After serving on Bonnyville Town Council for four years, Chad Colbourne is asking for your support as he seeks re-election on October 18th.
Chad says he first got into politics four years ago after discovering a real passion for the community through his business, Lakeland Connect.
“I started covering local sports and non-profit events and realized that the people of our community really needed an advocate and someone who would be available for them,” Chad says.
That’s when he really considered running for politics.
It was actually at a Jr. A Pontiacs game that he was approached by the then Mayor of Bonnyville, Gene Sobolewski. “The Mayor asked me if I would ever consider it and with my wife, Jena, sitting right there, I said, ‘well, if she’s okay with it’. Because you need your family’s support,” laughs Chad.
Chad is a father of five and knows how important family is and equally how important a strong community foundation is for his family. He was raised in the community, went through the Northern Lights Public Schools system and after furthering his education in Vermilion and Edmonton, he moved back to raise his family.
“All of my kids were born in the Bonnyville hospital and they all are in the public school system. I want to ensure those two foundations of our community are strong so my grandkids can continue their roots in this community.”
Having lived in the community for over 30 years, he would like to continue serving the residents on the Town of Bonnyville Council.
Building the Community
Chad believes in getting things done and has devoted the last four years to improving our community.
One of the first projects he undertook was advocating for an outdoor rink and within a year seeing the rink installed at the Centennial Centre.
“That’s something I’m really proud of being a part of,” Chad explains he heard from many community members that an OTR was a must for the town and after seeing multiple pop-up rinks being used on Jesse Lake in the winter, he agreed.
It’s not just about hockey, Chad says he wants to build a town that has a strong recreational foundation.
“I know that recreation not only brings new families to our community, it also keeps families here. So when oil is low, families don’t flee to another town, they stick around because we’ve built a community that you just can’t leave,” Chad explains he would like to put a larger focus on recreation with three key projects on his list; a new Aquatics Centre, Pickleball Courts and Skate Park.
“I am one of the founding members of the Aquatics Centre committee and have been sitting on the board for the last few years. My goal is to work with the Municipal District (M.D.) of Bonnyville to build an aquatics centre addition onto the C2,” adding that background work has been done on this committee. However talks are stalled at the moment as the town waits on the M.D. to accept invitations for discussion on the project.
“That’s a project I really want to see through,” states Chad, “and I know after multiple surveys the residents strongly approve of this project.”
As for the pickleball courts, Chad says he’s been advocating for new courts to be installed within the town limits for sometime.
“As a council, we have talked about pickleball many times. What kind of stalled any decisions is the modernization of the high school,” Chad explains that the Town was waiting to see what, if anything, Bonnyville Centralized High School’s modernization project was doing with the current tennis courts.
“We haven’t dived too far into this one, but there were some questions as to whether or not the coruts could be refurbished to be used for pickleball or multi-use or if pickleball would be better served with a new set of courts.” This is a discussion Chad would like to continue if he is re-elected.
Recognizing that outdoor recreation is very important and the current skate park is insufficient for its usage, Chad would like to move to build a larger more modern park.
“Looking at how many kids use the park in town and also recognizing the high usage at our surrounding communities, I do believe it is imperative that we build a better park,” he says its important for the youth to have a structure they can use and take pride in.
“I want something that will be a pride of our community and keep our youth active and engaged.”
“I have been a part of the decision to build a dog park,” Colbourne said. “I know there was a need for a dog park and it was more or less in the works, but it just needed a little bit of a push and Council was able to get that push.” The dog park opened in the summer of 2020 and is a well-used community feature.
Sidewalks and Trails
Chad has always been a huge advocate for better walkability in the community.
“My kids would attempt to walk from our house to school and they’d have to walk on the middle of the road. There was also no route from Beau Vista to the Centennial Centre without walking on the middle of the road or down the side of a major highway.” Chad says that after witnessing many near misses and having his own family struggles with the walkability in the community he really made it his mission to get new sidewalks put in.
“It just so happened that we were able to secure a grant in 2021 to build some sidewalks so council approved just about $650,000 to put towards the sidewalks, but that’s something that I want to see continue. If we look at our 2022 budget, there’s probably only $100,000 in there allotted for new sidewalks, but I’d like to see that continuing, so that’ll be one of my pushes moving forward if I am re-elected.”
The Town also added to its trail system and made upgrades to the current Jesse Lake Walking Trail.
“My wife uses the trail a lot and would get in my ear about the tree stumps and roots growing through the path,” he laughs. It wasn’t just his wife who brought it up but many other community members as well. Lots of work has been done to remove the stumps and roots, with new sections of path laid this past summer.
He says he was really happy for the Town to have finished the improvements to the trail and to have a plan moving forward to finish the connection to the M.D.’s trail system, which will be completed by the end of October.
Bonnyville Jr. A Pontiacs
The Pontiacs are a shining example of Bonnyville community spirit, says Chad.
“The team is more than just hockey, it brings families together and it brings community members together. As a Council we recognized how important the club is for the town,” Chad explains he was an advocate for the Town to co-sign a loan to keep the team operational. This backstopping of the loan for the organization was the first of its kind for the Town.
As a small business owner, Chad knows the struggles of an oil & gas driven economy and really advocated for the Town to create a Economic Development Committee and hire an Economic Development Officer.
“Councillor Elisa Brosseau and I were really the driving forces behind this initiative and discovering ways to keep Bonnyville strong when the oil economy is low.”
Partnering with the M.D. of Bonnyville, the Town hired a Economic Development Officer in 2019 and instated the Economic Development Board, which Chad has actively sat on since its inception.
One of Chad’s strengths is building relationships. Whether that’s with community members, business owners, non-profits or town administration. Chad prides himself on being open and available to the community, whenever he’s needed. He also believes that these relationships are key to ensuring prosperity for the community.
“These relationships are the building blocks to a healthy community. We all live together and we all need each other to grow our town,” Colbourne adds that he has never shied away from taking meetings with the MLA David Hanson, provincial ministers or the premier. “I’ll make the calls to ensure our town has its fair share.”
At the same time he works to put Bonnyville first, “I work for the people, they voted me in and they essentially pay my salary with their tax dollars. So I’m going to put Bonnyville first and sometimes that has caused some strain on relationships. But I’m not going to back down and I think that’s important. For Bonnyville to have its fair share, we need someone willing to go into the trenches,” stating that he is willing to be that person.
Honesty and Accountability
Chad says honesty and accountability is what residents can expect to get if they vote for him on October 18.
“I shoot from the hip a lot,” Chad says he believes the community members deserve the truth when it comes to decisions made by our elected officials.
“If I do something right, I want to be accountable for it, and if I do something wrong, I want to be accountable for it,” he says. “I think that’s a really important trait to have.”
A couple ways Chad has helped the Town become more available and accountable to the residents is by insisting on livestreaming of council and getting the Town on social media.
“Councillor Brosseau and I really pushed for the Town to create and use a Facebook page. We recognize that people use social media to express themselves and to be hear. That’s why it was really important for us to push for a Facebook page.”
Chad says, when it comes to the residents, he has always strived to figure out a way to answer questions regarding the Town of Bonnyville.
“It may not always be what they want to hear, but definitely getting back to people is really important,” Chad is known to take calls from residents at any hour and to make himself available to listen to their questions or concerns. He admits he can’t always solve the problem, but he will look into the issue and get back to resident in a timely manner with an update or explanation about what’s transpiring.
“Transparency is very important to me. When someone is calling wondering the status on a project or has a concern about a bylaw – or really anything. It’s my job to relay the Town’s stance on the matter, where we are in the decision making process and how we are moving forward,” as he explains that doesn’t always mean having the right answer right away, but it definitely means he is there for residents.
It also means embedding himself in the community and being available for meetings.
“They happen at different points of the day, of the week, and sometimes it’s weekends, sometimes it’s evenings, sometimes it’s right in the morning, so you got to be available and ready for the job.”
Committees & Boards
As a Town Councillor Chad currently sits on:
- Aquatics Centre Working Group
- Police Committee
- Economic Development Board
- Bonnyville Centennial Centre Board
- Canada Day Committee
- Town Revitalization Committee
- Kehewin Working Group
- Bonnyville Ag Society
- The Hive Youth Hub
- Ronald McDonald House Charity – Winterland Invitational
Chad Colbourne is proud of the work that he has been able to accomplish over the past four years, but there’s still work to be done and he wants to be part of it. Should he be successful in being re-elected, Chad says he will be your voice on Council. He will be honest, accountable, and available to the people of Bonnyville.
Chad Colbourne is also running for Trustee position on the Board of the Northern Lights Public Schools. Ask for your ballot when voting for the municipal election.
Election Day is October 18th, 2021. Residents of Bonnyville can vote at the Bonnyville Seniors’ Drop-in Centre from 10:00am to 8:00pm.
Advance polls are open today, Thursday October 14th from 10:00am to 4:00pm at the Town Hall.
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