The last of Ponoka County’s council members announced he will be running again.
Doug Weir, elected for the first time four years ago, filed his nomination papers last week to once again represent Division III.
“I liked it, I found it very fun. I didn’t find it difficult and I got along with all of my colleagues,” he said.
“But, there were some things left on the table that need to be done. I think that hopefully I can drive the bus in the right direction get some of that stuff done.”
Among those items was finding a way to replace the revenue lost due to the economic downturn.
“That is going to be a big thing and if things continue going the way they are, the county loss of revenue could be $5 million,” he stated.
“We are going to have to come up with ways of generating that kind of revenue, if we want to continue on with our programs.”
Weir added the county would have trouble trying to make its operations any leaner, so the question is where would new revenue creation come from.
“I don’t want to leave that question to someone brand new to the job, as I believe one source could be promoting more economic development in the county,” he said.
“That said, there are a lot of things we can be working with other municipalities on, including the towns of Rimbey and Ponoka, that are mutually beneficial. The problem is you have to have a dance partner, but the question is, coming up with some ideas they want us to deal with and being prepared to discuss it.
“Once a solution is made, then they have to stand by it and not back out of it.”
Waste management and recycling are two examples of where all three municipalities could work together.
“If there was one large garbage site, there is the possibility of generating electricity and that is one way of generating new revenue,” Weir said.
“Then we could partner with the Town of Ponoka’s electrical utility and form a new crown corporation with good management to create that revenue stream, with each municipality getting back a portion of what they invested.”
Weir added this type of idea would allow taxpayers to avoid a significant hike, though he noted both town and county residents have been spared increases for the past few years and there could soon be an end to that.
On the development front, Weir knows how contentious the Highway 2 corridor Area Structure Plan has been, but feels there is a need for planning to be in place ahead of time.
“We need to be ready for when that next big surge happens. This is about being prepared with our infrastructure, so business can develop while also ensuring other areas are protected,” he said.
“However, this is also likely going to take many years, but you have to be prepared.”
As for this past term, he wouldn’t do anything differently, but he did learn a few things.
“I learned quickly that one councillor can not accomplish anything without the cooperation of his colleagues, administration and staff. Our council, while not always on the same page, were open to listening, rigorous debate and seeking out solutions,” Weir stated.
“We did accomplish a lot and worked toward the greater good of the community.”
In addition to the economic work yet to be done, Weir wants the county to continue with its commitment to support non-profit and community groups.
The deadline for nominations is Sept. 18 with the election set for Oct. 16.