Mayor of Slave Lake
By the time you have read this, the election should be over and some new great candidates in both the Town, M.D. and school divisions will prepare to make their mark on this region.
For those that have put their name forward and decided to continue or “dip their toe” into the political realm, I applaud you for your willingness to serve. To those that were elected, congratulations are definitely in order, and as mayor I am excited to be working with you for the next four years. So what happens next?
In the world of Town Council, life gets really busy really fast. The new council will be sworn in on October 24 and each elected councillor, including myself, will be put on different committees. After that weekend council will also embark on two full days of post-election and strategic planning in an effort to set our vision for the next one to two years.
We will also welcome a new Staff Sgt. to town during the first few weeks of the new council and make some big decisions on the fate of the raw water line.
Then in November, council will travel to Calgary for a week of meetings with other elected officials and to make a plea to various provincial minsters for help with a multitude of topics. Then at the end of November we will undertake 90 hours of meetings while we wade through budget and where we take an indepth look at what we want and compare it to what we can afford.
All of these additional items will come on top of our three regular meetings per month, and as well as the time spent at the meetings from the other 15 committees Town councillors sit on.
Over the next four years we will work tirelessly to continue to make the Slave Lake Region one of the best places to work, live and visit.
Our immediate attention will be focused on our agreements with the M.D. that need to find resolutions sooner rather than later.
We will continue to grow tourism. Our new tourism body will hold its first annual general meeting on November 6th where they will elect a board and begin working on new tourism materials and branding for the region. For those interested in joining the board please contact Helene at the Visitor Information Centre, at Helene.Klassen@slavelake.ca.
Council will continue to champion improvements at the beach and we will be setting up meetings with environment and parks to move this vision along. We will continue to make health care a priority and keep recruiting medical professionals to this community and working with AHS to find efficiencies in the operation of the family care clinic.
We will work with the oilfield industry to see how this region can position itself for growth and leverage in the new exploration happening in the Marten Hills area. We will build on our collaboration with the forest sector to lobby the provincial and federal government regarding softwood lumber agreements and caribou protection.
We plan on meeting with municipal affairs and agriculture and forestry to discuss the future of structure protection teams in Alberta and what role Slave Lake plays in FireSmart.
We will work on our capital plan and will move forward. Improving facilities, fixing roads and maintain some of the high service levels we have in this community will be a task the next council has to tackle.
Council candidates heard first hand at the all candidate forums during this election, that tackling the homelessness in Slave Lake will be a priority and we will partner with the new leadership at the Native Friendship Centre for assistance with that.
As a group we will also dig into our newly crafted downtown plan and determine the best way to implement it over the coming years. Most importantly we will try to do all of these and many more without placing a huge tax burden on our residents.
What is certain is we have a lot of work in front of us. I feel proud in saying, though, we are leaving a lot of good in the rear view mirror.
I want to take a quick moment and say a heartfelt goodbye to two great councillors. Last Tuesday was our last council meeting of the 2013-2017 term, and councillor Lokken and councillor Missal announced they were retiring. I can say that these two men were instrumental in creating the success this council had over the last four years.
While we are sad to see both men go, we now welcome new faces to our bench which will help lead the next council forward.
What I know for certain is the opportunities are out their waiting for the right group to turn them into success and I have no doubt the people of this region have elected some great people that are going to work tirelessly to make it happen.
In closing I would like to thank the Town of Slave Lake staff both current and past for their contribution to making the last four years work smoothly. We have been very fortunate to have had your help and dedication towards making all things possible.
I am looking forward to being part of a bright future for this region.