BARRHEAD - After Oct. 18's municipal election, Anthony Oswald hopes there will still be an Oswald on the Town of Barrhead council.
Anthony Oswald, the husband of retiring long-time councillor Shelley Oswald has added his name to the list of nine candidates running for six town councillor positions.
Shelley announced about three weeks ago that she would not be seeking re-election after serving 17-years as town councillor.
Anthony was born and raised in Barrhead.
After graduating from Lorne Jenken High School, now Barrhead Composite School, he found work at Northern Alberta Dairy Pool (NADP), also known as Nu-Maid Dairies.
"I was a team member making butter," he said, adding while working at the dairy, NADP took the prize for making the "World's Best Butter" at the World's Fair.
When the NADP processing plant closed, Oswald started his lawn and garden maintenance company and managed the old Bear's Den Motel (at the site of what is now Barrhead Inn and Suites) before joining the Town of Barrhead, starting as a summer employee with the Parks and Recreation, where he received his certifications in the arena, pool and sports field operations, as well as water distribution and wastewater collection.
"You may also have seen me operating a snowblower or street sweeper," he said, adding he recently retired after 25 years with the municipality.
In addition to his work with the town, Oswald is also active with the St. Anne's Parish council and is a grand knight with the Knights of Columbus.
Oswald said it seemed only natural for him to take a run at becoming a town councillor as he has had a long-standing interest in municipal politics, which might be understandable given his family connection to municipal politics.
In addition to his wife, Oswald's uncle, Bert Proft, served 22 years as a town councillor.
Oswald said he realizes that if successful, he will be joining the council at a challenging time, with an increase in provincial downloading to municipalities, as characterized by the expectation that rural municipalities need to shoulder more of their policing costs and the decrease of Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) grant funding.
"We need to have a strong voice, not only as a council but as part of the various boards that deal with the provincial and federal government and their agencies," he said.
Oswald also added that the council needs to support existing businesses and look for ways to attract new investment and economic opportunities.
"We also need to look for ways to support local agencies to tackle issues such as affordable housing, property crime and doctor retention," he said.
Anthony suggested that the council needs to review the mandate of its community peace officer and bylaw enforcement.
"I am hearing from a lot of residents that they are unhappy about the bylaw services mandate, so we might have to make some changes so that it closer meets the citizen's expectations."
He did not want to get into specifics because the community peace officer is just carrying out the mandate given to him upon his arrival.
Another of Anthony's priorities is ensuring that the municipality's recreation facilities are properly maintained while keeping user fees affordable.
Anthony said the skills and experience gained as a town employee will put him in good stead serving on the council. He also noted that since he is retired, he has the time necessary to devote to the position.
"I have 25 years experience in the public sector and I have been involved in the community for more than 50 years," he said. "And now that I'm retired, I hope to bring everything I learned to council."