Mayor Peter Brown announces he will run for another term
City of Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown announced he will be running for re-election in this October’s municipal election, Aug. 26.
Residents and City council were kept in the dark about whether the mayor would seek re-election after he suggested at the State of the City address on June 19 that the time commitment and a four-year term away from his family was concerning for him.
Brown formally addressed the media along with aldermen Ron Chapman and Kelly Hegg inside council chambers shortly after 3 p.m. on Aug. 26.
The mayor delivered a prepared speech that at times felt as if he was leaning towards not running again, fighting back tears as he thanked his council and family for their support over the past three years.
“I would like to thank the electorate for providing me the opportunity of a lifetime to be the mayor of the greatest city in Alberta, if not Canada,” Brown said. “It has been my honour to represent the people and the businesses of Airdrie.”
In his three years as mayor, the city’s population has increased from 39,000 in 2010 to nearly 50,000 today.
A larger population means potentially more voters, and Brown is keen on increasing voter turn out from the 33 per cent turn out in 2010.
Despite the rapid rate at which Airdrie has grown, Brown says he is particularly proud of the way he and his council have been able to manage growth in the past three years and he said that will remain a top priority for him going forward.
“We did a really good job of keeping pace with growth and we still have room to grow,” said Brown. “We were able to follow our fiscal responsibility and managed the public purse very well without ever having our service levels drop.”
On March 22, 2012, the government of Alberta approved Airdrie’s annexation of 12,640 acres of land from Rocky View County. The annexation area includes 213 homes and close to 60 kilometres of roads north, east and west of Airdrie’s city limits.
In his tenure, Brown and his council introduced and passed the community standards bylaw, a document that ensures residents will maintain their property to an acceptable and presentable standard.
“That’s a really big one for me that I’m proud of,” said Brown. “When I first got into office, I had a complaints file three inches thick and we’ve been able to get that down to a very small file.”
Brown and his council are currently in the process of implementing an anti-bullying bylaw into the public behaviour bylaw. Brown is cautious about moving forward with it as he says there are a lot of details that need to be polished and worked through.
“It’s something that we have to take a close look at and make sure that our resources are being put to good use,” said Brown. “You look at Red Deer, who has an anti-bullying bylaw and last year they arrested only four people because of it, to me that’s kind of a waste, so we need to really look at all our options with this.”
This year has been a whirlwind for Brown, as he spoke at nearly 700 different events. Perhaps one of his proudest moments came from one of his most challenging this year, when southern Alberta was hit with severe flooding in late June.
“That was something you can never really prepare yourself for,” said Brown. “We in Airdrie were very fortunate that we weren’t hit badly, but I was so proud of the way that our community stepped up to help our neighbours and pitched in. It was a hectic few days but my job through all of it was to manage panic and to keep communication lines open with our citizens so that they were getting all the pertinent information as soon as possible.”
That trial by fire was in some ways a microcosm of Brown’s first term as mayor, according to some aldermen, who say they were very impressed with the way Brown conducted himself.
“There’s a very steep learning curve with a job like this,” said Alderman Ron Chapman, who announced his intent to run for re-election on the same day as Brown. (See story on page 11) “I think he did a fantastic job in the last three years and he really stepped up to the plate.”
Alderman Kelly Hegg, who has not yet declared whether he intends to run for council in this year’s election, echoed Chapman’s statements.
“(Peter) has proven himself very capable of doing this job and that he is ready to continue leading this city in the future,” said Hegg.
Brown says that he feels better prepared to run for mayor this time around than he did in 2010 and is a little more comfortable with the idea of being mayor now that he has three years under his belt. He was thankful for the work of council and wished candidates the best of luck.