McGeachy aims to three-peat in Sturgeon

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Incumbent has praise for Rigney and Kluthe but slams leadership of others on council

County residents should support Mayor Don Rigney this fall instead of his “wannabe” opponent if they want the county to flourish, said council candidate Don McGeachy this week.

McGeachy, 55, announced this week that he will seek a third consecutive term in office as Division 1 councillor in this fall’s county election. First elected in 2007, McGeachy is a full-time councillor and longtime county resident.

“I take this position very seriously and believe it is a privilege to represent the citizens of Sturgeon County,” he said.

McGeachy said he was an active member of the River Valley Alliance, regional economic development commission, and subdivision and development appeal board during his most recent term in office. He is also a key member of the Sturgeon Valley area structure plan committee.

As chair of the Capital Region Northeast Water Services Commission, McGeachy led regional governments to commit up to $10 million to twin the water line between Redwater and the Sturgeon Industrial Park – a move he said should allow for significant growth in the region.

“Our phones are literally ringing off the hook in our economic development department,” he said.

While he expressed “significant frustration” at being on the wrong side of 4-3 votes in council, McGeachy said he has consistently voted in support of low or no tax hikes during the last three budgets. He had also supported significant road construction in his region, including upgrades to Sunnyside Road.

His first term in office was more successful than the second, he continued, as the 2008 recession put many projects on hold.

“There’s a lot of unfinished business,” he said.

Still, the recent sanctioning of the North West upgrader should bring huge benefits to the region.

“Everyone will benefit from this,” he said.

His top priority if re-elected would be to make the county a leader when it comes to managing major developments such as the upgrader.

But it’s tough to provide leadership when you don’t have the votes, he continued. He harshly criticized (without naming) Couns. Ken McGillis, Karen Shaw, Joe Milligan and Tom Flynn, calling the latter a “wannabe” mayor, and said that they had shown “no leadership at all” during the last term.

“They’ve allowed administration to lead them around,” he said. “We really haven’t accomplished much in the last three years.”

The county is at risk of losing its economic advantage without strong leadership, McGeachy said – leadership he, Coun. David Kluthe and Mayor Don Rigney provided last term.

“Leadership is not taking people where they want to go. It’s showing people and taking them where they ought to go,” he said.

The county needs to get back on course, McGeachy said, and he hopes voters will grant him a third term so he can help Rigney make that course correction.

“I want (the county) to be the best place for my children to continue their lives.”

He hopes that residents will come out in droves this election to vote and grant the next council a strong mandate to govern.

“You can vote for me or vote for anyone, so long as you vote,” he said.

The Gazette will profile other candidates as they come forward.

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Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.