The top vote getter in the 2010 election admits she probably isn’t destined for life as a career politician. But Cathy Heron wants a second term for sure.
“I always knew. I think I knew on election day 2010 this was not a one-term deal,” Heron said, announcing her re-election bid. “I think two terms will probably be enough. I’ll evaluate in 2017.”
Heron said she was happy with most of what she accomplished in her first term on city council, but said the slow speed at which anything gets finished means she has more she wants to do.
“It takes a lot of time to get anything done. There’s lots on the agenda I ran on the first time that is not finished,” Heron said. “The learning curve is such that at city hall, you need some people that are on council to have the background on what has happened before.”
Specifically Heron said she’s most proud of the social master plan, an item she campaigned on and that was funded, drafted and passed by city council during the last term. She is also proud of what council accomplished on its new draft animal bylaw, even though the change to require dogs on leashes at all times bothers her.
“It did not go the way I wanted it to but it’s a good bylaw, except for the leash part.”
She is also happy with the work she has done on the regional level, having served in different capacities with the Capital Region Board.
“The regional stuff is interesting because you get to leave the boundary of St. Albert and you get to see how other people see St. Albert and we’re very well respected outside of our boundaries,” Heron said. “The region looks to us as a leader in waste diversion, in transit.”
She wants to continue driving waste diversion, according to her platform for the 2013 election, calling for an increase to 80 per cent waste diversion in the years ahead from the 65 per cent already achieved. She also wants more protection for the city’s trees and green spaces.
Civic engagement too is on her priority list. She noted council gave it a good try this last term, holding town halls on a more frequent basis, but says there are other tools and techniques that can be tried.
“We didn’t fail; we made strides forward. We tried town hall meetings but the same people showed up. Maybe we need something more relaxed and spontaneous – if there’s an issue like the school sites or Kingswood park, hold a town hall. With social media, you can just throw it out there.”
Heron also wants to continue working on affordable housing, which she helped with on the Capital Region Board.
“I think St. Albert needs to open its eyes and be open to new ideas on housing,” Heron said. “It’s not always a single-family home with a two-car garage. There’s a whole other generation out there that doesn’t care about that. They want convenience and to be close to transit.”