What's old is new again
Taking a walk down memory lane with brochures, campaign materials from elections past
| Posted: Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 06:00 am
Voters in the St. Albert municipal election might be forgiven if they feel like they've heard the same promises and issues all before.
Flipping through old campaign brochures from mayoral and council candidates from years past, the same themes seem to keep coming back.
Consider the Gibbon Booster, published during the 1971 election as part of Ray Gibbon's campaign for mayor.
In it, he says his personal priorities include commercial development downtown, neighbourhood shopping facilities, river area beautification, expanded youth facility, decreasing debt repayment and keeping the mill rate stable.
Donald Bull was one of Gibbon's competitors, and wrote a letter to voters raising concerns about a lack of public communication and utility rates.
“Mismanagement has reached an avalanche condition and developers are coming to St. Albert because of the cheaper utility costs. Cheaper for them – not the taxpayer,” Bull wrote. He said taxpayers were picking up the tab for developers, flagged St. Albert's increasing liabilities and wrote about the rising tax rates.
Flash forward to Paul Chalifoux's 1998 mayoral run, where he called for an expanded manufacturing base and for a new “sales team” to try and attract new business. In his 2001 campaign materials, he noted surveys and focus groups had been used to check the pulse of the community, and St. Albert is still too dependent on residential taxes.
In 1983, Richard Fowler's campaign brochure promised to work together for the future to “maintain a high quality of services while keeping taxes within affordable limits,” make sure council was responsible to the taxpayers and suggested re-developing the downtown core and attracting more business development to provide jobs for citizens.
In 1989, Anita Ratchinsky also was after a better residential and industrial tax split and was eyeing downtown St. Albert.
“Properly planned revitalization of St. Albert's downtown as a 'people place' is Anita's commitment,” the brochure says.
In 2001, Richard Plain was planning to “create more opportunities for timely and effective public input,” and wanted to “minimize shortcutting through northwestern St. Albert neighbourhoods by revising the staging for the new two-lane western road.”
In 2007, mayoral candidate Garry Woo was calling for synchronizing traffic lights to improve traffic flow, restoring the river valley, and said “as a community, we need homes for those who want to work and live here, for young families and for our seniors.”
In 2010, Shelley Biermanski and Nolan Crouse ran against each other, a pattern repeated this election. Crouse's platform included developing a community engagement policy, continuing a “sustainable economic development plan by attracting more business” and developing a “sustainable taxation and financial plan without compromising current services.” Biermanski's vision included promoting “the value of living in St. Albert by controlling the cost of services and taxes,” focusing on a Sturgeon River clean-up and “improving St. Albert's planned direction by listening to residents.”
Perusal of councillor and alderman candidates' campaign material of the past few decades also revealed similar themes.
The collection of past campaign brochures was provided by Margaret Plain, a former city alderman.