September 26th, 2018

Cypress County Ward 1: Hilda/Schuler candidates’ questionnaires

By Tim Kalinowski on October 12, 2017.

1. What is the right balance, in your opinion, between preservation of agricultural lands and subdivision development in Cypress County?

2. Cypress County has a number of undeveloped road allowances, gravelled grid roads and highways which all require regular maintenance at an enormous cost to taxpayers. What would be your highest priority if elected in terms of county road spending? Why?

3. Hamlets have special infrastructure needs other areas of the county do not have, whether that be water and sewer, street paving or community facility maintenance. Do you feel hamlets are currently well-served by Cypress County? What initiatives would you support to enhance hamlets to make them more attractive to future potential residents?

4. Cypress County’s residential, agricultural and commercial taxes are the lowest or near lowest in Alberta. In this era of fiscal crunch, Cypress County may need to raise taxes in one or more of these areas over the next four years. Which area or areas of taxation would you support an increase in, if necessary, when elected?

5. Rural Internet access remains a major problem in the county. In your opinion, is access to the Internet a right or a privilege? Would you support a major county investment in the creation of a local, county-managed Internet service if telecommunications companies continue to show no interest?

Michelle McKenzie

1. “To ensure the sustainability of the local growers we should preserve our agriculture and pasture lands. With the expanding population it is imperative we have enough land to raise and grow food. There must be a balance. New residents moving into the county need places to live and places to open new businesses. I believe that parcels of land that can not be used effectively for agriculture or grazing should be subdivided into commercial and residential lots. There are some county-owned properties within the hamlets that are currently undeveloped. It would be beneficial to the community if they were to be serviced and used as residential properties.”

2. “The gravelled grid roads and highways throughout the county are a high priority to me. Regular maintenance of these roads is a necessity for the residents of the area. Any grid road that leads to a place of residence should be maintained. As a former school bus driver in the area, I believe the safety of our students and area residents is very important. I would support a plan that would keep the roads and highways maintained. The undeveloped road allowances would be a low priority. They are primarily used by the landowners. There is much less traffic on these roads. Keeping them maintained would be a lower priority expense.”

3. “On the whole, the county does a good job with the infrastructure needs of the hamlets. An area that could use improvement are the old cemeteries. The people buried there were the founders of our hamlets. It is a sign of respect to our past family members to keep them maintained. In order to attract potential residents to the county dependable phone and internet access is a must. Advertising would be another way to encourage future commercial and residential potential to the area. To have a few more amenities in the communities for example a shared community center that would house all of the sport centers, as well as a meeting place for the various groups and clubs within the communities. With an area designated for overnight parking/camping. Would be a plus in attracting new residents.”

4. “No one wants to hear the words “higher taxes.” However taxes are a form of revenue to the county. I think it would then become a matter for the people of the ward to decide how much and in what areas taxes should be raised. I would then support what ever decision would be in the best interest of the ward as a whole.”

5. “Having the Internet used to be a privilege, but now it is a necessity; something everyone young and old depends on. Whether for work or school or just day to day life everyone needs WiFi. Even the fire departments rely on cell service for communication during events and alerts. There are several places within the ward that cell phones do not work nor is there Internet access. I would support a major county investment in this technology if it would benefit the county and its residents in the form of job creation and more reliable phone and Internet service.”

Art Squire

1. “We need to give top priority to preserving agricultural land. Subdivisions should only be on land not suitable for agricultural use,such as dry corners, and land not suitable for agricultural production.”

2. “Top priority would be to continue to construct the most needed gravel roads to maintain our infrastructure. If we do not do any construction to rebuild roads, we soon would have no good roads left. To replace them all at one time would be an extremely large expense to the county and the ratepayers. I will support the development of another 5 year road plan if re-elected.”

3. “Yes, I do at this time. Possibly having more of of the advertising on the county web site to show the benefits of living in hamlets such as lower taxes, county supplied services being available, small, friendly, community lifestyle. I am in support of all kinds of development.”

4. “I would support a small increase to all three, if necessary, due to provincial cut backs to the available grants and the decrease of linear tax during this time of very little funding.

5. “The Internet is necessary for modern day life, and required in every possible household and business in the county. Yes, I would support a county owned and managed Internet system if that is the only way to provide Internet service to ratepayers in remote areas of the county.”

Shirley Roy

1. “The balance between agriculture and subdivisions development in Cypress County are just the way they should be, because they are two different entities. Hamlets need water and sewer, which agriculture doesn’t need.”

2. “Roads and gravelled grid roads should be maintained in the same respect as they are done now. The undeveloped road allowances can be maintained to a certain standard with some gravel and grading in the summer time only, which is about two to three times. Thus, could take some farm equipment truck of the main roads.”

3. “Initiatives that I would take on enhance hamlets, to make more attractive to future potential residents are houses that abandoned be torn them down so the lots can be resold. Halls that need to be upgraded or rebuilt, with government programs websites that are available if available.”

4. “Increase of taxes in County residential, agricultural and commercial areas, should affect in the order of commercial area then residential and then agricultural, if they needed to be raised.”

5. “Rural Internet access remain the fault of telecommunications companies because they don’t wat to spend the time or money to bring everything up to the grade or qualifications that it needs to be at this day and age with the growing demand/supply that is needed. Having Internet is both a right and a privilege. I would and wouldn’t support a major county investment in the creation of a local county-managed Internet services with out more details till then I would be able to decide.”

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