Three more county residents have confirmed their plans to run for Sturgeon County council this fall.
Karen Shaw, Dan Derouin and Neal Comeau told the Gazette this week that they would run to become county councillors in the 2017 Sturgeon County election.
Shaw is currently councillor for Division 6 (everything east of Hwy. 28/28A and north of Township Rd. 554) and has been the region’s representative since 2007. A cow-calf producer, lifelong volunteer with 4-H and graduate of the Alberta Elected Officials Education Program, she is seeking her fourth consecutive term in office.
“I’m not driven by any special interest group,” Shaw said.
“I’m honest, I represent the county as a whole, I do my homework and I base my decisions on facts.”
Shaw said she was proud of council’s many accomplishments in the last four years, which included having the lowest tax rate in the region and the new sustainable road strategy. That strategy had already resulted in improvements to county roads, and council had to continue to put up the cash needed to implement it.
Shaw said she had worked hard to improve conditions in the Alberta Industrial Heartland through enhanced policing, dust suppression, and the addition of traffic signals to the Hwy. 28/643 intersection near Gibbons. She also worked with Alberta Transportation to add signals to Hwy. 643 and 825 (work on which should start after Sept. 1) and to rebuild the troublesome Hwy. 825/37/15 intersection.
While council could not give the $60 million buyout a group of Heartland residents recently asked them to provide, Shaw said she and council would strike a working group to connect those landowners with industry buyers.
“What they want, the county cannot give them. Only industry can.”
Shaw noted that she successfully lobbied the province earlier in her career to take over the Redwater Provincial Recreation Area to address unsafe practices there (such as gunfire). If re-elected, she hoped to further develop the non-motorized part of the region – a project that’s currently part of council’s 2018 strategic plan.
Shaw is currently running unopposed in Div. 6.
Making his second run for office, Derouin, 65, said that the issues in Division 1 (which covers the Sturgeon Valley) were pretty much the same now as they were when he ran in 2013.
“Council is just not listening to the citizens,” he said, citing the recent land-use bylaw debate as an example.
Despite great public opposition, council pushed through the new land-use bylaw in less than two years instead of taking five to do it as Strathcona County did, Derouin said.
“If people in the community are up in arms about something, you have to listen to them.”
Derouin said that the county needed a better plan and staff to fix its roads. He also wants to preserve recreational facilities and nature along the Sturgeon River and to expand the Athabasca Landing Trail.
A lifelong county resident, Derouin said he was not afraid to speak out on issues and would meet people in the field to discuss their problems instead of handing them off to administration.
“If (residents) call me, I’m going to be there to listen to them.”
Derouin said he learned to handle high-stress situations in his 30 years with the Edmonton Fire Department and gained management skills as owner of the first Tim Hortons in Fort Saskatchewan. He is now retired.
“You have to use common sense to fix each problem.”
Derouin is running against incumbent Ferd Caron.
Comeau, a chiropractor with an office in Morinville, declared that he would run in Division 4 (Riviere Qui Barre and Alcomdale) back in April and confirmed he was still in the race this week. He’s running against incumbent Jerry Kaup.
“I feel it’s time for a fresh voice,” said Comeau. He said he would promote better roads and fiscal responsibility and improve relations between residents and administration.