Alderman announces intent to run in election
Alderman Ron Chapman celebrated his 53rd birthday on Aug. 26, the same day he announced he will be seeking re-election in the Oct. 21 municipal election.
The 2010 municipal election was the first foray into local government for the 35-year resident of Airdrie. He moved to the city when it was a town of 2,500 people in 1978 and he graduated from George McDougall High School two years later.
Chapman has built both a career and a family, as a father of six children and grandfather to seven. He spends his days at Lone Pine RV, an RV parts and service shop, though he considers his job as a City councillor to be a full-time commitment as well.
“It’s a big time commitment to be a part of council,” said Chapman. “It’s close to 30 hours a week. My first term, I committed to three years and through discussions with my family and friends and colleagues this time around I’ve decided that I’m ready to commit to another four years.”
Chapman attributes his passion for politics to years of volunteer work in and around the community and in 2010 he wanted to go a step further and really see how the city functioned from the inside.
Substantial growth in Airdrie’s population and land mass is something that Chapman has witnessed first-hand as a resident, as the city has expanded from 39,822 residents when he was first elected in 2010 to 49,560 in 2013.
“We need to be planning ahead and managing growth,” said Chapman. “We have the 12,000 acres of land we annexed, we have a new land-use bylaw in the works and we need to be making sure that we’re making the best use of this new land.”
Chapman also listed other priorities going forward as improving the city’s transit system by ensuring there are enough buses for a growing population and that routes are suitable for all users, taking a hard look at curbside recycling and continued work on the anti-bullying bylaw.
A 24-hour health facility is another initiative that Chapman would like to see council continue to push for as well as another interchange off Highway 2 at the south end of Airdrie.
“We’ve been pushing and making our voices heard at a provincial level with these things,” said Chapman.
“We may have to get louder if we want to see these things come to fruition; with provincial funding we’re only given so much money and we have to spend wisely.”
Chapman also feels Airdrie is in need of some diversifying in its housing market to cater to young couples and people looking to start careers in the city.
“When you look at the way that Airdrie is growing, there’s a definite need for more starter homes so when we’re looking at neighbourhood designs that’s something we should be taking in to account,” said Chapman. “We should also be making sure that we have a lot of green space and that Airdrie is a community that is easy to walk and that we have safe ways for our children to get around town.”
Chapman says he will be campaigning in the coming weeks and listening to Airdrie residents talk about what they’d like to see from council.
“I’ve always said that I have two ears and one mouth so I listen twice as much as I talk,” said Chapman. “The people in this community are very passionate and I’m always available to listen to suggestions about things we can improve upon.”
Chapman can be reached at: 403-992-4604.