Justin Stevens

COUNTY COUNCIL – Justin Stevens – Erskine-Buffalo Lake (Ward 6)

Why do you want to start to serve on county council?

I have become more involved in county politics for the last three to four years.

In that time, I have become increasingly frustrated. I felt I could no longer stand on the sidelines knowing that I could bring improvements that were clearly needed.

Over those years, I have found an entire range of council reactions to public input; some positive, others not so much, and some altogether ignoring overwhelming public consensus.

At worst it bordered on outright disdain for their constituents’ concerns. I feel this has resulted in an erosion of public trust with the County. I hope to help bring forward a spirit of accountability to the ratepayers.

The public needs to feel that their voices are heard and the council appreciates it. For instance, instead of constantly fighting a ratepayer’s social media page, we should embrace it and look at it as an opportunity for education and growth. I encourage those concerned to start a ratepayers’ association.

The benefit is threefold: 1 – It gives the public a voice. 2 – It gives council access to the concerns of the citizens. 3 – Associations can be vital resources in educating the public (something as simple as clarifying what is possible or not according to the MGA).

Another important step in restoring trust is increasing accountability.

Currently all of the council signs a code of conduct form. Under this bylaw, only another councillor can file a complaint. Council needs to be accountable to citizens, not council. In an effort to turn over a new leaf with the public, the citizens need a recourse to file a complaint for unacceptable council conduct.

What is your vision for the community?

I have a vision of a fiscally responsible council that encourages growth but mitigates the side effects. We need to find a way to work cooperatively with our neighboring municipalities. No one wins when we drag out fights with our neighbors and rack up legal/mediation costs.

If we are negotiating in good faith and racking up mediation costs, we should not be paying to develop a replacement plan in parallel. This is the equivalent of paying for a marriage counselor and a divorce lawyer at the same time. In the face of tough financial times, our council has asked every department across the board to make cuts, while at the same time, they voted themselves a raise.

True leadership is leading by example.

Could you please tell us a bit about your professional/work experience?

My professional experience is from the construction field.

As a tradesman, I started on the tools and worked my way up to a variety of supervisory and management roles. These roles span from oilfield, engineering, power generation/distribution, water/sewer, civil and industrial. In that capacity I oversaw construction, design, procurement, scheduling, budgets, safety and QC.

I believe this experience will translate into being an effective voice on council, which is exactly what people will get if they vote for me.

Stettler Votes