ATHABASCA – Voters in the Town of Athabasca will have a chance to choose from a variety of personalities with different backgrounds and life experiences when they go to the polls for the Oct. 18 municipal election.
Of them, Rena Zatorski says she will provide a new and different perspective, and is hoping her slogan of “Change is Good” will resonate with voters.
Zatorski grew up on a farm southwest of Newbrook, but has called Athabasca home for nearly 20 years, operating a successful esthetics business for the last 17.
“My business is run as a home-based business right now and although I'm my only employee, I see the needs of businesses both small and large, and I see that these needs are different in smaller communities than they are in big communities,” said Zatorski in an interview Sept. 13.
Zatorski says political discussions with the family were not uncommon when she was growing up, which taught her to listen carefully and consider a variety of perspectives, even if she didn’t necessarily agree with them, which is something she feels will serve her well if she is elected to town council.
“We always tend to gravitate to what we know and what we agree with, but I'm of the belief that we need to challenge ourselves and we need to be around people that expand our minds. We need to learn, without judgment, we need to ask questions without ridicule. That's just me. That's who I am personally,” she said.
“It's OK to ask questions, but stick around to hear the answers, because sometimes we don't want to hear the answers, but we're so used to just shutting people off nowadays when they disagree with us.”
As far as some of the issues the municipality is facing heading into the next four years, Zatorski said she is passionate about solving the crime situation in town, and although that is largely out of the control of town councillors, she would like to see a larger effort by the town to put an end to the drug-use, vandalism and constant barrage of scenarios involving the same repeat offenders time and time again.
It’s a problem with the justice system and judges that have no concept of the communities they are presiding over, she said, and that needs to change.
As a potential councillor, Zatorski says she knows there will be a learning curve, along with a lot of reading, as she sets out to understand the issues and the procedures involved in being a representative of the public, and while that may be a daunting task, it’s something she is embracing.
“Truthfully, I'm learning. I don't know everything, but I'm excited to learn and I feel like there's big changes happening. I think we all feel that way, and good, bad or otherwise change is coming, so why not be a part of it? Why not be a part of trying to make it better instead of just sitting back?”
As far as committee work, that’s something she hasn’t made a decision about just yet, but as long as she’s serving the people of Athabasca, she’ll be content.
“I try to let my personality speak for itself and I'm the kind where I'm no good in texting back and forth, I have to meet face-to-face, it gives me so much joy to go to the farmers market, and make people's day. I love that, so if there's a committee for making people smile, I will be on that one.”