Change is good, but so is experience

By Alderman Wayne Rothe

There will be some change in Spruce Grove following Monday’s election as voters will elect at least two new city councillors to replace retiring members.

The new blood will be good but experience is also important.

We’ll be losing 38 years of experience with the retirements of Ald. Louise Baxter and Ald. Bill Kesanko. We have some outstanding talent among the newcomers and I think that Spruce Grove will benefit from the combination of experience and new perspectives.

I had a visit to my office this week from a client (“Cathy”). I was going to write this article anyway but Cathy gave me an idea for some extra content.

“Council has done some excellent things,” Cathy said. “I hope there isn’t a lot of change.”

Your city council has led several initiatives that may not have happened without visionary leadership and an excellent staff.

The Queen Street medical centre has made us a destination for medical tourism. Amassing the Westwind lands in our northeast corner was, in my opinion, a brilliant move. We’re booming commercially with developments such as Tri Leisure Village, projects that reduce residential taxes and make us a regional business centre for 100,000 people.

The Community of Choice is not just a slogan. Ninety-four per cent of respondents in our latest citizen-satisfaction survey said that they would recommend Spruce Grove as a place to live. Our satisfaction rate is one of the highest in the province.

MoneySense magazine in 2016 ranked Spruce Grove as one of the best places to live in Canada and in 2015 recognized our city as one of the country’s top 10 places to raise a family.

This is the great community that our staff and this and previous city councils have built.

Almost immediately after the election the new council must immediately deal with a multi-million-dollar budget. The budget is the most important thing we do in any year as it sets the city’s priorities for that year and beyond. Experience will be important in our budget deliberations.

We have some huge decisions to make in 2018 (the sport and event centre comes to mind) – decisions that will, I believe, make the next year the most important in our city’s history. Experience will be important during this key time in our evolution as a city.

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