First, I'm glad to be back on council. Elections can be funny things, and there's no sure bet as to which way residents will decide to vote. I appreciate all the people in Ward 3 who made the effort to vote, and I promise that I will continue to do the job as I have always done it - asking questions, proposing new ideas, and working toward efficient and effective solutions. I also appreciate all the support that I received from across the city - both leading up to and after the election I've had many phone calls, emails and conversations expressing confidence in my ability to continue to serve the city well.
I thought that the entire election campaign was good, with most candidates focusing on the positives that they want to bring to council, not negatives. I hope that those who weren't successful at the polls continue to be active in making Prince Albert a better place to live - it would be a shame not to use all that energy and enthusiasm.
It was clear from the results that Prince Albert citizens want a change in how things are done at City Hall, and I'm looking forward to that change. We have a good mix of new and returning councillors, which will provide some continuity, as well as new perspectives. I'm expecting more openness, and less dependence on the status quo way of looking at and dealing with issues. This openness has to extend through council and administration to the public - I had many questions through the campaign about things like hiring and contracting practices, where we stand on various projects like the water treatment plant, the bridge, and the Green Industrial Park, how major financial processes like the budget need to be more open and fair, and how council has to learn to live within the budget that is passed, not change its collective mind throughout the year. Those are all good questions, and have to be acted on.
We've already had one gathering on Friday - not a meeting as such, but one for a bit of orientation and to get some of the document-signing requirements out of the way. Most of the new council was there, and it was a good chance for informal talks about what our priorities might be. There's definitely a good variety of experience and knowledge represented around the table, and I think that we're all looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.
Because you can rest assured, we do face some serious challenges. We won't know the full extent of these challenges until we get all of the necessary information, and I have a good sense that most of the members of the new council are going to expect much more information before they make decisions than has been the case over the last six years.
And that is definitely a change for the better.
Our first meeting will be November 13th, the Tuesday after Remembrance Day. Here's hoping it's the start of good and positive change.
"Change is good, donkey." - Shrek.