By Alderman Wayne Rothe
With two Spruce Grove aldermen retiring and several strong new candidates running in the Oct. 16 municipal election, change is afoot. My guess is that three newcomers will be elected to a council of seven, which would be the most turnover in a very long time.
I’ve talked with most of the new candidates and have provided advice for their campaigns and to help them be effective, should they be elected. I got this text message from one: “Wayne, I hope to have the chance to work with and learn from you. I believe you have a lot to share.”
I really like some of the new candidates and if I’m given the privilege of serving the citizens of Spruce Grove again I believe I can help mentor any new members of the new council. We’re losing 38 years of experience with the retirement of Alderman Louise Baxter and Alderman Bill Kesanko so experience is important.
The next year will be the most
important in the city’s history.
Spruce Grove council has led several initiatives that may not have happened without visionary leadership and an excellent staff.
Queen Street medical centre has made us a medical destination for the region. Amassing the Westwind lands in the northeast corner was, in my opinion, a brilliant move. We’re booming commercially, which reduces residential taxes and has made us a regional commercial centre; Tri Leisure Village is a great example. When we opened the TransAlta Tri Leisure Centre we were the first in Alberta to have three municipalities co-operate on a rec centre.
The next year will be the most important in our city’s history. That could be said every year, I suppose, but it’s particularly true now. The proposed sport and event centre (SEC) will carry a big price-tag and will require a lot of borrowing. Council has to get this decision right.
The new council will deal with a multi-million-dollar budget. The budget is the most important thing we do as it sets the year’s priorities and establishes a framework for the two years after that. The new councillors will feel overwhelmed at first but a budget is also one of the best orientations for a new councilor as we discuss all aspects of city operations.
The new council members will bring a lot to the table but they will need mentorship. Our staff will put on several orientation sessions in the coming weeks and months.
I’m excited for this and hope that I’ll be around to help the new members.