With the next municipal elections in October, Stettler and area community members are already thinking of candidates, and who would represent them best in their communities; while present councillors are wondering whether to take another shot at it.
The election will be held at the Stettler Community Hall from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 16.
To be a candidate, one must be at least 18 years of age on Nomination Day, Sept. 18; a Canadian citizen and must have been a resident of the Town of Stettler, if running for town elections, or the County of Stettler, if running for county, for six consecutive months preceding nomination day.
“I have really enjoyed being part of a team that leads the community down the path of growth and sustainability,” said Mayor Dick Richards about his tenure. “We strive to make Stettler a better place to live and raise a family. There is a fine balance between taxation and providing a high level of services for all to enjoy, and being part of the team that does this, has given me a great sense of satisfaction.”
According to Richards, whether the community members vote or attend forums or puts up their names for election, all citizens play a role in the electoral process.
“We are blessed to live in a country that allows for this process, not all are as fortunate as we are,” Richards added.
For town councillor, Malcolm Fischer, it is time for people to decide whether they want to return to the race or join it for the first time.
“It is time not only for incumbent councillors to decide if they wish to run again, but also for other interested citizens to perhaps enter the fray,” Fischer said. “Since becoming a councillor, I’ve often said that this is something every citizen of the town should contemplate doing, as it is a great perspective builder and enables far better appreciation of services we take for granted on a daily basis.”
Fischer said that many people work effectively and competently to ensure that the Stettler community has great facilities and services right here in town, but often they cannot appreciate them fully because they really have such limited knowledge of how the services work.
“Becoming a councillor enables one to learn so much, and make positive contributions to Stettler’s prosperity and quality of life,” Fischer said. “It is the very key to see the ‘bigger picture’ when one becomes a councillor. All aspects of the town’s operation must become areas of focus, and one’s attention cannot be limited to a narrow area of personal interest.”
Yvette Cassidy, County of Stettler’s Assistant CAO weighed in, saying, “Our role as a municipality is to ensure that every voter has a chance to vote.
“We make sure there are accessible polling stations, appropriate amounts of notice regarding the election and to encourage all eligible voters to exercise their right to vote. A successful election for us is one in which voter turnout is high, and everyone is able to exercise their right to vote.”
Looking back on his term, County Reeve, Wayne Nixon said that he has enjoyed the journey as the councillor for three terms, and reeve for two.
“The learning curve is steep, but when I had the time to reflect on our role as councillors, I realized that one of the most important relationships we have is with the provincial governments,” Nixon added. “If we are successful in advocating for our ratepayers, we can realize results like grants for roads and highways, water projects, hospital and ambulance improvements, fire apparatus, joint municipal grants for libraries and many others.”
According to Nixon, it is important to participate in all elections, particularly municipal ones, where each vote is more likely to affect the outcome.
With less than eight months remaining, residents of both town and county are gearing up to exercise their democratic rights, knowing full well the reverberations of the election results will be felt for the next four years.