Now that the race is underway, I have 28 days to get my message out to the residents of Fort McMurray. I have been vocal on the issues through my writing for a number of years now, and have always loved talking to the residents who live here about what they want for their hometown. So on many issues, I have already written columns or blogs about many of them. But over the next 28 days I will be very specific about my platform.
Over the last 18 months there has been a lot of change in our city, to put it mildly. We had several new council members added to the table during the last election, and they came in with questions about the spending of our taxpayers money. The questions and audit were not always easy, and when salaries and expenses started coming out many were shocked at the waste that seemed to be wide spread. But the council and budget and audit committee stuck to finding out many truths, and I was proud of the work that they did for us. From the KPMG Audit, 46 recommendations were made. Policy seemed to be lacking at every level, as was communication. But these recommendations were so needed, and council now needs to move forward on implementing them so that the huge gaping holes where we seemed to be bleeding money can be fixed. I want to be on council to continue to push for the implementation of these 46 recommendations. So first and foremost, I would say that I want to continue the current culture on council of fixing what we now know is wrong. But while we can be fiscally responsible, I don't want to continue to drag our feet on capital projects like the North Side Rec, with one exception.
The Downtown Entertainment Centre was a project that was never greeted with overwhelming public support. The expropriation process that started the whole process is still being questioned and many feel that the city is not listening to the residents about this project. In the last month, I have realized that this issue is one of the first things that voters still want to talk about. Many are saying that they do not want the Centre built in a location that is not liked, with money that is not available. And some feel very strongly that it should not be built at all given the current calls for fiscal restraint. I know that there are legal issues with the expropriation process, but the developer, Clearwater, is already saying that they also will need $10 million a year for the next 30 years, instead of the initial 7.5 million that was earlier projected. So some hard decisions, and more conversations should take place before any more decisions are made on moving forward on this project.
There are other issues that I will talk about and let people know about during the campaign, but there is one more that I would like to touch on briefly, and that is our relationship with the province. I think even though we are different levels of government, it is imperative to work together more closely, as we all have common interests in our community. I am happy that they have been able to recruit Dr. Ngene, a much needed new OBGYN. And I think if council and the MLAs of our region show a strong united front we might be able to progress on some other issues as well.
Finally, I wanted to point out that to your right, I now have a link so that you can donate to my campaign. Every single dollar goes into a separate account and you will be issued a receipt. You have to have an Alberta address, and I would love your support. Of course, I know that everyone might not have an extra dollar, so there are other ways you can support me that are so easy! You can take a sign(but they're in high demand, so let me know soon), you can come door knocking with me, attend one of my coffee/wine events, you can take some brochures/cards to hand out, and even just sharing all my posts/blogs, etc, will help me, and I will forever appreciate every single thing that you all do for me.
Continue to watch for posts on my platform, questions that I have been asked, and all my other news as usual. Below is a picture of me filing my nomination papers this morning in Chambers. This is where I want to be sitting after Election Day on March 30th. My cel is (780)838-1782 and my email is: vernamurphyforcouncil.gmail.com