MacKay to run for second term

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First councillor to announce re-election plans

Cam MacKay will seek a second term on St. Albert’s city council, the first sitting councillor to announce another run for office.

MacKay announced Thursday he would run again. To date only Mayor Nolan Crouse has said he will run again.

Elected in 2010, MacKay said there are a few more issues he wants to tackle on council.

“I guess it comes down to if you think you can make a good impact for the community,” MacKay said. “I thought about that a bit and the answer is yes. I think back and ask if this is something I want to do again and the answer is yes.”

At 37, MacKay was the youngest member of the last council and made his mark as one of the most fiscally conservative members of council.

“Any kind of change in the system is not easy,” MacKay said he learned in his first term. “There’s a lot of vested interest in keeping things the same way it’s always been.”

MacKay says there are several issues he would like to see addressed, starting with revamping the city’s utility policy. MacKay has been a long-time proponent of ditching the 100-year utility model the city uses, which charges customers today for future utility capital purchases, in favour of using debt.

“I would prefer to see an all-borrowing model really because it allocates the cost to the person who is actually using it,” MacKay said, likening it to buying a house. “If I had to save the money up to buy a home we’d never be living in it.”

MacKay also wants to scrap the LRT functional alignment study approved by council in late 2012. The $500,000 study, which would look at where in St. Albert a future LRT line would run, isn’t needed because St. Albert is many decades removed from needing its own LRT line.

“There are so many people in the community I’ve spoken to that have question marks about this,” MacKay said. “I have question marks too. I don’t see how a city our size can support LRT.”

MacKay wants a return to weekly garbage pick-up, and also wants to see organics collected only once a month in the winter, items that could be debated when the waste contract is up for renewal in 2014.

He continues, unlike other members of council, to maintain St. Albert has no need for full-time councillors, saying councillors should be expected to volunteer some of their hours.

But he also wants the public to have more of a say in the city’s affairs. He said he will include in his campaign a proposal floated earlier this year to explore allowing members of the public to somehow vote on council matters in real-time. He shelved the proposal, saying he first wanted to hear more from the public. Most other members of council at the time weren’t supportive of the idea.

“I’m hoping we get a different council with a bit more of an open mind on that topic,” MacKay said. “I’ve just always thought there are two ways these advances in technology can go – we can use them to empower the public or carry on with the same system we’ve got.”

MacKay also wants to see the return of a city planning commission.

The 2013 municipal election will be held Oct. 21.

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