Another resident has announced their intention to run for a Ward 1 council seat in the upcoming election.
On Thursday, Small business owner J. Paul McLeod announced his campaign at Abrams’ Land.
McLeod tells Mix News he wants to be the voice that better connects the public with council.
“Ever since the fire, that’s what I’ve looked to do, I’ve looked to make sure that I can engage the people of Fort McMurray with what’s happening in our municipal government. I think we’ve all witnessed and experienced a massive life event in the fire and we realized that the decisions and the choices that are made eventually could have an amazing impact, as they did.”
McLeod has been a regular at most council meetings, usually deciding to be a delegate on many big issues that arose or were scheduled on the agenda. He says the decision to run for council over remaining a well-spoken delegate was the toughest choice he had to make.
“It’s a place where I’ve been very comfortable and my goal there has just been to ask questions, create debate, and make sure the public was informed with the issues that were discussing or happening in the chamber. It’s my thought we can continue to do that.”
McLeod says public engagement, the environment, and Bill 21 are his biggest key issues.
On Wednesday night, the public was given a big overview of what the transition into the new 5:1 tax ratio would look like over the next few years. It’s being estimated that homeowners could spend between $6 – $50 extra per year, though those numbers could change.
“We’ve heard numbers thrown around that it’s going to cost the average household $50 a month, I’m really not happy taking the word at chamber – I want to see some proper paperwork and some real data. I think I’m not alone – that we really like to be educated so we can form our own opinions.”
As for some of his other issues, the environment will play a big part in his campaign.
“I think one of the things we can work on here in Fort McMurray, without it costing us a lot of money, is how can we be better stewards of our environment. For example, there was a lot of intent and effort put out on the bag issue, are there other things we can do, can we recycle, can we do better than what we’re doing right.”
Meanwhile, election day is October 16.
“I want to lend my voice to the people of Fort McMurray, if people liked what I’ve done in the last two years, if they believe in the message that I’ve continued to put forward, I want to take that message, I want to represent small businesses, large businesses, people that need economic help.”