Incumbent Lacombe County Councillor for Division 5 – Ken Wigmore – has entered the municipal election race.
Voters head to the polls Oct. 16th.
Wigmore is now in his 13th year on County council, having first been elected in 2004.
“I was looking for a change in what I was doing – my life and my careers,” he said, reflecting on his initial delving into municipal politics. “I had an interest in politics at this level, so I took that interest and the opportunity was there.
“I believe that we have a good council and administration – they work very well together and there is very little conflict,” he said. “I enjoy meeting people, learning about new things, and seeing things move forward,” he said.
Wigmore had his own plumbing and electrical contracting business out by Gull Lake. “We retired that in 2011.”
Much of his work was in the agriculture sector, which meant he had plenty of opportunities to check in with Lacombe County constituents and hear what the issues were through the years. “You’d get to know what their thoughts and concerns were,” he said.
Currently, Wigmore said major issue these days revolve around storm water systems and wastewater, and also efforts to protect local lakes and the local environment. Also, continuing to work with and support farmers across the County is critical as well.
“I think drainage is one of the big things, and the price of land,” he said, referring to other issues and concerns on the agricultural landscape.
“Environmental issues – protecting our water bodies, protecting our lakes,” he said, adding there are ongoing issues over water – groundwater and wastewater.
As to some of County’s accomplishments over the past while, Wigmore pointed to the Municipal Development Plan and the land use bylaws which were just completed are examples of well-done projects by County staff an council as a whole.
“Lacombe County has put lots of effort and lots of dollars into developing trails, and people are really starting to appreciate those too.” The County also has a solid relationship with the City of Lacombe, which contributes to a partnership that gets results, too. “I don’t remember a time that I’ve been on council when it (the relationship) wasn’t good,” he said.
“Lacombe County works very hard to keep a positive relationship with all of its urban partners,” he said. “All of our urban partners, from villages to cities within the County, have a lot of recreation needs. So we need to work with them on that, too.”
Wigmore also pointed out that moving forward, the goal is also to bolstering dialogue and working with partners outside of the County. “That’s one of the big issues. It is mandated by the province, so we have to have meetings with them.
“I also think expanding our industrial and commercial opportunities or tax base within the County is needed – something I’d like to work on,” he said, adding he’s also like to see more communication and more working with urban partners within the County.
Meanwhile, Wigmore is looking forward to the coming weeks as the election draws nearer, and people in general become more engaged with the campaigning process and start taking a closer look at what the various candidates have to say.
“You get the input of the people; you get their thoughts, you get to discuss things. We can’t be everything to everybody but we can certainly do our best to listen to people and take their comments to heart,” he said. “It’s a great thing to be able to sit across the kitchen table and to discuss different ideas and different things,” he said.
“I think I’m very fortunate – we have an excellent administration and workforce at the County and they help us out tremendously,” he said. “It’s our job to listen to the people; to the ratepayers and to pass it on to them, and it’s their job to look after it from there,” he explained.
As for what contributes to making him a strong candidate, Wigmore points to his extensive experience on council which includes sitting on a number of board and committees over the years as well.
“One of the things that I really enjoy doing is learning about different topics – we spend a fair amount of time going to conferences and seminars to be better educated on how to proceed or react to comments,” he said. “I do my best for the ratepayer – I take their concerns forward,” he added.