Election Profiles – High Prairie Mayoral and Council Candidates 2017

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Mayoral Candidates

Linda Cox

Kept taxes stable during last four years and will continue to work to maintaining taxes that are fair to all residents. Very pleased to see the trend of increasing taxes each year stopped…Integrated College is a great idea but the community needs to be consulted before proceeding – High Prairie can be and should be a learning hub for the region…will lobby Alberta government for the cleanup of the old hospital land, and have it turned over to the Town of HP…need to continue to lobby for hospital services such as dialysis, basic chemotherapy and obstetrics – the latter is promised for late 2017 or early 2018, so must keep the pressure on…need to come up with a solution for the Esso property…will work with ATCO in installing more LED lights, thus reducing power costs and energy consumption…is proud of council’s record in finding efficiencies in operations to help reduce taxes – a promise kept…need to maintain and improve Aboriginal relationships…will continue to bring accountability and transparency to ratepayers – was not at council meeting when decision made to not provide cheque list in agenda package…during her term, council meetings are now recorded and broadcast for anyone to watch…microphones and sound system installed to make it easier for anyone attending council meetings to hear…was only councillor to provide timely reports throughout the entire term, if elected, will continue to do so…successfully lobbied for overly of Highway 2…co-ordinated with Tolko Industries a regional focus foe their restart…says council needs to make more progress to promote tourism…would like to look at a Downtown Revitalization Plan…need to develop and implement a long-term sustainability plan to identify ideas and strategies…favours increasing utility services for schools and hospital that do not generate property taxation income.

Brian Panasiuk

Will listen to the people’s concerns and work to advocate and address concerns to bring meaningful change to the residents of High Prairie…pleased with progress over the last four years but says there is still much to do, would like the opportunity to address issues…works in a leadership role at Northern Lakes College, knows what it takes to get things done in an organization…promises transparency and accountability when working with public funds…favoured not providing cheque list in agenda packages due to FOIP concerns…will be a good leader and team player…will work toward increasing hospital services; will lobby Alberta Health Services to accomplish that goal…will work toward providing services for seniors…will work toward bringing broadband connectivity [better Internet services] to High Prairie; it is critical to growth and future success…has been a part of a council that has held the line on taxes…will keep working to find efficiencies in operations to keep spending down…must make High Prairie more attractive to families and businesses…must continue building relationships with all surrounding governments to get things done…favours rotation of the chair to keep everyone accountable…pleased with improvements made at airport…will lobby Alberta government to re-instate grants in lieu of taxes program…does not profess to have all the answers but will do the research to make good decisions.

Town Council Candidates

Ross Burgar

Occupation: Security Consultant
Married Status: Common-law with Anne Bankey
Years in High Prairie: Returned 16 years ago [attended elementary and high school here]
Community Service: Assessment Review Board; Economic Development Board; Subdivision and Planning Appeal Board; High Prairie and District Food Bank.

Seeking office citing three main platforms…more services at the HP Hospital, especially dialysis…favours abolishing the Town of HP’s bylaw department…increased quality of life for seniors, including more seniors housing…council should be promoting local businesses more as part of a tourism plan…to keep doctors in town and residents happy, who want to make HP their home, programs and services must be provided to keep the spouses happy; once people see what HP has to offer, they will come here…is very concerned over the grown of town staff over the last four years and questions the cuts council claims to have made…wants to see improvement in seniors’ lives; if seniors live here, their children will come here and seek employment to be close to family…against council not publishing the cheque list, which aided accountability and transparency. The decision to publish the cheque list was a good idea…all bylaws must be enforced equally amongst all citizens…the rotation of the chair is not “a big thing” for him; but if council wants to do it, extend the opportunity to all boards and not just the mayor’s position…he believes when the public speaks, council must listen, not just every four year at election time…each council delegation’s presentation should be made into a recommendation from the CAO or mayor so council can act.

Donna Deynaka

Age 55
Occupation: West Fraser Administrative Assistant
Years in High Prairie: 49
Community Service: HP Victim Services; HP Palliative Care Society;’ HP Musuem Board; HP Agriculture Society.

Seeking re-election to continue the good work done by last council; 68 of the 69 recommendations in the Harold Johnsrude Report have been completed…does not want to disband the bylaw department, but wants them to work only within town borders…must find a common ground between all partners to move the Integrated College Campus forward…does not want to rotate the chair, unless circumstances dictate it necessary…pleased council was able to stabilize taxes and wants next council to do the same; was pleased council found cost-cutting measures to help reduce costs…when dealing with Big Lakes County, council must remember to represent High Prairie citizens, but is pleased relations with county are good…was pleased council got rid of the direct control development policy…was pleased council reviewed more than 700 bylaws to bring them up to date – about 70-80 exist now…pleased to see Tolko starting again and the hospital although work needs to be done to increase services…proposed splash park is a good idea but cost of operating must be considered…council needs to consider the balance between costs and needs on all issues. “We only have so much money.”…will strive to work for more accountability and transparency between council and the public, but did vote to stop providing the cheque list due to legal issues…council should sponsor events that bring people to town…last council did not plan for water and sewer needs, this council must.

Brian Gilroy

Age: 52
Occupation: HP Church of the Nazarene Pastor
Married Status: Married to Kim.
Years in High Prairie: Three years.
Community Service: Co-founder of Community Gospel Sing; Spiritual Care Giver at HP Hospital.

Wants to be “a voice on council for those who feel they do not have a voice”…will continue to talk to people and represent their opinions…council cannot be intimidated by other levels of government around them and do what’s best for the citizens of High Prairie…wants to make the second ice surface into a multi-use facility to better serve the community…must secure the old hospital site for the town as a site for the Integrated College Campus – his preferred location – he is on record as opposing the HPE location due to traffic and safety concerns…continue to lobby for services at the High Prairie Hospital; he is working on a spiritual care component for the region…wants to better co-ordinate all police services…believes youth have a strong role in shaping the community and wants their input…businesses should be allowed to have an anonymous say in the town’s strengths, and be allowed suggestions for improvements…wants to see a 10-year revamping plan for Jaycee Park with major input from the community…he strongly encourages voters to bypass personalities and look at the record while voting…does not favour the rotation of the chair because it is the duty of the mayor…council needs to work on finding new ways to recruit doctors to be more successful…wants council to uphold the highest standard of ethics while making all decisions.

Aaron Klassen

Age: 34
Occupation: Desktop Web Publisher.
Married Status: Married to Katie.
Years in High Prairie: Two years.
Community Service: High Prairie Air Cadets; High Prairie FASD vice-president.

Concerned over implementation of town bylaws, more enforcement needed, especially for stray dogs and cats, and unsafe properties need to be dealt with…wants the Integrated College Campus to proceed, regardless of location to ensure a facility for the youth. “It is good for the community and it will create a stable foundation” and he fears funding may be lost if NLC does not proceed soon…old hospital land must be cleaned and returned to the town and will work toward that goal…dialysis is a needed service at the HP Hospital and will work to see it come to fruition…wants to see fairer taxation for High Prairie citizens, agrees with Councillor Arlen Quartly that business owners sign big cheques. Wants to look at church properties in a non-church building being taxed…town has a lot going for it and he wants to contribute…favours rotating the chair to give each councillor experience and each councillor should be required to take a turn…believes council should take over the operation of recreation facilities…would like to see sponsorship [naming rights] of recreation facilities to increase revenue…would like to see the GBRC be a multi-purpose facility to include soccer and badminton…“Win or lose, this will be a winning experience for me.”

Michael Long

Age: 57
Occupation: Sales Associate, POPS Home Hardware.
Married Status: Married to Trish.
Years in High Prairie: Six years.
Community Service: Former City Councillor, School Board Trustee, Soccer Coach, Centennial Library Trustee.

Calls this a “pivotal” election in the town’s future to continue efforts to grow the community. Council must capitalize on the Tolko’s re-opening, West Fraser expansion and the new hospital…wants to create new green space in town…will work to providing dialysis at the new hospital…hopes to see a solution to the Esso property this fall; if not, will continue to work toward a solution…will strive to provide sound, responsible positive governance…favours the Integrated College Campus but High Prairie citizens and council must have input; he is very concerned over the traffic to be created in the area and subsequent safety issues…council must look at promoting tourism more, he sees the lake and the region as vitally important…must continue to always promote the community…council must be diligent on its operations; the last thing he wants to see is the Alberta government run the town again…is pleased council kept its promise to stabilize taxes, but needs to adjust the corporate rate. “We need more businesses to spread it out.”…council must continue to be creative in its operations to save money…favours the restructuring of the recreation board currently underway calling the former board “bad governance”…is pleased on the efforts of council to rebuild the trust and respect of the citizens from four years ago.

Arlen Quartly

Age: 48
Occupation: Owner, Sunstone Energy.
Married Status: Married to Diane.
Years in High Prairie: 38 Years.
Community Service: High Prairie Oilmen’s Association, former coach of High Prairie Regals; High Prairie Minor Hockey; High Prairie Elks.

Cites his experience in the oilfield business as a benefit in decision making…says the learning curve was steep but is better prepared to serve a full term and up for the challenge…says tourism is sometimes forgotten and council must promote it more because it brings people and money into the area…calls paying the high taxes “gross” and the “sickest thing I have to do” and he received lots of complaints. Says the entities that do not pay tax in town must pay and will strive to find a solution…he would “hate to do it” but he may be prepared to cut some programming to keep taxes in line…concerned over the criticism of the recreation board. “We need recreation in our community but no one wants to pay for it.”…promises the new-look recreation board [currently being worked on] will be positive…will continue to be approachable and listen…supports the Integrated College Campus at the HPE site and that council must do everything it can to make it happen. “One way or the other, it has to be built.”…favours the rotation of the chair to give all councillors experience…supports tax breaks and incentives to bring new businesses to town…favoured not providing the cheque list to the public due to legal issues…on record as saying council can cut costs to better utilize local facilities.

Debbie Rose

Age: Undisclosed
Married Status: Married to Ron.
Years in High Prairie: 31
Community Service: High Prairie and District Sports Complex Society, High Prairie Minor Hockey, St. Andrew’s Parent Council, High Prairie Regals.

Helped build a strong relationship between council and Big Lakes County…must continue to build relationships with First Nations and Metis Settlements…advocated improvement at the HP Airport…supported Tolko negotiations and is pleased to see its restart…priorities are regional collaboration, economic growth and development, improved social infrastructure, teamwork and cooperation, supporting new incentives, and financial responsibility…council must continue to lobby for increased medical services at the HP Hospital…has owned/operated several successful businesses in real estate and travel, says the education, training and experience gained have prepared her for role in municipal government…wants to see downtown and Main Street revitalization…youth must be supported as our future leaders…wants to continue the momentum council has built in the last four years…last four years have given her the experience to move forward with issues that matter to the community most…successful in appointing a member of council at local chamber meetings to hear their issues and support them at the council table…supports educational opportunities including the Integrated College Campus…promotes hiring and promoting local people…new Level 3 care needed for seniors…favours rotating the chair for new councils as it is an accountability measure…supports broadband Internet proposal.

Barry Sharkawi

Lesser Slave Lake Economic Alliance
High Prairie and District Children’s Resource Council
Clinic Community Participation Team
Community Health and Wellness Clinic

Will be a strong advocate for the citizens of HP, especially the children and youth…wants to secure more grants and bursaries for students…wants to work with local retailers and industry to help fight overinflated prices and keep money at home…council needs to lobby for more services at the hospital – dialysis, chemotherapy and obstetrics…river bank needs protection in town’s northwest…wants 24-hour bus service for senior citizens…wants more home care for seniors…recreation board needs to promote more activities for youth…favours Integrated College Campus but people of High Prairie must have input…worked with Tolko as chair of the Lesser Slave Lake Economic Alliance to make Tolko’s restart a reality…recognized by Alberta government for contributions to making the new HP Hospital a reality…council needs to support Treaty 8 Hockey Tournament and other events that bring people and money to town. . .does not favor the rotation of the chair because the mayor is the mayor, and leader of council…works needs to be done to promote tourism…wants to work to bring taxes down…wants to bring more industry to High Prairie…will work closely with the CEO to go after more grants to offset costs to the taxpayers…will listen to the people’s concerns and bring a voice to council. . .must continue to strengthen ties with county, First Nations and Metis Settlements…seeking office to be a part of change and growth for High Prairie.

Judy Stenhouse

[No other information disclosed; candidate wants people to run on their platforms]

Against council’s decision to not publish the cheque list, publishing it provides accountability and transparency…politicians should be open and responsive to the people and the public…supports sponsorship for High Prairie Light-Up, High Prairie Elks Pro Rodeo and High Prairie Sportsman Show…wants public delegation policy addressed at council; people should be allowed to speak near end of meeting…wants to remove the concrete barriers by the post office…council needs to enforce its own bylaws such as unsightly properties…favours mayor chairing the meetings, not rotation, it is the mayor’s duty…stop the foolish spending and make better use of taxpayer’s money…peace officers should only work in town, need more evening and night patrols…spending must be kept in line through tough economic times…focus on promoting success stories like Light-Up…questions why the restructuring of the recreation board was not done before the election as promised…favours regional collaboration with all partners…won’t make promises, she is one voice on council and there are too many outside factors contributing to decisions…is very leery of giving tax breaks or incentives to new businesses because it is not fair to the existing businesses who already pay taxes.


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