”

Currently, Ross works for United Livestock Systems and prior to that, he farmed. Today, in his position with United in particular, he finds valuable opportunities to connect with all kinds of people through his work.

“If you want to contribute to a community it’s about connecting to the community,” he said.

He said another passion he has is a desire to demonstrate that there are a lot of wonderful, very committed people in Lacombe. “They are a valuable asset for information,” he said, adding that is an asset that could certainly be built on moving forward.

He pointed to public surveys that seek the public’s input, but don’t provide results in a timely manner.

“There should be a good timeline of response so that you are demonstrating that the (public) information is important and by having a response and an action plan very soon after the survey, then people would feel that their time was justified to respond to the survey in the first place. A lot of times, there can be a survey, but you might not hear a plan of action for a year or two years later,” he said.

“People can feel like, ‘Why do this – it’s a waste of time’,” he said, adding that the connection between City council and administration and the public as a whole needs to be respected more. “When you are running for council – this is the grassroots of your community.

“You want to contribute to the success and to the moving forward of your community,” he said. “I think that Lacombe has a lot of heritage and a lot of potential,” he said, adding that in general, he feels the community – over the past 15 years of so – has missed out on some opportunities. “You can’t look back, but you can still learn from the past and move forward. I am quite adamant and passionate about wanting to move things forward.

“With economic development, I think that there’s a lot of input that is available from your local developers and realtors. Collaboratively, I want to improve the perception in Lacombe that we are here for business,” he said.

“It’s about relationships,” he added, pointing to building that business-friendly atmosphere all the more in the City. “Those ties and those connections are vital, and I’m a believer that you have to be more aggressive to make those connections.

And given the opportunity, he would also look forward to working with the City’s new CAO (Dion Pollard, who was just appointed on April 24th of this year).

As to the campaign period ahead, Ross said he’s looking forward to meeting more people and to creative discussion that can flow from that. “I think I’ve got some positive ideas about preserving our heritage, to expand downtown, to try and make connections with the right people in place to bring more business and industry into Lacombe. It’s a great community with a lot to offer.

“I also think some new faces on council would bring some new energy, some new ideas, some more debate,” he said. “I’m a people person, I’m compassionate – and when it’s your grassroots, you want to see success.”

mark.weber@reddeerexpress.com