Elections 2013: Town council candidate questionnaires

Town council candidates completed a Ponoka News questionnaire.

  • Oct. 9, 2013 4:00 p.m.

1. Name: Carla Prediger

2. Age: February 15th, 1965.

3. Occupation: Alberta Health Services Care Manager – Addiction and Mental Health- North Area, Central Zone.

4. Marital Status: Married

5. Why are you running for town office?

Time to pay it forward

6. What sacrifices are you willing to make?

I shouldn’t have to make sacrifices if I am working towards an end goal that I believe in. What I will need to balance in running for town council? I will need to work hard to balance the demands on my time given my family, work, other committees and social ties.

7. Under what circumstances would you allow urban farming such as raising chickens?

I would look at urban chicken farming only if every other major issue in our community was addressed or dealt with. Singular items such as this specific issue will not be a part of my platform in this election.

8. Where do you see recreation in Ponoka in the next five years?

I would like to have that discussion with our town employees who are responsible for this service. Once a strategic plan has been developed, we will need to review resources, partnerships and grant availability. In the meantime, we need to engage our community to become involved and utilize the services that we have.

9. How would you revitalize the downtown core?

We need to review what has been tried and what direction our businesses want to go. Economic development was a goal of our previous council. What did that discussion look like? We have both downtown and highway businesses. Is that part of the plan? What have other communities done? More questions than answers at this time.

***

1. Name: Craig Saunders

2. Age: 35

3. Occupation: Divisional Safety Advisor

4. Marital Status: Married with 3 children

5. Why are you running for town office?

I’m running to provide the Town of Ponoka with some authentic common sense perspective. It’s time we base our decisions on principals of substance and not the superficial. We have made bylaws for the alleged interest of public safety that are voided when our families and neighbors are at their greatest risk to line the wallets of a few. We have shuffled business from one spot to another and declared that to be growth. We have been guided by the self-promoting, special interest, and ethically challenged long enough.

6. What sacrifices are you willing to make?

The most precious commodity in life is time; it can’t be banked only spent. Anyone who is willing to accept a council seat has already demonstrated their willingness to sacrifice for concerns beyond their personal endeavors, or at the very least we hope that’s their motive for stepping up.

7. Under what circumstances would you allow urban farming such as raising chickens?

I see a variety of concerns that may arise such as noise, odour, health concerns, the animal’s care and acceptable limits of stock, serious considerations are needed, most importantly the community would need to bring forward their thoughts and feelings on the issue.

8. Where do you see recreation in Ponoka in the next five years?

Ponoka currently has a variety of recreational groups and facilities. We need to take a serious inventory of the pros and cons of the situation. It’s great to have newer facilities and an all-in-one concept would no doubt be beneficial but at what cost to the taxpayer? What are the people of Ponoka willing to sacrifice to accomplish this is the question that needs to be asked?

9. How would you revitalize the downtown core?

Growing up in Ponoka I was fortunate to see Ponoka when it had a thriving downtown, however to look at the issue in perspective, the viability of bring the core back to its former glory may be just a notion. We have tried the “lipstick on a pig” approach with Chipman Avenue. Maybe a broader view of the situation is in order. The core is ideal for niche market shops, banking, accounting, lawyers etc., but for retail applications it has been engineered to fail. Economic anchors such as fuel, fast food, and grocers are no longer located in the core; transportation routes through the town don’t direct traffic to downtown. The core of retail business is along Highway 2A and 53. To grow Ponoka we may need to look in a different direction. Where would you open a business?

***

1. Name: Dave McPherson

2. Age: 55

3. Occupation: Work program with the Rising Sun Clubhouse

4. Marital Status: Single

5. Why are you running for town office? Because I want to make a change in the community where I live and make Ponoka a better place.

6. What sacrifices are you willing to make? I probably won’t be able to see my friends as often as possible and I probably won’t be able to shovel walks in the winter.

7. Under what circumstances would you allow urban farming such as raising chickens? If the land-use is appropriate, such as where waste from chickens or cattle are dumped and does not cause pollution concerns where drainage cattle basins from rainfall are located, and where the waste can be contained, then I do not have any problems.

8. Where do you see recreation in Ponoka in the next five years? I would like to see more walking and bicycle trails in town. I would like to see a new ice arena and more baseball and soccer fields along with a rugby field. Or tennis courts with at least six surfaces that are larger than the existing tennis courts behind the Aquaplex.

9. How would you revitalize the downtown core? By attracting stores in the downtown core to places that have closed down. I stress that we do not need a Walmart in Ponoka because a Walmart store would take all the business and more places would close down.

I am suggesting that an independently owned clothing store along with shoe stores, a record store or a bookstore could locate downtown. But I want to work with owners of buildings downtown to lower rents for upkeep of the aging buildings so people could move their businesses into empty locations. I also would like to see existing stores in downtown Ponoka lower prices so people could afford to shop at their business. If people shop in Ponoka, then the revenue generated from every dollar spent in Ponoka would go to the Town of Ponoka because people would shop local instead of driving to Red Deer or Wetaskiwin to do their shopping.

***

1. Name: Loanna Gulka

2. Age: 41

3. Occupation: Chef and incumbent councilor

4. Marital Status: Married to Husband Curtis with 2 daughters, Emma, 17, and Cali, nine.

5. Why are you running for town office?

I spent the last 3 years in council learning on the job, taking numerous courses, building relationships with the county, the province and federal governments in hopes to find ways to enhance Ponoka as a whole. I feel the tax payer has invested in me to be the best possible councilor so during my 3-year-term I tried to educate myself with all the resources and courses that were available to me.

6. What sacrifices are you willing to make?

The obvious as stated by my former colleagues is the vast time you must commit to this task. It can be a struggle to be away from family but I feel that trying to create a better community for all families who live here is worth the sacrifice.

7. Under what circumstances would you allow urban farming such as raising chickens?

When you are a councilor there is no YOU. In situations such as a by-law, you must study every angle. You may have an opinion but it has to be measured against your neighbors and factor in the impact it has on business, protective services and any other group involved. After that rarely is it unanimous. Council is made up of seven individuals who all feel they are doing what is right or best.

8. Where do you see recreation in Ponoka in the next five years?

Firstly I would like to thank Coun. John Jacobs for all the great work he has done to the trail system. Hopefully we can continue on with his efforts. Going forward I would love to see a multiplex built here. I lived in Stony Plain prior to moving to Ponoka and there we had the Tri-leisure centre. Sherwood Park built Millennium Place and it seemed like overnight it transformed those towns. I believe with the right leadership (local, provincial, and federal) and help from the private sector this is something we can accomplish together and all be proud of.

9. How would you revitalize the downtown core?

There are many things you can do such as streetscaping and tax breaks but there is no guarantee that by doing this you will be successful and drive people and new business to the core. It will take a lot of people getting together to encourage change.

***

1. Name: Marc A. Yaworski

2. Age: 56

3. Occupation: Manager Leland Hotel

4. Marital Status: Married to Abby Yaworski

5. Why are you running for town office?

To develop a wellness plan that will over the long term, give sustainability to our economy and encourage young families to plant roots here.

6. What sacrifices are you willing to make?

I do not feel by becoming a councilor I would be making any significant sacrifice. This is part and parcel of being a member of this community. It is my wife who is willing to make the sacrifices. She will be doing all her work and mine while I am on town business. Hiring extra staff at this point is not feasible. She is going into this campaign with me, with eyes wide open. Abby is prepared and willing to do what is needed, if I am elected to council.

7. Under what circumstances would you allow urban farming such as raising chickens?

It is a growing trend across the country. There is a concern over antibiotics, chemicals and chicken feed used in industrial production. I feel it would be fine to have a law on the books that state, six chickens maximum per household, no roosters. Fenced yards, covered runs, heated or insulated coops. Eggs would be for personal consumption only and not for revenue. We would develop a system to allow for health inspections, and bylaw enforcement. Ponoka should follow the pilot project currently running in Red Deer. Their report will be tabled in January.

8. Where do you see recreation in Ponoka in the next five years?

I believe we need a long-term plan for a multiplex that will encompass most of the programs run in our town. A central location is preferred for gymnastics, dancing classes, recreational programs, for adults, seniors and youth.  This facility would bring our townspeople together in a healthy environment. More interaction will lead to a friendlier community as well.

9. How would you revitalize the downtown core?

Before the downtown can be revitalized, we have to improve the branding of our town. By convincing industry to invest here we would have a population increase that raises the viability of investing in small business. In the short term we need to work with downtown landlords, to come up with a formula that is mutually agreeable to them and the town which would allow entrepreneurs and or artisans to move into our downtown.

***

1. Name: Sandra Lyon

2. Age: 40

3. Occupation: Real Estate Broker – First Choice Realty (Ponoka) Ltd.

4. Marital Status: Married

5. Why are you running for town office?

I believe it’s time for some new people, new direction, and some fresh ideas

6. What sacrifices are you willing to make?

I would be sacrificing time away from my business mostly.

My children are now both in post-secondary education so I am willing to put in the time required.

I would like to make a contribution to the community I’ve lived in now for 17 years.

7. Under what circumstances would you allow urban farming such as raising chickens?

None – I wouldn’t want to allow chickens within the town limits of Ponoka.

8. Where do you see recreation in Ponoka in the next five years?

I believe Ponoka needs a comprehensive recreation plan. We need to pick an area where are facilities would be accommodated whether it’s 5 years or 25 years from now.

9. How would you revitalize the downtown core?

I believe a strong downtown core is essential to a community. One idea would be a special economic zone where improvements and additions to building would have a municipal tax exemption for a period of time. It’s time to start another downtown revitalization project like the streetscape of the past.

***

1. Name: Teri (Erickson) Underhill

2. Age: 39

3. Occupation: Stay at home mom – used to be a Legal Assistant

4. Marital Status: Married

5. Why are you running for town office?

I am running for town office because there needs to be some fresh ideas brought to the council and I believe that instead of complaining about it, you need to step up and see if you can make a difference. The town has not grown in population and business sufficiently in my opinion in the last 10 years and that needs to change. There needs to better communication between the citizens of Ponoka and the town council. I am hoping to improve all of that with my hard work and dedication to this Town.

6. What sacrifices are you willing to make?

I don’t think this is a fair question. I think everyone running is willing to make certain sacrifices to ensure they have the time to spend on town council and do the job but I don’t think anyone would be willing to sacrifice everything to be on town council.

7. Under what circumstances would you allow urban farming such as raising chickens?

That is something I am very interested in exploring and talking with other towns that allow it, but I am not opposed to allowing some urban farming in the town provided that there are very specific guidelines to be followed.

8. Where do you see recreation in Ponoka in the next five years?

My hope is that in five years, the town will be well on its way to a multiplex, which includes a running track, indoor soccer facilities, skating arena and pool. I also want to see our trails expanded for our runners with perhaps some lights installed on the trails as I am a runner and I think that would be very beneficial to all who use the trails.

9. How would you revitalize the downtown core?

One of my ideas for the downtown core is to introduce festivals to the downtown (for example “A Taste of Ponoka”, Fall Festival, Spring Festival), maybe try and have bi-weekly music concerts, have a park area downtown set up for these festivals. By having those, then I think people will be more likely to shop. I also think we need to encourage businesses to move to the downtown area by introducing tax incentives to open a business downtown.

***

1. Name: My name is Tim Falkiner

2. Age: 56

3. Occupation: I work for the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE).

4. Marital status: Single

5. Why are you running for town office?

I have concerns about the future of our town. Like many of you I have heard the complaints and negative comments. I have grown tired of hearing them and decided to try and introduce change. It’s time to, “Stop Complaining and Start Doing.”

6. What sacrifices are you willing to make?

The biggest sacrifice is TIME, time away from your family, time spent in meetings, time spent prepping for meetings and time spent researching issues. I am fully aware going into the election of the vast amount of time and work that are required.

7. Under what circumstances would you allow urban farming such as raising chickens?

I don’t see any circumstances currently where I would be in favor of urban farming. How many chickens? How does this affect your neighbors? Do property values drop? What about ducks, geese, pigs, goats, sheep or a cow? If we allow those then must we allow horses, donkeys, maybe a camel? Where does it end?

8. Where do you see recreation in Ponoka in the next five years?

I would like to see Ponoka well into the implementation of a multiplex. I would like to see an arena, pool, library, indoor soccer pitch, a walking track all under one roof. I have visited similar venues in numerous towns throughout Alberta. It can be done. We just need to bring the players together and get started!

9. How would you revitalize the downtown core?

To revitalize I think you need to attract, to attract you need to offer, to offer you need to be prepared. Our downtown currently is not prepared. I think Council needs to act on derelict buildings. I think we need to take a tough stance with owners who allow their buildings to fall into a state of disrepair and who clearly have made no effort to keep their property up. This does not only apply to the “downtown.”  There are some business properties that are a disgrace. The owners need to CLEAN them up and keep them up or face penalties.

Once you have that, then we can start to revitalize the downtown into a place people will want to go, and perhaps bring a new business too.

We have a community with so much potential. We need leaders who will listen and communicate more openly. We need productive dialogue. We need to bring not only problems and complaints forward but solutions as well. To be effective on town council I need you! So please join me and together we will move Ponoka forward!

“Let’s All Stop Complaining and Start Doing”

 

 

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