Brodhead looks ahead to priorities, committee work

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With two months of meetings and one budget under the belt of the new council, the St. Albert Gazette caught up with each council member about what’s coming in 2018 and what they’ve learned so far. Each council member will be featured in upcoming issues.

Fresh into his third term on city council, Coun. Wes Brodhead says he’s excited to get to work on committees and strategic planning.

Brodhead has said goodbye to some committees – including the Homeland Foundation, where he spent seven years, and the Capital Region Board’s transit subcommittee – but new experiences are ahead.

For Brodhead, Edmonton Salutes was his top choice for committees and he says he’s grateful to return to that commitment, which has members welcome troops home.

“It’s a very fulfilling committee to be part of,” he said.

The regional commuter task force is also one he’s looking forward to. The task force is currently waiting to hear if the province will approve funding for a joint transit service between St. Albert and Edmonton.

“I think there’s hope, because it’s consistent with what the (NDP) government really is talking about in terms of their vision for regional municipal interactions,” he said.

He will also sit on the Edmonton Region Audit and Finance Committee.

For Brodhead, the past term was one of mixed successes and opportunities for introspection. The creation of the Healing Garden, progress made on annexation of land from Sturgeon County and the establishment of policing and youth committees are all successes Brodhead is glad the previous council accomplished.

On the other hand, the release of a municipal inspection report from George Cuff forced him to take a hard look at how the past council handled issues, including the budget and their own relationships.

In part because of that inspection report, Brodhead has begun advocating for a shift in how the city budgets – with council driving the budget through their strategic planning processes, instead of picking apart what city staff put together.

“I think the municipal inspection report created an environment where new ways of doing business were not only opportune but also expected in many respects,” he said.

Now with four new members at the council table, Brodhead said he wants to see facilities and city development addressed at council’s Jan. 11 to 12 strategic planning session.

“Over the last year, (facilities) was one of the biggest issues facing the previous council … So from my perspective, what we as a council need to sit down and do is say, okay, in light of the results of the election, in light of what our people in the community actually want, how are we going to proceed?” he said.

The solution probably doesn’t lie in doing more studies. Brodhead described funding studies as the easiest decision a council can make – and also one that can serve as a delaying tactic.

In the past, Brodhead has criticized the number of studies done on issues such as additional library space, saying the topic has been “studied to death.”

“I tell you what, if that happens again, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I won’t be a redhead any more – I’ll be grey for sure,” he said jokingly.

“It might define where you’re going to go, but you still have to press the button on whether you’re going to do something or not.”

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April Hudson

April is the editor of the St. Albert Gazette