One of the 12 candidates running for a Ponoka town council spot believes it’s his time to give back.
Curtis Jacobson, who operates his own business in Ponoka and is also a single parent to two boys, feels that he can’t sit back anymore and ultimately wants to be bring solutions to what he feels is ailing the town.
“Ultimately, it takes all sorts of people to be on council and, the one thing about not getting involved, I think that’s a missed opportunity. I figure I can help by providing some insight and a new voice.”
Accountability and spending are two of the issues Jacobson has at the top of his platform, noting recent project cost overrun revelations and the continual problems facing the town’s electrical utility.
“I would have remorse and guilt if I was a business that was dealing with the town, not being seen as giving back, but cashing in on cost overruns. There needs to be a solution and need for some accountability put forth for some staff,” he said.
“There also needs to be a new focus for the electrical department. I’ve lived in major cities and know what kind of infrastructure is needed and the need to work better at spending as well as having long-term plans for repairs and replacement, not simply seeing money going into general revenue. It will never do throwing good money after bad.”
He also isn’t thrilled with new wayfinding (welcome and directional) signs purchased, complete with a slogan (Keep it Real) he believes is not too inviting to people.
“A lot of people are upset at what those signs cost. I could have been able to help and rally the use of some local businesses in order to see what could have been done better,” he stated.
“I believe the previous council was well-meaning, but it’s in the implementation where projects and ideas seem to get sloppy.”
That said, he knows a lot has gone into the plan for the downtown and he likes it. However, it can’t be about window dressings and trees.
“I love it, but I think I can help using my expertise and vision,” he said.
“The plan is good and opens the door for the town, but it just seems a bit like putting lipstick on a pig. We can’t spend money to dress things up with out looking at the core problems. Many of the buildings are rundown and it looks like everyone is packing up and leaving.”
“I get that there needs to be economic development along the highways, but there is also a need for quaint small business that attract people and get them to stay and spend their money. We need to look at how the town can help those kind of businesses succeed and grow.”
What Jacobson would like to see is rents downtown being lowered or made at least more affordable, while also transforming Chipman (50 Avenue) into a no-go zone for vehicle traffic.
“I would love to see Chipman turned into a pedestrian-only walkable street, with cobblestones instead of pavement. There is no one downtown later in the day or on weekends and this could work in attracting businesses and people,” he stated.
To that end, Jacobson would love to see a storefront downtown for residents to come down and talk to him or council in person instead of having to chase down councillors over the phone or at home.