There’s a new straw hat in the game and his name is Bernie Biever. The resident of Airdrie is running for mayor in the Oct. 16 municipal election.
“Over many years, talking to many people, we always talk about what’s not good, what’s not right, why did they do this, why did they not do this – and I said, ‘rather than complaining, I’m going to get involved and I’m going to make things better and I’m going to make a difference,’” he said when asked why he decided to run.
Biever has been a resident of the annexed lands surrounding Airdrie since 1987. He is a retired businessman and said he’d use what he learned during his professional life if elected to the city’s top seat.
“I’ve had years of experience. I’ve had my own businesses – I’ve taken them from nothing up to success and been fortunate enough to sell them and start over again. I’ve come from a management background in the oil industry,” he said. “I’m a very global thinker. I don’t get caught up in the minute details. I start out global, then I work myself down to the details. I think you have to have an open mind and a broad mind with years of experience to look at everything as a whole.”
Utility service costs – ATCO Gas and FortisAlberta – are something Biever said he’d like to change.
“We’re signing 10 year franchise agreements with both the power and the gas companies, giving them exclusive rights to everything that goes on in Airdrie city limits and they’re allowed to make a very high rate of return on their investments,” he said.
“Basically, the more they spend, the more they make. I think that’s one area where we can really get a handle on our costs by either going out for tender to other companies, taking a part of it ourselves, maybe not giving them exclusive rights – maybe splitting it up a little bit. I think we have tremendous potential there.”
Biever said he’d also work hard to bring an emergency shelter to Airdrie if elected. He’s also for limiting the access of commercial semi-trucks to city roadways.
“They’re parking all over our streets and they’re running their business from our streets and paying nothing towards our infrastructure,” he said. “I think we should stop that. They can go to lots – maybe the city can supply a lot and get some revenue off them.”
Another potential revenue avenue Biever said he’d like to see the city pursue is a campground and sani-dump station.
“I think there’s two out of every 10 people who own an RV in Alberta. Airdrie doesn’t have a campground. They have one sani-dump station for the people to dump. They’re allowing RV parking in Walmart lots, for example, which a lot of cities don’t allow,” he said.
Biever said he hoped if he was elected he would have a good team to work with.
“If you get a team that work together, there’s no end to what we can do in Airdrie. We can make things happen – forget the squabbling. A good team with a good mayor – we’ve got it made,” he said.