Coun. Don Mitchell is seeking re-election in the upcoming municipal election on Oct. 24.
“I have been involved in a number of project and policy initiatives that are really just partway in progress,” said Mitchell, 68. “I want to ensure that more happens on those fronts.”
Mitchell, who said he feels younger than his age, said the priority issues he campaigned on three years ago were affordable housing, economic development and more effective waste management. While he said progress was made on all three fronts, he believes there is much more to do.
Some affordable housing initiatives have been started with the support of the Housing Advisory Committee and city council, but he said the situation still needs improving.
The pork plant was sold and reopened, homes were constructed and there have been major commercial developments including the Best Western Hotel and the redevelopment of the Civic Centre site.
He said there is a completed study of curbside recycling options for the city and he believes it is an issue that needs to be addressed.
Mitchell has been involved with between nine and 10 different committees and boards, including the Housing Advisory Committee, the Cultural Diversity Committee and the Municipal Planning Commission.
Earlier this week, Mitchell met with 20 local supporters to discuss their priority issues. Some of those were recycling and changes to the transit system to include access to the field house on High Street West. He added that another major concern was to move ahead on the CPR dam replacement.
He said the concept of local area planning will be a strong priority if he is re-elected. Local area planning is a process where residents and stakeholders can shape the issues, policies and zoning requirements for changing old and new neighbourhoods. Other cities such as Saskatoon have benefitted from the approach.
“There’s an initiative in the works for a pilot project and I think we have to try and bring that into place,” said Mitchell. “That’s certainly an area that plays towards a stronger network and partnership in development … We need to have an effective public planning process.”
Mitchell said on the ballot for this election there will be the ward system question. He believes that by next election, the ward system will make for a more diverse representation.
“The ward system makes it easier for new people running for council to begin to make connections,” said Mitchell. “If you’re running as a neighbourhood representative, you develop relationships during the campaign … whereas if you’re running city-wide, you’re spread out.”
Including last term, Mitchell has served on city council for nine years with breaks in between. He said his experience is helpful to bridge discussions and that “continuity is important.”