Lacombe needs to grow.
Lacombe City council candidate Grant Harder said that Lacombe needs to grow as a city or it will be left behind by other communities in the area.
Right now, Lacombe’s lack of growth in all areas (residential, industrial and especially commercial) is a big concern for Harder, he said.
He added that Lacombe is being overtaken in terms of growth by other communities in Central Alberta like Blackfalds and Sylvan Lake.
“We’re being outpaced severely,” said Harder.
“My fear is if we don’t get our act together and stimulate more growth in Lacombe we’re going to get left behind.”
Commercial growth is one area of special concern for Harder.
He said that the City needs to work with businesses in order to bring that growth to Lacombe.
“You can make it easier for businesses to do business in Lacombe.”
Harder said that it’s not enough to do things within Lacombe’s city limits to make things easier or more attractive for businesses.
Lacombe should be actively seeking out businesses to come to the City as well.
“You have to sell Lacombe,” said Harder.
He added that he believes Lacombe can compete with other communities for businesses on a global scale and should start acting that way.
He said that if there is a reason businesses are bypassing Lacombe when looking for locations, the City needs to find out why that is and adjust its plan accordingly. Harder went on to say he would like to see Lacombe increase its presence in things like trade fairs in order to tell people why they should come to Lacombe and bring their businesses to the City.
In addition to supporting commercial growth in Lacombe, Harder said he would continue to support Lacombe’s arts community should he be elected to council. Harder stressed that, while much of his involvement in the community has been related to the arts, it is not the only aspect of Lacombe he wishes to improve as councillor.
“Obviously part of my personal passion is the arts and I will continue to strongly support the arts,” said Harder, “But that’s not the only thing I want to support.”
In fact, Harder said he does not want to support any one thing in particular as councillor.
Instead, he said Lacombe needs to be a balanced community.
Harder said he has always had an interest in local politics. He added that, while it might seem cliché, Lacombe has been very good to him and his family and he sees this as a way to give back to the community.
“It just seems like the natural thing to do.” He added that a lot of people have encouraged him to run and so he has finally “Succumbed to the peer pressure.”
Harder said he considers himself someone who is good at long-term planning. He added that he is good at seeing the bigger picture while at the same time not losing track of the finer details.
Common sense and prudent decision-making are other traits that Harder said would make him a good councillor.
He also mentioned that he has a tendency to stick to his guns and will not be a “political willow” and simply flip-flop his stance on important issues based on what is popular at the time.