Meet & Greet Our Municipal Election 2017 Candidates – Oct 11 – Howlers – 2 pm-5 pm

Each candidate was invited to our Meet and Greet and asked to submit their response to  three questions prior to the event.  This is to allow students who are not able to attend the event the opportunity to learn the candidates stance on each subject.

The following (in alphabetical order) are the submitted responses.

CLYDE BLACKBURN

1. What is your vision for the city, and region of Grande Prairie?

I want Grande Prairie to remain a strong, safe, healthy community with a robust economy.  That means paying attention to issues relating to crime prevention and policing, a positive ‘say yes’ approach to development opportunities, regional collaboration and revenue sharing, and support for recreational facilities.  All of these things will help attract to our community professionals (doctors, for instance) and others who will provide services and will stay because it’s a great place to live, work and play.  Grande Prairie is and will always be a place where everyday living is satisfying.

2. Do you support GPRC receiving degree-granting status as a Polytechnic University? If so, why? If no, why not?

To my understanding, having degree-granting status is a double-edged sword.  On one hand, it may provide a reason for students to remain in Grande Prairie to get their education, and to stay once they begin their working lives.  On the other hand, it is apparently sometimes challenging to have such degrees fully recognized at other universities, where students may wish to go to pursue higher learning.  I’m no expert on this subject.  I never go into a debate with my mind made up.  I’m very willing to learn more about the subject and to bow to the wisdom of those in the know.  If recommended by the college, I would support the concept.

3.  Are there any specific points of your platform that you would like to highlight specifically for students?

I’m sure that students have many of the same issues that the rest of us do.  I’m very interested in improved transit services, so I support the adoption of Grande Prairie’s 10-year master transit plan.  Taxes are high, which means rental rates are high and on the increase.  I am a strong advocate for regional collaboration and revenue sharing, which would improve city revenues and slow down tax increases.  In all aspects of city business, my approach is to view council decisions from the perspective of the person on the street – from seniors to students – and to ensure that they are reasonable and understandable.  I will be an advocate for citizens.

 

DYLAN BRESSEY

1. What is your vision for the city, and region of Grande Prairie? 

I have written about how we can do better with roads, taxes, and other nuts-and-bolts issues. But the reason you do those well is to build a community. So, I am talking a lot about connection. I want people to have more opportunities to meet and get to know their neighbours. I want our non-profit sector to thrive so people can connect with the causes they care about. I want the City to be working better with the County and other regional municipalities. And I want Council to work harder to connect with citizens: you should know what Council is talking about and know that you have influence on its decisions.

2. Do you support GPRC receiving degree-granting status as a Polytechnic University? If so, why? If no, why not?

Absolutely GPRC should be able to grant degrees! This needs to be one of Council’s advocacy priorities. It is important for our community and economy. Young people should not need to leave our community for lack of opportunity. This means they need to be able to receive degrees locally. Older people looking at educating themselves for a career transition should not have to sell their house and relocate their families. And employers should not have to lose employees who wish to further their education. People should be able to stay closer to home to get a degree. So polytechnic status is important for the sake of our community. However, it is also important for our economy. Many people who leave for education do not return. We need to do what we can to retain our brightest and most ambitious citizens.

3.  Are there any specific points of your platform that you would like to highlight specifically for students?

Most young people don’t vote. And I can’t blame them- government has made it hard for them to get engaged. This problem needs solving. Information and Council’s presence needs to be easier to find online. This is why I have an extensive website and I have spent a lot of time building the GP Round Table group on Facebook. However, electronic communication is not enough. Council needs to do the hard work of getting to know young people in person. I’ve spent a lot of campaign time getting out to talk to people of all ages. I plan to do the same if on Council. I’ve got some thoughts on engaging young people at www.voteBressey.ca/youth. I would love to hear your ideas about how we can do even better with this- you are the experts on your peers.  www.younglifegp.ca   www.voteBressey.ca

 

JACKIE CLAYTON

1. What is your vision for the city, and region of Grande Prairie?

I truly believe in Grande Prairie and its people. I am business minded and future focused and believes together, we can build an even better community at an affordable cost.  I am always ready to contribute, not afraid of hard work and committed to Grande Prairie today and in the future.  I understand that you can only expect a community to give you as much as you are willing to give it.

As a community supporter and an entrepreneur, I have always been welcomed and encouraged to thrive and succeed in my business endeavours.  Grande Prairie’s entrepreneurial spirit is second to none and was recently recognized in the Financial Post as “the first to emerge from brutal recession”.  I recognizes that it’s opportunities like this that need to be managed responsibly with foresight and to best enhance the future of this region.  As we are fortunate to live in a region with such an excellent opportunity it is critical that all opportunities and risks be recognized, captured and planned for.

2.  Do you support GPRC receiving degree-granting status as a Polytechnic University? If so, why? If no, why not?

Having had the privilege of serving on the GPRC Board of Governors I understand and appreciate the hard work that has taken place over the years to advocate for either more degrees and potentially to become a University. When I left GPRC was granting 9 degrees in cooperation with various Universities. A few years ago, after great discussion, the Board of Governors and Administration, took the lead to discuss the potential of GPRC becoming a Polytechnic.

In my opinion this a win-win outcome. Polytechnics such as NAIT and SAIT are able to offer numerous trades programs, so the students whom local businesses train, don’t need to leave the region while also offering various diplomas and some degrees. The programming is then based on need.

The best case scenario for our region is to become an educational hub for trades, diplomas and degrees. Keeping our Youth in our Region is essential.  As well, it’s a much easier transition for rural youth to move to GP and then we keep our youth close to home. I believe the region needs to assist GPRC in their efforts to advocate with Provincial government and in the Regional Municipalities need to advocate for this as well.

3. Are there any specific points of your platform that you would like to highlight specifically for students?

One of my priorities in the next term is to commit to an engaging and consultative process where you can safely voice your views, and know that issues that are most important and urgent to you have been heard and understood by Council.

As a fellow resident, I understand the challenges of being a tax payer, and a business owner.  I want safety for our community and affordable enjoyment for all.   We need stability in business and infrastructure that creates gainful employment for every person that chooses to make Grande Prairie their home.

Vote for me if you want a hard working Councillor who is accessible and willing to listen. If you want a Councillor with strong relationships within the business community as well within non-profit and volunteer organizations, vote for me. And vote for me if you want a Councillor with experience and the overall perspective that Grande Prairie needs to lead the way in being a safe, inclusive community with continued growth in economic development and innovation; all at an affordable cost.

 

SHANNON DUNFIELD

1. What is your vision for the city, and region of Grande Prairie? 

The reason I live, work and raise a family in Grande Prairie is because I believe we live in a great city that make us the hub of the north and a place where many people come to start a business, raise a family or go to school.

My vision for the city is to focus on relationships both internally and with surrounding municipalities. As we continue to grow, we will need to work collaboratively to support the growing infrastructure and the growing needs of our community.

2. Do you support GPRC receiving degree-granting status as a Polytechnic University? If so, why? If no, why not?

The majority of students in the north have attended GPRC at one point or another in their lives.  I believe GPRC is in a place where offering degree-granting status as a Polytechnic University is needed to support the growing needs of our youth and our area. I support this initiative because I believe it is the right thing for our youth and our community.

3. Are there any specific points of your platform that you would like to highlight specifically for students?

As a community leader, I am passionate about the social issues that affect our City. We need to have more affordable housing for our low-income families; affordable recreational opportunities for youth; develop more affordable homes for our Elderly; a sustainable plan to end homelessness in our city; support for persons with disabilities; and we need to look at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action for municipalities to develop long term planning for the City of Grande Prairie to be part of the reconciliation process.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my views.

Shannon.dunfield@gmail.com       https://www.facebook.com/VoteDunfield/

 

EUNICE FRIESEN

1. What is your vision for the city, and region of Grande Prairie? 

My ideal Grande Prairie exemplifies the values of prosperous, safe, and vibrant community. Results like this come from cultivating business and employer-friendly policies, regional cooperation, and innovative solutions to our specific challenges.

2. Do you support GPRC receiving degree-granting status as a Polytechnic University? If so, why? If no, why not?

The possibility of GPRC being designated as a degree-granting Polytechnic University is an exciting one for our region, and I support it wholeheartedly.

3. Are there any specific points of your platform that you would like to highlight specifically for students?

It’s important that our city fosters an environment that attracts students and fosters a desire to remain in the region after graduation.  Each of my three values does just that: a prosperous community provides meaningful career pathways and a good living for graduates, a safe community is a comfortable place to study, to make your home, and to raise a family, and a vibrant community delivers recreation and entertainment opportunities that make a city into a home. I graduated from GPRC in 1988 and have benefited from living here, and I want that for each of you.

JOHN KRISKA

1. What is your vision for the city, and region of Grande Prairie?

Continued growth all around, diversification in our economy, continuance with the development of facilities and programs for families. Continued opportunities for businesses and students.

2. Do you support GPRC receiving degree-granting status as a Polytechnic University? If so, why? If no, why not?

Definitely support GPRC in receiving degree-granting status as a polytechnic University. Any initiative that brings more education options to our public and private services is welcome and encouraged. Partnerships or in house programs at GPRC allow students to start their education close to home or continue to grow their education while not uprooting their families, careers, or partner’s careers. Most notably would be the opportunities directly with or associated with the new hospital. Overall it makes GP a more diverse and vibrant place to live.

3. Are there any specific points of your platform that you would like to highlight specifically for students?

As we continue to grow as a region there will be increased opportunities all around for students. We have the new hospital opening soon which will have a host of career options and we all know that GP has historically been the land of opportunity for entrepreneurship.

 

KEVIN MCLEAN

1. What is your vision for the city, and region of Grande Prairie?

Our future is bright again. There is big business investing big money in our area. I would like to see us

Prosper. I would like us to receive fair share funding from the province so we can reduce some of the load we are asking of our citizens through taxes. I want to see increased RCMP . I want to see us beautify the city.

2. Do you support GPRC receiving degree-granting status as a Polytechnic University? If so, why? If no, why not?

Absolutely, My Wife graduated from GPRC in 1997. As a professional she is doing her degree on line through Athabasca. It is not always ideal for learning. I would like to keep our kids in the community home so more families could afford to send kids to post secondary without the added cost of having their kids live away.

3. Are there any specific points of your platform that you would like to highlight specifically for students?

Grande Prairie is a great place to be. With the new hospital opening and some great professional jobs in many industries on the forefront I hope we can keep our grads here. I love northern Alberta and we need your talent.

 

YAD MINHAS

1. What is your vision for the city, and region of Grande Prairie?

There is little doubt that the City will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. This will obviously put more pressure on the current infrastructure as well make it more important to work with our neighbours; County, ID & MD. I would like to see several infrastructure programs completed and or started – 1. Ring road west of Grande Prairie needs to be extended to the correction line bypassing 116th completely. 2. Construct a ring road from the east side of the city connecting to County Industrial Park. 3. Work with rail lines so they do not go directly through the center of the city, this is a safety problem as well an inconvenience. Moving them could be very difficult but having them come through at slow traffic periods would be a considerable improvement.

2. Do you support GPRC receiving degree-granting status as a Polytechnic University? If so, why? If no, why not?

As the world evolves so must our educational system. For the college to get degree-granting status would show that the college understands the future of education, creating endless opportunities for students.

3. Are there any specific points of your platform that you would like to highlight specifically for students?

What I do today as a politician affects the younger generation more than myself. I would like to see more younger people involved in the planning of future projects of the city. I envision a safe vibrant city where young people want to stay, build careers, have families and have access to social amenities.

 

WADE PILAT

1. What is your vision for the city, and region of Grande Prairie?

 I am happy that you included the word vision in your question because that is the reason I decided to run for City Council. I have lived in Grande Prairie for almost 40 years, ran my own businesses for over 20 years and I am enjoying taking part in our community alongside my wife and two young daughters. My experiences during this time has built a vision for what I would like to see for Grande Prairie in the community, in our governance and in ours and visitors perceptions. I will feel successful if I could be talking with you in 4 years and be able to say that as a Council we kept taxes from increasing, increased the level of safety and security in our community, found ways to manage our operations so efficiently that we were able to create revenue in areas that were previously using funds in excess, increased the use of current community services to a point of creating a demand for more growth and to be proud to have grown our team in all senses of the word to include the County and MD of Greenview.

2. Do you support GPRC receiving degree-granting status as a Polytechnic University? If so, why? If no, why not?

I do support GPRC receiving degree-granting status as a Polytechnic University. Having the ability to grant degrees directly from our college in a variety of areas will allow us to be competitive in attracting growth to our city. Young families will look at such as advancement in our educational advantages as a beneficial reason for moving to Grande Prairie and calling it home. We would also be more likely to retain our students as working professionals within our community upon graduating. Investing in education as a region will increase the possibility of economic growth and stability within community service sectors.

3. Are there any specific points of your platform that you would like to highlight specifically for students?

I have been actively passionate about taking part in various nonprofit community boards and committees throughout my life and have been proud to be a part of such an inclusive, generous community. My concern is that over the years I have watched our taxes increase and our services decrease. My belief is that as our city has grown, the aspects of financial responsibility, financial transparency and economic revenue growth has slipped. If we do not regain stability in these areas our nonprofit and community sector will suffer because our community will not be able to afford such rounded support to these areas. I have owned my own business for over 20 years and particularly in construction for 13 years. I am very experienced in the governing aspects that result in financial responsibility such as large business budgeting, strategic planning, the Municipal Development Plan, city wide design standards, along with many more. These skills and experience are what have resulted in mine and my team’s success in the construction world. I believe that it is incredibly necessary to focus on ensuring our City’s budget is balanced to in turn have our community grow.

Website is PilatforGPcouncil.ca   I am on Facebook under Wade Pilat.

 

TYLA SAVARD

1. What is your vision for the city, and region of Grande Prairie? 

My vision for Grande Prairie is to see a community that is engaged, communicating and connected. Projects on all levels having community input and pride in our community increasing creating a positive ripple effect and impact.

2. Do you support GPRC receiving degree-granting status as a Polytechnic University? If so, why? If no, why not?

Yes I support GPRC growing and becoming able to offer more to students, it’s a great opportunity, a huge draw for students to come to Grande Prairie and more opportunities for local students.

3. Are there any specific points of your platform that you would like to highlight specifically for students?

Here’s are some links to various responses regarding my platform, I feel it’s important to have as well rounded understanding as possible of what each candidate is about and how they are involved in our community before elections to make an informed choice when voting.

http://www.bigcountryxx.com/syn/857/15539/elections

http://www.dailyheraldtribune.com/2017/09/21/candidate-profle-tyla-savard

http://www.grandeprairiechamber.com – can check out candidate responses to their questions as well as the Chambers forum

https://www.mygrandeprairienow.com/32871/city-council-candidate-questions-citycounty-relationship/

https://www.mygrandeprairienow.com/32870/city-council-candidate-questions-infrastructure/

https://talkgp.ca/speakers/tyla-savard/

 

CHRIS THIESSEN

1. What is your vision for the city, and region of Grande Prairie?

That Grande Prairie and Region is a model for innovation and total sustainable development and we are recognized as a prosperous, growing city of pioneers and social capitalists.  We are a caring, connected, compassionate, and collaborative Region that rises together to face our challenges and help the world, wherever and whenever it needs it.  That we are a diverse, dynamic, and creative place where people come seeking opportunity and stay to raise their family.  That we are conscious and deliberate in our actions to be ever mindful of our environment and the present and future needs of our community, without sacrificing our quality of living for all residents.  And finally, that this is a place where everyone’s voice is nurtured and heard – regardless of age or socio-economic status – and people are afforded the ability to grow, both personally and professionally.

2. Do you support GPRC receiving degree-granting status as a Polytechnic University? If so, why? If no, why not?

Absolutely!  From what I understand, a Polytechnic University designation does not currently exist within the Province and both GPRC and Red Deer College have collaboratively lobbied hard for this, to allow both colleges to offer their own trade diplomas, certificates, and undergraduate degrees in arts, business, education, and nursing.  This would help prevent the migration of our students to larger centers to finish their degrees, and create an opportunity for other students to migrate here for their education, acting as a valuable social and economic driver.  If our students can have access to more programming that is affordable while being closer to home, they would be more likely to stay in the Region, set themselves up professionally, and choose to raise their family here.  This would be a big win for our community.

3. Are there any specific points of your platform that you would like to highlight specifically for students?

My platform rests on 3 broad points: Affordable Living, Sustainable Practices, and Innovative Solutions.  Within the subtext of these points, I believe students can relate to most, but to be more specific I will list a few here:  1) Ensuring access to affordable housing, clean water, food and energy to all people at an acceptable cost, 2) Building a safe and connected community where families thrive with a variety of social, creative, and educational opportunities, 3) Preserving and expanding our green spaces while safeguarding and restoring their ecological balances, and 4) Increasing the quality and capacity of our public transportation system – more buses and routes, park trails connecting all residents.  For more information, please check out: www.electchristhiessen.com

 

CAM WHITE

1. What is your vision for the city, and region of Grande Prairie?

To be a place that people want to call home, a city where young and old have a voice in the future, and a cultural/Industrial leader of the north.

2. Do you support GPRC receiving degree-granting status as a Polytechnic University? If so, why? If no, why not?

100% definitely.  It would keep people in Grande Prairie, bring more people to northern Alberta, and launch us as a premier city in Alberta.

3. Are there any specific points of your platform that you would like to highlight specifically for students?

21% of people turned out to vote last year and nearly 80% of those who voted were over 45.  We are one of the youngest cities in Canada and its time we start to have our voices heard on council.

#Cam4Council

www.cam4council.weebly.com

 

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