Lacombe resident Sandy Douglas has entered the race for a seat on City council as residents head to the polls this October.
“I’m very proud of this town,” said Douglas. “I think it’s a wonderful community, and I believe that the most important asset that we have – apart from the people themselves – is our absolutely ideal, if not perfect central geographic location. We are central to everything – all things Alberta. I don’t think we’ve done a good enough job promoting that very fact.
“We could be the hub of everything if we really pushed the issue – we really could be,” he said, adding that ultimately, he doesn’t believe the City isn’t fulfilling its potential in that particular regard.
He said that at one time, Lacombe was referred to as the ‘crossroads of the parkland’ and that’s a phrase that Douglas would like to see in use again currently.
“That’s what we are.”
Douglas ran in the last municipal election, and he added that he has extensive roots in the community via family as well.
He pointed out that many candidates have been emphasizing the need to grow the business sector and commercial development overall in Lacombe.
“I absolutely agree with that.” The question is how is that done? Douglas would like to see significant broadening of services and specific establishments and facilities that would cover everything from all types of sports training to an array of performing arts educational opportunities as well.
Attracting folks to the community – and that includes young people seeking to learn and to refine their skills for their future careers – is a meaningful and effective means of growing Lacombe.
His vision includes to one day see the community – on many levels – as a place where people can receive top quality training in a number of areas.
Douglas said he is also of course open to dialogue with members of the community about the potential that Lacombe has moving forward.
“I’m interested in everything ‘Lacombe’,” he said. “What can we do to make Lacombe more attractive? We are between two international airports,” he said, indicating the relatively easy access people have to the community.
Douglas would also like to see the establishment of a dayliner line that would include Lacombe, connecting it to Edmonton, Calgary and Red Deer.
With the growing amount of traffic on the QEII Hwy. it seems like a viable option, he said.
This is where an emphasis on enhancing tourism in the community comes in as well – a convenient way to get to Lacombe could very well bring new visitors to town as well. “I’m trying to think of any ideas to get more people to come to Lacombe,” he said. “If you are going to do the train route, why would Lacombe capitalize on that and be right in the centre of it all?
“This is what I want to do – to come to the City council table with enthusiasm to promote Lacombe.”
Douglas also pointed out that he is adamant when it comes to the issue of ‘blind’ voting at council with the results to be shown immediately afterwards. He said at times, it’s too easy for some councillors to be influenced by other ones when it comes to a given issue that’s being voted on.
“They may want to vote the opposite, but they look around the room and everyone is voting this way their hand goes up.”
He’s also like to see bolstered accessibility for the public to council members – perhaps via a kind of forum prior to meetings. “People could come and talk to council members prior to a meeting,” he explained.
“I think City council needs to be more accessible, more accountable, more transparent and certainly some if not all City departments need to be more accountable and transparent.”
Meanwhile, Douglas, who was born in Lacombe, said he is excited about the future of the City – pointing also to having a new CAO coming onboard this year, as well as the changes that could be in store this October.
He’s also looking forward to connecting with more people as the campaign period continues to heat up, adding he want to be among those who represent ‘a face for change’.
“I want to be an effective councillor.”
That of course include a new mayor as well as Steve Christie announced this spring he will not be running for re-election.
The municipal election is set for Oct. 16th.