Current Athabasca County councillor Kevin Haines is aiming for his second term representing Division 5 (Athabasca East), while Wendy Jewell is trying to make her mark on the council for the first time as the Oct. 18 election approaches.
With three years under his belt, Haines said he has experienced quite the learning curve as a first-time county councillor and wants to continue on the same road for the next term.
“You’re just really learning the ropes and how to become an effective councillor. In these three years, I have found a whole bunch of interests and projects that I would like see continued and completed,” explained Haines.
Running in her first election, Jewell said she hopes that by listening to residents’ concerns about issues in her division, she can improve everyday life within the community.
“During my campaign, I want to ask residents from the community what are their concerns and issues that need to be addressed,” answered Jewell.
During his three years as a councillor, Haines identified the installation of the first rural truck fill in the division as one of his accomplishments.
“The truck fill is pretty successful, and one of my future initiatives is to hopefully have another one in the division,” said Haines.
Apart from a new truck fill, Haines is continuing to push for more pavement projects in the division.
“We have subdivisions in the division that have more people than some of the hamlets in the area, so having these roads paved is one of the things I’m pushing,” explained Haines.
The paving of Aspen Ridge Road is one of the projects Haines hopes to see come to fruition in the next little while.
“I passed a motion in April to pave that road, and I’d like to see that through,” added Haines.
Whatever needs and concerns residents feel need to be looked at, Jewell said she wants to hear about them.
“I will get the opportunity to respond to the needs in my community. My decision-making will be determined by listening to the people I represent, by investigating their issues of concern and by asking questions of the right individuals before making recommendations,” answered Jewell.
Jewell, currently the secretary of the Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee, has 22 years of working experience with Athabasca University (AU) and was a participant in the Alberta Health Act workshop on July 8.
She said she would like to one day see the Athabasca hospital equipped for surgical procedures.
“Retention starts with ensuring that our doctors can work in their scope of medicine in our hospital,” asserted Jewell.
Along with her working experience at AU, Jewell has sat on numerous AU committees. To name a few, Jewell sat on the presidential search committee and vice president academic search committee.
“I want to be become more active in my community. We must approach the right groups and people to achieve our goals. This can only be done if we work together as a team,” noted Jewell.
With the Land Use Strategy in place for growth and development in the area, along with the regional waterline set to begin construction, budgeting and preparing for growth will be key for not only the near future, but for 20-30 years down the road.
“We have the possibility of building more subdivisions in the division for the future, and since the waterline is going to parallel Tower Road, you tell me there isn’t going to be regional growth,” said Haines.
“Regional water is very important to the regions. Water is an issue and will be an even bigger issue in years to come, so we need to ensure that our environmental conservation is sustainable in terms of growth and demand,” explained Jewell.
Decisions can only be made if the council comes to a consensus, and with some of the problems county council has had in the past, putting that behind them will be of the utmost importance.
“The moment you think you’ve learned everything, then you should probably get out. We have had our problems on council, but overall we have worked together quite well,” added Haines.
“It is very important that county council works together for the betterment of our community as a whole, by supporting agriculture, new business, health and education,” said Jewell.