| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013 04:45 pm
A former city council member, school board trustee and federal and provincial candidate has been persuaded to take another run for a St. Albert council seat.
Bob Russell, 82, announced this week he would seek election Oct. 21.
“I've had delegations coming to our home,” Russell said.
While he initially resisted the encouragement to run again – he said he's served four terms on council in the past – the persuasive delegations and a few issues he's unhappy with finally convinced him to campaign once again.
Those issues range from the school site allocation issue to the Villeneuve Airport to vexation over utility bills. That last one is what Russell described as the “one real trigger” that got him to run, when his wife brought out the bills and showed him how much non-consumption related fees have gone up in the past few years.
“In the last two years it's gone up 23 per cent,” Russell said. “That one really got to me.”
Planning is another area Russell is concerned with.
“I want to get the MPC (municipal planning commission) back,” he said.
Russell pointed to the recent school site allocation issue, and advanced the idea that the new francophone regional high school would never have been approved for the Eldorado Park site without a traffic assessment done first if an MPC had existed.
He would like to see more long-term planning take place in the city, “so we know what we're doing.”
The Villeneuve Airport is near and dear to Russell's heart. As a member of the Villeneuve Airport Regional Task Force, he wants to see it expanded and is upset at the position taken by the mayor with regards to the Villeneuve area structure plan, a no vote at the Capital Region Board because of population growth.
Russell also wants to see a better relationship grow with Sturgeon County.
“We've got a lot to talk about,” Russell said.
Russell has had a long history in politics, continues to work as a paralegal and worked as a realtor for 25 years, during which he took legal courses. Russell has experience appearing before municipal planning commissions and with development, his biography says.
His last council attempt was in 2007, when he was 11th out of 13 candidates. In addition to his previous council terms he was a school board trustee twice for St. Albert Protestant Schools, is the former leader of the Alberta Liberals and has taken unsuccessful runs at both provincial and federal seats.
He has been involved in many different volunteer roles, including the St. Albert & District Garden Club, the chamber of commerce, Villeneuve Airport Regional Task Force, driving handicapped people to the food bank, providing volunteer assistance to legal aid in Edmonton, a member of the St. Albert Historical Society and other committees and volunteer roles.
Russell was a recipient of the Queen's Jubilee Medal. He's lived in St. Albert for 50 years, and is married with three children and five grandchildren.