County voters will be spoiled for choice next month as some 19 candidates seek their support in the upcoming municipal election.
Nineteen people lined up to file their nomination papers at the Sturgeon County office Monday to run in the 2017 county council election.
Five of them are running in Division 5 alone. Challenging incumbent Patrick Tighe are Frank Klassen, Jacob Middelkamp, Maxwell Power and Vicki Zinyk.
Five in Div. 5
Klassen, a fruit and vegetable farmer who lives near Lily Lake, was ecstatic to see so many people running in his region.
“It’s the (most fun) thing possible!” he said.
“The more candidates that are in (the race), the higher the level of participation, we hope, in the election.”
Klassen, 52, said he was running because the county seemed deadlocked in an anti-business mentality.
“Sturgeon County is not open for business,” he said, and is not supporting the businesses it has here.
“This has to change.”
The county lost the new Champion Petfoods plant to Parkland County, he said as an example, which could have created hundreds of local jobs.
“We had it in the bag, and they just let it walk out the door.”
Residents have told him tales of how it took two years for the county to authorize a six-inch variance to a garage, or two years and $23,000 to rezone a plot to light industrial – a change that would take just four months and $100 in Smoky Lake.
“Where would you go to do business?” he said.
If elected, Klassen said he would establish a service standard for the county’s roads and bring them up to that standard, and would move to streamline the county’s permitting process. He also wanted to make it so that residents could get permits at town offices instead of having to go to the county office.
Klassen is a past president of the Legal & District Chamber of Commerce and the Fruit Growers Society of Alberta.
Power, who the Gazette could not reach until Monday, is a 33-year-old field support engineer who lives in Golden Heights.
“I feel like we’re under-represented,” he said, when asked why he was running.
“We pay a tonne of property tax at the moment and get, like, zero value for it.”
Power criticized the county for not doing enough consultation on road projects in his region, saying that there was “zero communication from the county to the residents” on projects such as the current work on Twp. Rd. 572. (The Gazette was unable to verify this claim before deadline.) If elected, he said he would review the county’s road processes to see if there was any way to change this situation.
Power also called for the creation of a Sturgeon County police force.
“Our communities are majorly underserved by any kind of law enforcement,” he said, and if the RCMP can’t get more cops here, the county should take over.
“Other municipalities do (it) and we should be able to as well.”
Three for Div. 6
Charlaine Pasemko joined Marty Derouin in the race against incumbent Karen Shaw in Division 6 on Monday.
A retired teacher and current farmer near Redwater, Pasemko is a 16-year member of the Redwater Library Board.
“The present councillor has been in for awhile, so it’s time for a change,” she said, referring to Shaw.
Pasemko said she felt candidates shouldn’t stay in for more than two terms and wanted to bring in term limits to that effect.
Pasemko said her division provides considerable tax dollars to the county but hasn’t seen much in the way of results. If elected, she would call on the county to invest more in Redwater-area recreational and library facilities and to get traffic lights put up on Hwy. 37.
There are plenty of other races happening in the county as of this week.
Alanna Hnatiw is challenging incumbent Tom Flynn for the mayor’s chair, while Ferd Caron is up against challenger Dan Derouin in Div. 1.
Susan Evans will face off against challenger Rudy van Woerkom in Div. 2.
Over in Div. 3, Ken McGillis and Matthew McLennan seek to unseat Wayne Bokenfohr, while Jerry Kaup defends his seat against Neal Comeau in Div. 4.
County voters will have at least two chances to see these candidates in action prior to the election. The Morinville & District Chamber of Commerce will hold county election forums at Gibbons School on Oct. 4 at 6:30 p.m. and at Cardiff Community Hall on Oct. 10 at 7 p.m.
Bon Accord has a two-way race for mayor between David Hutton and Bonny Swart-Attwood, report town officials. Lynn Bidney, Brian Holden, Jennifer MacArthur, Tanya May, Amanda Merritt, Lorna Pocock and Liliana White are running for the four-person council.
Seven are running for Legal’s five-member council, which does not have a directly elected mayor, said returning officer Wilma Weiss: Andrew John Michael Beaton, Gerald Gouin, Annette Diane Hammond, Pat Hills, Trina Marie Jones, Fred Malott and Carol Tremblay.
Stanley Arcand, Armand Arcand Sr., Kurt Burnstick, Allan Paul and Craig Yellowdirt were all running for chief in Alexander as of Nomination Day. Stanley Arcand, Yellowdirt, Burnstick and Paul have also entered the council race, and will at some point have to drop out of one or both races.
Seeking to become the band’s next six councillors are Andrew Arcand, Anita M. Arcand, Audra Arcand, Christopher D. Arcand, Dennis E. Arcand, Eric Arcand, Fern Arcand, John Arcand, Rhonda Arcand, Sheldon Arcand, Dave Auigbelle, Ralph Auigbelle, Marty Arcand, Barbara Bairnes, Brent Burnstick, Hank Burnstick, Conway Kootenay, Joe Kootenay, Eric Newborn, Edwin Paul, Marcel Paul and Cheryl Savoie.