By Gillian Slade on October 12, 2017.
On a platform of “honesty and straight talk,” Leslie Rath is running for council in the municipal election.
In 1972, Medicine Hat was the third largest city in the province and has now slipped to number eight, he said.
“I am very tired of seeing the city let companies go to Lethbridge and go to Red Deer because there is nobody down at city hall that will help them,” said Rath.
In terms of rail transport, Medicine Hat should be much more desirable than Lethbridge but the other cities are offering incentives not available here, he claims. Many young people have to leave Medicine Hat to find suitable employment as well.
Medicine Hat is giving away too many contracts to outsiders, he believes, adding that he’d like to see the city’s tender system overhauled. He feels contracts should be awarded locally even if they will cost more than a company from outside.
“The money stays in the local area,” said Rath. “There is a spin-off. If local people are paid decent money they’ll be spending it here.”
Born and raised in Medicine Hat, Rath is a machinist by trade. He owned and operated a machine shop locally for 12 years until 2006.
Returning to the old public transit system is the way to go but it should also be “absolutely free” to riders, said Rath. It is already heavily subsidized and it makes sense to increase that a little and encourage more people to make use of the service.
The amount of money being spent on the downtown area is not appropriate, said Rath. Other areas of the city have taken on more prominence and it is time to simply acknowledge that.
Rath is concerned about all the hot water that the city dumps into the South Saskatchewan River from the power plant. He would like to explore the feasibility of piping that hot water to provide heating to city buildings such as the library and city hall.
He also says the old arena is far too important for a variety of clubs to use and should not be shut down.
“I am dead against that,” he said.
The money for the upkeep of the arena and free public transport will be found by growing the city and increasing the tax base, said Rath. There also needs to be an audit of al buildings the city owns and whether some could be sold.
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