The woman who took the Heartland Transmission Line to the court says she hopes county residents will vote her back into office this fall.
Coun. Karen Shaw declared last week that she will seek to keep her seat during this fall’s 2013 municipal election. Shaw, a former retail business owner who runs a cow-calf operation, has represented northeast Sturgeon County (Division 6) since 2007.
Shaw portrayed herself as a strong advocate for her residents, pointing to her vocal opposition to the Heartland Transmission Project as an example.
“I’m not afraid to advocate for our residents,” she said.
Shaw launched a legal challenge against that line’s approval that reached the Alberta Court of Appeal (which is one step below the Supreme Court) last year as a private citizen. Judges quashed the case in December.
Shaw said she also held regular telephone and coffee meetings with residents as a councillor to listen to their concerns.
“Being a councillor is a serious commitment, and I place a high priority on issues that affect Division 6.”
Council did a lot of good work this last term, Shaw said, creating its new corporate and strategic plan and an in-depth budget.
“We’re definitely more accountable to residents. We know where the money is going and where it should be going.”
Shaw said she had a lot of projects on the go that she wants to finish during a third term on council.
Chief amongst these is the former Redwater natural area. Residents have clashed repeatedly in recent years over how this area is to be used, Shaw said, as people kept holding parties, shooting guns and riding ATVs irresponsibly in this nature preserve.
“It was the Wild West out there.”
Residents feared that reckless users would soon burn the whole place to the ground, as had often happened in the former Bruderheim natural area.
Shaw said she worked with the province this past term to have this region turned into a provincial recreation area – a change that brings in new, enforceable rules on how it’s used. Fires, target shooting and overnight camping are now banned in the region, and police patrols are now more common. Residents have already seen a noticeable improvement in the region’s condition, she said.
Shaw said she hopes to keep working with residents on this recreation area if re-elected, particularly when it comes to setting up a non-motorized zone in it.
The county also needs to build better relations with its neighbours, Shaw said, and that starts with being willing to talk.
“You have to attend all the meetings and have to debate in a respectful manner.”
Leadership will likely come up for debate during this campaign, Shaw said, but don’t expect any mudslinging to come from her camp.
“I’m going to stick to the high road.”
Shaw said she is a hard-working, open-minded person who is committed to her role as councillor.
“I bleed Sturgeon County, and I’m very proud of where I live.”
The Gazette will profile other candidates as they come forward.