Many good things that have occurred over the last four years is part of the reason Sandra Lyon wants to return to her spot on Ponoka town council.
Among the positives are the numerous council committees, the new bridge and the new learning centre being built.
“I think our committees have come a really long way. The recreation committee has started and is off to a strong start while the downtown revitalization had a tight timeline to get done what they did. We’ve got some strong committees with some really strong people on them,” Lyon added.
“This first term, it was a huge learning curve for sure. It’s had its ups and downs, but it’s all part of the learning. Some of it has been a little bit challenging, but a lot of it has been fun and a lot of it has been rewarding.
“Municipal government seems to work at a really slow pace, so seeing a project like the bridge actually be finished in that time frame is pretty big.”
Lyon added the present council did work for the betterment of the community, digging in on issues to keep Ponoka moving ahead.
That being said, Lyon noted there was at least one thing she would like to take back to the drawing board.
“It’s the contentious issue — the fire department,” she explained.
“I think conversations broke down there and the communication really needed to keep going. Just because the motion came forward and it happened the way it did, it doesn’t mean the conversations should have shut down.”
Lyon feels the entire situation became too emotional, especially when there were requests made for more information.
“One thing, at least for me personally, is that just because somebody needs more information it doesn’t mean they are against an idea,” she stated.
”That needs to be respected. And, councils need to work together, otherwise you see the obvious happen.”
It is that working together — or in government terms, collaboration — which Lyon believes needs more attention in the future if Ponoka is to prosper as an entire community.
“It is important, especially in a rural community. We’re a smaller centre, but the rural surroundings is a part of our community,” she said.
As for what Lyon would like to see if she is re-elected, it all has to do with keeping that momentum gathered so far.
“I think a lot of things have changed and happened in the last four years, so to keep that momentum going is really important. I’d hate to see it just stop or dwindle away because that’s really the reason I ran the first time four years ago. I was starting to not really care for the community I was living in,” she stated.
“I want to see the generations behind us want to raise their kids here. So, we have to do something so those kids want to come home and raise families. Because, if we stay the population we are now, it doesn’t grow the town and doesn’t move things forward. We need the generations to go on and come home or make people want to come to Ponoka. We can’t just let it die off.”
She also wants the next council to be able to discuss any contentious issues without it becoming personal among them and there is a need to work on accountability in administration given the recent financial shortfalls.
“What we’ve seen recently on projects, that’s not acceptable. We need to move forward, but we also need to stay accountable,” Lyon added.