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City of Wetaskiwin Council Municipal Election candidates

City of Wetaskiwin council candidates present why they should get your vote on Oct. 18, 2021.

City of Wetaskiwin Municipal Election candidates present why they should get your vote on Oct. 18, 2021.

The Pipestone Flyer contacted all City of Wetaskiwin Municipal Election candidates for their profiles and only those who submitted before deadline were included in the Pipestone Flyer’s print and below.

Myrna Fontaine

It would be a great honour to serve my community as a Wetaskiwin City Councillor.

I am a:

  • resourceful team player;
  • relentless researcher;
  • insightful problem solver.

I will bring to the table:

  • fresh perspective;
  • sound judgement;
  • financial accountability.

I will explore ways to empower:

  • businesses to flourish;
  • seniors and youth to thrive;
  • our vulnerable population to succeed;
  • victims of domestic violence to find safety;
  • victims of workplace bullying to find safety.

I have thoroughly enjoyed living and working in Wetaskiwin and have found this city to be a community brimming with smart, kind, generous and compassionate people.

Together, we have discussed some great ideas on how to effectively deal with our social, criminal, and infrastructure issues as well as creative ways to capitalize on many of our excellent resources.

It would be my pleasure to represent the citizens of this city by helping us all to fully experience a safe, flourishing and prosperous community.

Elect Myrna (MJ) Fontaine as Wetaskiwin City Councillor!

Wayne Neilson

I have been fortunate to have served two terms on Council and believe that the next four years will be critical to the long term growth and development of the community.

I have seven years of Council experience. I know the current circumstances of the community and have heard from a wide range of residents and business owners what their concerns and aspirations are for the City. I take my role as Councillor seriously, I am always prepared, I ask questions to better understand the issues needing to be addressed and consider the long term impact of those decisions on the community.

In order for Wetaskiwin to grow and develop I believe Council will need to address three issues:

– Ensure our financials are stable and transparent. Dollars drive the decisions and actions of the City so we need to be sure that we have the necessary financial resources to undertake the priorities we establish.

– Ensure the safety of the residents and businesses in the community and address the current reputation of our community. People within the community need to feel they are safe regardless of where they go and that their personal and private property is not compromised.

– Address the issues and disparities surrounding residential and business taxation.

If Wetaskiwin is a financially stable, safe community with a strong long term tax plan it will be far easier to market our community to new residents, business owners and developers.

Ronald Mildenberger

Wetaskiwin is my home – I was born here, I was raised here, and I want to continue to live here and see the community prosper. My reasoning for running for City of Wetaskiwin Council includes a variety of reasons – but all directly relating to wanting to see Wetaskiwin grow and develop further.

As someone working in human services, I can see a lack of services in the community that as a member of council, I could better advocate for, such as in how we can help our vulnerable populations. If we can commit to improving the services offered in this community, we will see a chain effect of growth. We will see families moving to Wetaskiwin, which will draw further economic development, thus leading toward a more fair tax rate, which I would assume every citizen desires.

It is important that we look at all issues facing a municipality – as everything is entirely connected. If we wish to solve issues in our community surrounding crime, for example, we need to take a step back and see why these crimes are occurring. If we continue to see a spiral of deviance to deterrence and back to deviance, we will accomplish nothing long term. I truly believe that we need to look at systemic causes of crime rather than the individual crimes being committed. We should be looking at why crime is occurring rather than just playing cat and mouse with crime.

I look forward to working with the community to improve the quality of life for everyone in Wetaskiwin and I will aim to make the city council accessible so that we can work together. A community is only as strong as its weakest link – and I sincerely hope that we can make that link stronger, together.

Colleen Thiessen

My name is Colleen Thiessen and I am running for City of Wetaskiwin Councillor in the upcoming election. I believe I have the skillset and experience needed, both personally and professionally, to be a well rounded councillor. I have served as a volunteer on numerous boards and committees, both at the provincial and local level, and my work experience is diverse, touching on a number of different employment sectors. Wetaskiwin is my home, so I decided if I wanted to see change, I needed to be part of the change. I believe that actions speak louder that words, so I’m taking action to make a difference in my community.

As a City Councillor, I will focus on the accountability and transparency of City Council in decision making and policy; the safety and wellbeing of Wetaskiwin residents and businesses; supporting local business and strongly promoting Wetaskiwin commerce, and I’ll work to ensure city staff have current, effective policies that allow them to “get the job done” without being caught up in red tape and ineffective policies.

I see great potential in this community and I want to do whatever I can to help Wetaskiwin meet its’ full potential. I am available to talk to you; please contact me at 780-335-0496.

Vote for Colleen Thiessen on October 18.

Kevin Lonsdale

My name is Kevin Lonsdale and I am running for my second term on Wetaskiwin City Council. I have lived in the City of Wetaskiwin for almost 59 years and have helped raise a family of children and grandchildren that reside in Wetaskiwin. I love the City of Wetaskiwin and want to contribute to its future, this is a great community with many positive points that need to be recognized and I am always working on that. The reason I am running is to help forward our City.

As a sitting city councillor I know the work that needs to be done to move forward.

This comes as a team including Administration and all staff. In my past years I have spent my life volunteering as a minor baseball coach, a minor hockey manager and minor football and moved onto high school football and the Wetaskiwin Icemen. During that time I spent five years on the Recreation Board.

During all of this you learn to hear people and their concerns and how to deal with the concerns.

We have many pressing issues in Wetaskiwin, crime being a huge concern. As a council and community we put our faith and trust in our law enforcement, this is not an easy job. We have a large homeless population that needs our attention, we have tried very hard for three years and still working on a solution with a Task Force and another committee to get to a permanent solution. Other issues we are dealing with is debt and taxes which are always topics of concern.

I love the City of Wetaskiwin and will work to the best of my ability to move it forward.

Bill Elliot

The issues that concern me are the lack of attracting new businesses, pride in our city, relationships with our neighbours, and solving the challenge of homeless and marginalized people.

Having people speak positively about our city and showing the world how wonderful Wetaskiwin is, will attract new business. “Ranting” about how terrible things are does not solve anything; providing a solution to a problem, in a positive way, encourages people to listen.

New businesses will pay taxes which will reduce what homeowners’ pay in taxes.

New business will not come to our community if they perceive it as a “bad” place.

Shopping locally encourages businesses to stay in Wetaskiwin which, again, reduces taxes.

Council has spent too much time and taxpayers’ dollars attempting to care for marginalized peoples.

The city needs to work with the Provincial and Federal governments, AHS, the Chiefs and Councils from the four Maskwacis Cree Nations, and Maskwacis Health to come up with a permanent solution.

Council, our citizens, and the business community need to work together to make Wetaskiwin an attractive place to live, learn, shop, work, recreate, and do business.

Amanda Rule

Putting my name in to run for a councillor position is not a decision I am taking lightly. We are constantly asking how we move our community forward, yet we are not electing the diverse group we need to all be represented.

Being able to give all demographics a voice is my main motivation to earn one of those 7 seats. Within our community I have been fortunate enough to sit on committees, boards and take part in many amazing volunteer opportunities. Being actively involved in my community better helps me to understand what our community needs, wants and how we can achieve them. Managing a large property within Wetaskiwin gave me great insight on what it takes to run a community on a smaller scale.

My list of what I would like to accomplish is a large one but it is attainable:

  • Transit route connecting to Leduc, EIA and Edmonton;
  • On demand bus route within Wetaskiwin;
  • Incentives to grow industrial business;
  • Create a Youth Council;
  • Reduce inward crime;
  • Accessibility to mental health supports;
  • Obtain adequate supports for the vulnerable population;
  • Support local businesses;
  • Strengthen partnerships with the Chamber and surrounding communities;
  • Finding available grants, energy efficient equipment to replace outdated infrastructure;
  • Reassessing the level of services compared to the taxes we pay;
  • Recycling program.

I look forward to having the privilege to stand up for my community. The gratitude I have for those that have supported me thus far is something I am unable to put into words! With your vote on October 18 I will put everything I have into this community to help it reach the full potential we know it has!

Karen Aberle

Wetaskiwin is a great community with amazing people, but we are struggling. I want to help bring confidence and pride back. As the Executive Director at the Heritage Museum Centre and Star Store, I simultaneously run a community support charity, a non-profit organization, and a small retail business.

My ability to not only sustain these ventures, but also to have them continue to grow under my direction speaks to my innovative, progressive, and successful approach to leadership. I am deeply engaged in this community, helping with a variety of projects including Secret Santa, the Women’s Conference, Orange Shirt Day Walk, Taste of Wetaskiwin, Canada’s AG Day, the Wetaskiwin Legion, and Wetaskiwin Arts and Music Festival. Most recently, I joined the Guiding Coalition of Homelessness where I continue to speak on behalf of local businesses and finding a balanced approach to helping those who are homeless or at the risk of homelessness.I also served as Treasurer and Vice-President for the Alberta Museums Association.

I am a strategic thinker, have firsthand experience with policy governance, and an understanding of the relationship between City Council and Administration. Wetaskiwin needs to improve relationship building and engagement with its citizens and surrounding communities.

Taxpayers, both residential and commercial, and everyone who lives, plays, works, and does business here, must feel valued and supported. Our regional partners should be invested in our success, and us in theirs. Wetaskiwin is an economic, geographical, social, historic, and cultural crossroad.

It is essential that we build our community by bringing people, groups, organizations, and businesses together so that we can lift each other up and succeed in making Wetaskiwin thrive. As one of your elected officials, I will continue to advocate for diverse perspectives that are fundamental to the well-being of the City We Share.

Jessi Hanks

My name is Jessi Hanks, I have lived in Wetaskiwin for 35 years. I was born and raised in this beautiful city, and now my husband and myself are raising our three amazing children where we grew up. I decided to run for city council after an outpouring of support from my fellow community members. This outstanding encouragement from our community members has shown me they trust me to make the best decisions I can if I am elected as Councillor. We truly need a well balanced council around the table.

I have a deep rooted love for Wetaskiwin, and I want to continue to advocate for my hometown to the very best of my ability. The skill set I’ve built over the last 19 years would be an asset for a councillor. The passion for positive collaboration, creative problem solving, transparency, accountability, open communication with our community members, and my determination to continue to serve Wetaskiwin, will be a driving force behind my ongoing advocacy. Continuing to work on reconciliation will always be something I strive for.

There are many issues I would like to take a deeper look at with an engaged and collaborative council. Our petty crime is out of control, and costing our citizens their hard earned money. We need to look at more efficient ways to curb this issue, so our residents continue to invest in our city. In doing so we can begin to refocus on economic diversity. Taking a real look at solving some of our longstanding social issues can get us back on track to a positive and secure future.

If elected I look forward to serving my community and making sure that our city as a whole feels safe, respected, included, and strive for a favourable budget variance each year.

Gabrielle Blatz

My name is Gabrielle Blatz, and I’m running for re-election on to Wetaskiwin City Council. There are many reasons for why I want to run for re-election, but I’ll try to keep this brief. Wetaskiwin is the city that raised me. After years of having friends move to larger cities for more opportunities, I realized that in order for Wetaskiwin to thrive, we need growth. My heart is in this community, and I am eager to see this city grow in to its full potential.

After sitting on city council for two years, while also being a healthcare worker of nearly seven, I now have the experience and passion to keep this city moving forward. I’ve consistently listened to the issues that our residents have expressed to me, and ensure that I keep that in mind while making motions and voting on a subject. I am continuously prepared for the council meetings, and have never missed a regular council meeting in my time on council. I am dedicated, hard-working and passionate about this community.

After doorknocking most of the city for the past two months, I have heard loud and clear the issues we must tackle to move Wetaskiwin forward. We need a safe, growing, caring and sustainable city. We need to address our reputation issues that prevents residents or businesses from moving here by working on lowering our crime severity index. We need to address our failing infrastructure, such as our crumbling roadways and sidewalks. We need to keep our city affordable, while also providing services that our residents deserve.

I’ve heard these issues from hundreds of community members, and as public servants, I believe we need to listen to the voice of our residents.

Please consider supporting me on October 18.

Mike Cifarelli

I decided to run for city council for three reasons. Firstly, it has always been one of my goals in life to enter provincial politics and perhaps become premier of Alberta one day. Secondly, I love Wetaskiwin, take pride in my home, and want to serve my community full time by becoming a city councillor. Thirdly, contracting over the last 14 years has been damaging to my back, knees, etc. and would like to transition out of it.

I have lived in Wetaskiwin for 16 years and have been self-employed as a general contractor for 14. My business experience can be applied to help operate the city more smoothly and efficiently. I have taken a lot of interest and have acquired a lot of knowledge in law, business and the environment. I feel these are excellent qualities to bring to the table as a city councillor.

One of the first issues I would like to tackle is the city landfill. I have done the calculations and estimate we are throwing away approximately $10,000 per month by burying various metals on the working surface within five months. Not mention the usable/recyclable materials and products that get left or buried as well. Capitalizing on our waste is a huge untapped resource. Reducing our overall debt load without raising taxes is of the highest importance to all our tax payers.

Another issue I would make a priority is to work with the RCMP, city council, and the court system to find successful ways to fix the “revolving door issue” in the justice system and make people accountable for their actions.

Lastly, I would like to focus on attracting new revenue/investors into the city whether it be new business, outdoor events, or investing/propping up current small business owners in town.

Dean Billingsley

My name is Dean Billingsley, and I am asking for your support for re-election for councillor of the City of Wetaskiwin. I have decided to run again because I felt I had vast experience in dealing with complex issues. I believe I make an effective city councillor because I take great pride in being prepared for meetings and making sure I have all the information necessary to make informed decisions. I take great pride in our city and take the position of city councillor very seriously.

Since moving to Wetaskiwin 30 years ago I have sat on numerous boards which include being the Chair of the Wetaskiwin Air Show, Past President of the Rotary Club, and Past President of the Chamber of Commerce. I have also been a member of the Iceman Hockey Club and the Wetaskiwin Health foundation boards. This has provided me experience as a community leader. Currently I sit on the Library board, FCSS, and Community Engagement Committee. I also have 25 years of owning a successful small local business in Wetaskiwin, which has provided me with the relevant experience as a community leader.

The issues that the city and councillors face will be significant over the next four years. Taxes and the tax rate. We must be competitive. Economic Development, the city needs growth for prosperity. Safety and crime, we have been looked as one of the most dangerous cities in Canada, these must be addressed.

The running of the city and being a councillor is not just about one issue and no one should run with that in mind. My experience on council tells me that we deal with many crucial matters and many of those issues at the same time.

I have the ability and the dedication to take on all these issues with citizens of Wetaskiwin in mind and have no agenda other then making our community a better place to live.

It’s the city we share.

I ask for your support on October 18.

Where to vote

Eligible voters can vote at the Memorial Arts Centre (5206 50 Street) or at the Drill Hall (4519 50 Ave) on Oct. 18, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Early voting is also available on Oct. 16, 2021 at the East Fire Hall (Station 2) from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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