A second city councillor has entered the race to become St. Albert’s next mayor.
On Thursday night, councillor Cathy Heron officially launched her campaign at the St. Albert Community Hall. She joins Councillor Cam MacKay who announced his candidacy on Tuesday.
“I’ve been preparing for the role for seven years since I was elected in 2010,” Heron said.
The 49-year-old is an almost lifelong St. Albert resident. Her family moved to St. Albert from Edmonton when she was only 18 months old.
Along with her two terms of experience on council, Heron said that she gained a lot of valuable experience serving on the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) and on the Capital Region Board (CRB). Heron was elected to the AUMA board of directors in 2015 as a director for cities up to 500,000.
She said that the experience has helped her see how municipalities across the province are dealing with problems similar to the ones that St. Albert faces.
For the past four years Heron has also been city council spokesperson for St. Albert’s Smart City program. She said that the city can find smart solutions to some of its biggest challenges.
The federal government is holding a smart cities challenge with two $10-million prizes for mid-sized communities and Heron said she is determined to help St. Albert take home one of the awards.
Heron, a mother of three, said that the city is facing a need for many new infrastructure projects, such as a library, ice surfaces and downtown parking. She wants to find new ways to fund the projects.
“It isn’t a question of which we will build but rather how and when we will eventually have to build them all. The challenge is finding a way to do them fiscally responsibly,” Heron said.
If elected Heron said that she will look into combining projects, using regional supports and finding new funding sources such as private investors to help meet the infrastructure needs of the growing city.
The past council has been criticized for being negative and divided but Heron wants to change that. She plans to run a positive campaign and if elected she said she will help bridge the divide and “set the city on a positive path forward.”
Heron is proud of her work on the last two councils, which she said held tax increases very low, kept service levels high; and created a positive relationship with Sturgeon County.
Regional collaboration is a priority for Heron. She said that during her time on AUMA and the CRB she has dedicated a significant amount of time to fostering positive relationships with the regional partners.
Heron and MacKay are both vying for the seat current Mayor Nolan Crouse will leave vacant come October.
Heron and MacKay have been the most popular candidates in the past two races with Heron coming out on top both times. During the 2015 election, Heron was the most popular candidate with 10,268 votes cast for her and MacKay came in second with 9,101. In 2010 Heron pulled in 9,904 votes and MacKay earned 7,565.