Listing a series of priorities for her next term, and expressing pride at accomplishments during the past three years, Mayor Susan Samson officially announced her candidacy for the town’s top elected position, during an interview Tuesday.
Among the unfinished items she considers priorities are securing an urgent care facility for Sylvan Lake and area; completing the downtown multiplex redevelopment to replace the aging arena; spearheading for a healthy lake using a cumulative effects management strategy; securing funds and a source of water for the town’s future growth; and working with local businesses to develop and implement a tourism strategy.
Samson indicated her platform is to identify and map out the strategic priorities over the next five years “to give all residents a sense of the direction of the Town of Sylvan Lake”; to be fiscally responsible when dealing with budgets, property taxes and debt; to be sustainable in our growth with responsible planning and consultation with residents; to maintain a healthy Sylvan Lake; to continue to attract, retain and expand businesses; to communicate effectively about the business of the municipality; and to provide amenities, programs, and facilities that make our town welcoming, inclusive and a source of pride for all residents.
“My style is leadership by example,” Samson said. “For the past six years, I have committed my time, energy, skill set and enthusiasm to serve the people of Sylvan Lake. I have found the office of mayor to be rewarding, educational and meaningful as I see the results of thoughtful, planned decisions unfolding for the greater good of our citizens.”
“I do not shy away from tough topics, controversial decisions and always consider the community as a whole when making decisions,” she said.
Getting out, meeting and talking with residents of Sylvan Lake has been one of her priorities. “People need to know the mayor as more than a figurehead sitting in an office making decisions that affect all residents. That’s why, she said she attends so many “functions, events and venues”.
“The town does not work in isolation,” Samson said, indicating “together everyone achieves more”. She said she’s learned the importance of relationships with surrounding communities and all levels of government as well as organizations like Alberta Urban Municipalities Association and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
“I am a humbled and proud recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal that recognizes my contributions as mayor to my community,” she said, noting she was nominated by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for the medal.
“I have taken advantage of all learning opportunities and I encourage my council to do the same so that we might better serve our citizens.”
Noting the pride she shares with her council in collective accomplishments during the last term she listed a number of items.
• a new RCMP building with a full contingent of members creating a safe community;
• building a new town hall, to meet the needs of our community that grew from 3,000 to 13,000 residents, at a time when the economy was depressed to get the biggest bang for our tax dollar;
• land secured for a new fire hall with construction starting this fall in order to continue providing firefighting services to protect our citizens and our infrastructure;
• a new public works building and yard to meet the need for many years to come;
• lakefront development that will continue to draw investors and visitors alike and contribute to the overall economic health of our community;
• people continuing to establish roots in Sylvan Lake as a result of building a welcoming family-friendly community;
• becoming a leader in green initiatives including diverting storm water from entering Sylvan Lake off Lakeshore Drive and water conservation initiatives to name just a few.
• 1913-2013 Celebration of 100 years of progress;
• a modest property tax increase of 1.9 per cent for 2013 combined with solid financial reserves to meet the growing needs of Sylvan Lake; and
• a 10 year capital plan to guide the financial decision making priorities.
The election will take place on October 21st.
Two other candidates — Councillor Dale Plante and Matt Prete — have declared they’re seeking the mayor’s job.