Election will provide opportunity for citizens to be heard

In the past few weeks three citizens have announced in the Sylvan Lake News their intention to seek the position of mayor in our town.

Dear Editor,

In the past few weeks three citizens have announced in the Sylvan Lake News their intention to seek the position of mayor in our town.

Having read these articles it is good to know the voting public have at least three candidates from which to choose a mayor.

After reading Susan Samson’s article about her accomplishments and future goals, I am left with some concerns about occurrences during her six year tenure as mayor that hurt the town somewhat.

Six years ago we had a main street that was completely filled with thriving businesses. These businesses catered to most of our wants and needs. Main street was the very heart of our beautiful town. Look at main street today. It is very sad.

Two years ago Highway 781, our main access to 50th Street, was closed from the south and the wet. $500,000 for traffic lights would have solved the problems at this intersection. Instead, with the shrewd bargaining of our town council and the narrow-minded attitude of the bureaucrats in the Department of Transportation, $8-$10million has been spent. The job is far from finished and far from safe.

I certainly believe the former MLA, Luke Ouellette, lost his job by forcing the closure of 781. Furthermore some of the bureaucrats should lose their jobs for the blatant misuse of taxpayers’ money on this ongoing money pit. Accidents on Highway 20 and on 47th Avenue are a direct result of closing 781.

I would encourage a new council to proceed with negotiations to reopen the intersection.

Another first for council was Mayor Samson insisting on a closed meeting with our newly elected MLA, Kerry Towle, shortly after the provincial election.

A mediator was needed to be chairman of the meeting. Bob Clark, a very respected former MLA and Ombudsman of Alberta became the chairman.

Previously Mr. Clark, in a discussion with Kerry Towle, advised her to have at least two people accompany her to the meeting. Matt Toonders and myself were invited by Kerry. In my opinion this meeting was very unpleasant.

At one point in the discussions taking place, Mayor Samson addressed me and order (I quote word for word) “Dale, you are here strictly as an observer and you will not be allowed to speak and furthermore I do not approve of your taking notes at this meeting.”

Feeling like a chastened child I passed my notes to Mayor Samson.

Having attended meetings in Sylvan Lake for the last 65 years, this was the first time I had heard someone told to shut up and do not take notes. Another first!

This is not my vision of a democracy.

Near the conclusion of the meeting, thankfully, Mr. Clark said, “Dale, even though you are not allowed to speak, you can speak now!

Moving on it seems to me there is no end of money for council to spend on “studies”. One study was how to communicate with the public.

A great place to start would be to listen to the people that elected you. These are the citizens you have to please, not some get-rich-quick developer that would remove all our trees to further his own development (re: south tree line in Pierview).

I recently touched on candidate for mayor Dale Plante and his dream of a man made beach (SL News, July 25). Enough said about this candidate.

I have not met Matt Prete who has declared his candidacy for the mayor’s position. Mr. Prete spoke at the meeting on Nov. 15, 2012 about the 781 intersection, which incidentally was totally devoid of any town officials.

His remarks at that time were very encouraging, with a common sense approach to try and remedy some of our concerns. I certainly plan to meet Mr. Prete and encourage him in his quest for mayor.

As always, with an election, vote the way you please. But please vote.

Our town is definitely in need of sound leadership. This is not any easy job and I wish the new council the best of luck1

In the next four years I am sure council will face a new and no doubt very contentious issue. Do we go from town to city status?

Hopefully the citizens of Sylvan Lake will have a lot more dialogue and input on this issue than we had with the closure of 781.

Thank you,

Dale Mannix,

Sylvan Lake