Having recently released its latest census showing Blackfalds population has now reached 7,275, there are some interesting times ahead for the Town.
As such, Mayor Melodie Stol is looking forward to the challenges and opportunities ahead as she once again runs for mayor.
“We are coming into this really exciting time for Blackfalds,” said Stol. She said with new facilities like the Abbey Centre coming online and economic growth in the commercial sector, Stol hopes to continue working to improve Blackfalds in those areas.
Looking back, 1998 was the first year Stol ran for council. She said she was looking for ways to get more involved in her community and she thought council might be interesting. Stol added that at the time, there were some developments happening in her neighbourhood and she thought council would also be a good way to learn more about the development process.
“At that time I was a stay-at-home mom with two kids and I found the politics of Town council to be very interesting. So I used to go and just watch council meetings quite often just to see what was going on in the community.”
Stol has been on council since then. In 2007, she became mayor and hopes to serve a third term as such.
Stol said she decided to run for mayor after serving three terms on council and wanting to find new challenges. She added that she thought being mayor would fit well with her personal strengths, such as public speaking.
Regional projects are another strength for Stol, she said. She added that she has done a lot of work on regional projects such as the regional sewer and water lines and hopes that citizens recognize how such projects will benefit the community.
“I hope the people see that the strength of Blackfalds will be enhanced working regionally. I really tried to build a reputation over the years as being someone who does that.”
Stol said she hopes that the people of Blackfalds recognize her strengths fit well with the role of mayor and that she will continue to strive to achieve what is best for the community.
“I hope that over the years that whether people have 100 per cent agreed with me or not, they have seen I have an open mind towards issues,” said Stol.
“I don’t try to come in with an it’s my way or the highway kind of thing because that definitely doesn’t work in local politics. “You have to be able to listen and respond to the community. And I hope that I have done that.”
Local politics and how municipalities resolve issues and improve their communities is important to Stol.
“I just have a real interest in local politics because it is the level of government closest to the people.” She added that it is important to remember that council is made up of individuals from the communities they represent.
“So often in politics today, people take an ‘us versus them’ kind of attitude, one side against the other. I don’t really care for that. Local government is an extension of the community.”
Stol went on to say that councillors are elected to handle a diverse range of requests from the public and she enjoys coming up with the best solution for each.