Where is St. Albert's clear vision?
| Posted: Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 06:00 am
As readers of the Gazette will notice with an amusing story this week, elections, promises and the politicians who make them really haven’t changed all that much in St. Albert since 1971, regardless of what incumbents, challengers or special interest groups would have you believe.
The clichés continue.
In line with the fact that, the more things change, the more they stay the same, voters heard plenty of promises about cutting taxes, eliminating crime, getting rid of city departments and, of course, those dastardly civil servants, but few, if any, of the candidates for St. Albert city council have delineated a clear vision for the city’s future. Vision meaning a clear, concise image of a St. Albert growing and prospering over the next 20 or so years, and ideally not at the expense of its neighbours.
Look at Edmonton. Even with the issues the big city faces, there’s a vision for the downtown core.
Interestingly, one of the most critical issues facing St. Albert, regional co-operation, was barely mentioned during Tuesday’s chamber of commerce forum.
Mayoral challenger Biermanski stated she would foster a positive relationship with community neighbours, which she feels is a government responsibility.
Incumbent Mayor Nolan Crouse defined himself as a co-operative leader in regional planning.
Clichés again. Talk is cheap, actions speak louder than words. The state of regional co-operation is pathetic, and the future of St. Albert lies in regional co-operation. If growth occurs, it will be because the city has worked positively and productively with partners like Sturgeon County, without playing the “Our voters will always come first” card.
Those in office forget that residents of Sturgeon County own businesses in St. Albert, and plenty of St. Albert residents work in Sturgeon County. The same goes for Morinville.
Taxes have been a recurring theme since 1971, but what have our politicians done about it? What did the last council do about it? We could all be dead before the employment lands are developed. What is the economic development and planning vision? How is the public included?
St. Albert’s tax ratio sits woefully at about 91 per cent residential to nine per cent commercial/industrial. Many council candidates have said they’d like to pursue the longtime goal of an 80-20 split. But how? It’s easy enough to claim progress and point fingers at others during an election, but what is the city doing to make itself attractive to industrial businesses?
The vision is very blurry.