A volunteer track and field official has decided to enter a different kind of race and run for council.
John Goldsmith, 72, is rounding out the field of councillor candidates in St. Albert.
“A lot of people don’t feel they’re being listened to,” Goldsmith said of why he’s running.
He thinks public engagement – and not just at the committee level, but getting in touch with the average resident – is crucial, and is even taking down some names as he door-knocks so if elected, he can follow up on the conversations and ideas he’s heard while campaigning.
Goldsmith has lived in St. Albert for about 25 years, and has enjoyed everything the community has to offer. Now retired from running his company, which offered assessment services to other businesses, he’s ready to contribute his business assessment skills to council and city staff.
“I’m used to collecting information, analyzing and giving options,” he said.
Goldsmith has been a track and field official at the local, provincial, national and even international level. His company used to host a golf tournament that benefited counselling services in Edmonton offered to people who would otherwise not be able to afford such a service. Otherwise, he said, his family – he’s married with an adult daughter and a grandchild – likes to keep their volunteer efforts low profile.
When it comes to hot topics for the election, Goldsmith said he’s hearing concerns about living expenses including taxes and user fees at the doors, thoughts on street repair, garbage pick-up and the need for long-term city planning.
City planning – and resurrecting the municipal planning commission – are both part of Goldsmith’s list of priorities.
“We’ve got a lot of things to do and we’ve got to balance that out,” Goldsmith said, adding it’s important to ensure we don’t lose the cultural characteristics of St. Albert. Still, he said if the population continues to grow as projected, we need to plan for that future with forward-thinking policies instead of trying to patch up issues as they come up.
Other highlights from his list of priorities include treating residents and developers fairly and equitably and advocating for seniors and others on a fixed income as the cost of living goes up at various levels of government.
He also would like to make sure safety and security in St. Albert continue to improve, by making sure both RCMP and EMS have the resources they need.
Goldsmith’s list also includes protecting the environment, reducing the tax and user fee burden on residents and perhaps reworking how off-site levies work, developing what he calls realistic long-term business and economic development strategies, and supporting more and new high quality recreation and cultural services. Many of these entail making sure the municipality knows what the provincial and federal governments are planning or keeping track of grant opportunities.
“I like to do my work and exercise my brain,” Goldsmith said.