MD sees 14 nominations for council
Election 2017: Five of seven divisions to make decisions at the polls
Monday, Sep 18, 2017 03:28 pm
MD of Foothills Nominees
There are five seats up for grabs on MD of Foothills council in next month’s municipal election.
Larry Spilak in Division 6 and Suzanne Oel in Division 4 were acclaimed after no one stepped forward to challenge their seats at the council table. However, the heat is on in all five remaining divisions.
“This is the most I’ve seen,” said MD returning officer Heather McInnes. “We’ve never had this many divisions go up at once. It will be an interesting race, that’s for sure.”
In Division 1, incumbent Rick Percifield will be going up against two candidates: Llana Malmberg and Robert Siewert.
Siewert, of the Cayley area, said he’s been considering a run for council for some time. He’d like to be involved in directing future development in the MD.
“We need to preserve farmland as much as possible,” said Siewert. “There’s too much farmland getting covered over and split up and broken up.”
He said added pressure on the MD from the growth management board and developers looking to build large-scale communities are making it difficult to maintain the municipality’s rural roots.
“We need to have strong agricultural voice to stand up to those pressures,” said Siewert.
With a background in farming and trade, he said he’s confident he’ll be a strong advocate for the MD.
He also said he’d like to be part of helping the MD navigate through financial stresses after loosing oil and gas tax revenues in the past few years.
“It’s always good to have competition, whether it’s in business or politics, or anything,” said Siewert.
In Division 2, Delilah Miller will be running again, with competition from area resident Terry Zimmerman.
Zimmerman said he’s being driven by a desire to represent the people of the MD fairly and to see developments through as they come forward. As a long-time Foothills resident, Zimmerman said he felt it was time to throw his hat in the ring.
“I know I can represent the taxpayers with my varied life experience and background in areas like farming,” he said. “Basically, my goal in running for this is to be approachable and represent the taxpayers as best I can.”
He said it comes down to being impartial and making decisions based on what’s best for the division residents and the MD as a whole. As far as development, he said it’s not a bad thing as long as it’s done right and agricultural land isn’t going to waste.
“Once farmland is converted you can never get it back,” said Zimmerman. “It’s just gone. The best thing is to make sure it’s done properly if they’re going to do it.”
There will be a rematch in Division 3 between incumbent Jason Parker and former councillor for the area, Barb Castell. Parker won the election in 2013 by 151 votes.
In Division 5, incumbent Ron Chase will be up against two new opponents: Alan Alger and Barry Klassen.
Klassen said he’s been in the MD for 20 years and has wanted to run for council for some time. As a member of some recreation boards, an arena board, and the current president of the Red Deer Lake Community Association, he’s no stranger to the inner workings of the MD.
“I’ve been working on all kinds of different boards, and I figured it’s time to step up and get right into the middle of the fray and represent all those people in Division 5,” said Klassen.
One of the biggest things he’d like to address is the way developments are approved, he said. Sometimes development in the area can be hit and miss, he said, with applications going through regardless of constituents being unhappy with possible consequences.
“My main goal is to be a louder voice on council for things that are happening in Division 5,” said Klassen. “But I’m realistic – I know I’m one voice in seven, but I’m ready to push for what my constituents want to push for.”
He said overall the MD runs a pretty good ship, and he’s excited for the chance to be part of the success it’s seen over the years.
Ted Mills, current Division 7 representative, is retiring from council after this term. Nominees Jay Groeneveld and R.D. McHugh will be contending for his seat at the council table in October.