Elk Point is running a strong field of candidates: all with passion and commitment
The tone of the Elk Point candidates’ forum on Tuesday, October 3 was upbeat and cooperative, if not a little competitive. Seven residents are vying for four council positions, and all members of the slate presented themselves as enthusiastic, collaborative, and directed. Following are biographical notes and summaries of their platforms, presented in the order in which the candidates were introduced.
When she visited the area, Bower-Gagne was “totally moved by the beauty,” and in 2005 came to live with “the love of my life.” She is employed at F.G. Miller Jr/Sr High School as the Family School Liaison Worker (FSLW). Her concerns are the “trials and struggles” faced by families. She sits on the Victim Services Board, the Community Advisory Policing Committee, the Lakeland MS Advisory Council, and is the adult mentor for youth organizations: Practitioners of Underground Philanthropy (P.U.P) and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD). Safety, concerns with property crimes, suitable homes for seniors to stay healthy, taking care of the hospital and staff, ensuring the town’s sustainability, and providing services for youth are issues she would like to promote on council.
Born and raised in the area, Capjack has taught school for many years, and is running because she “cares about the community.” She has served 3 terms on council as a “good leader, organizer, and team player.” She believes in making “sound, reasonable decisions for the town and taxpayers.” Issues she is concerned with include “making sure the health centre stays open, citizens feel safe, no substantial increases in taxes occur without just cause, the fire station is well equipped, there is adequate ambulance service, there is support for recreation organizations for youth, adults, and seniors, and we continue to work collaboratively with the county on projects.” Capjack says her biggest priority is to work for the citizens of Elk Point and to make decisions that are beneficial to all.
A resident of Elk Point for the past 3 years, Hampson is a finance officer for Northern Lights Library System. She moved from Calgary, where she worked in a corporate office. She is “open to communication, available, and visible in the community.” As president and founding member of the pickleball club, secretary for the Community Lions, and member of the Elk Point Soccer Club executive, she has demonstrated that she is invested in the community. She is “committed to working with our rural counterparts to create partnerships.” She wants to ensure “financial stability with a local focus…find solutions to the escalation in crime…and include all stakeholders.”
Debra Lynn McQuinn
McQuinn has lived in the community since 1997, and works as a Financial Advisor for the Servus Credit Union. She lives with her husband and two teenaged children, and notes that over the years many of her extended family members have moved to Elk Point. Completing her first term on council, McQuinn is proud of the progress made, saying “collaboration is key.” She points to strategic plans for infrastructure development that drive the future and encourage progress; regional collaboration to share costs and financial resources; timely communication in the form of a Facebook page and live minutes of each board meeting; and responsible fiscal management. She recognizes that “there will be struggles” but is willing to listen and seek solutions.
Jennifer (Flanders) van der Hoek
Fourth generation Elk Point area resident, van der Hoek says, “I love that I can walk my kids to the school I attended.” She believes in being proactive. “Don’t wait to respond to the problems,” she says, “preempt anything before it occurs.” This goes for crime, sewer, roads, and other concerns. Her talent is “looking at things differently.” She brings “fresh eyes” for creative solutions to run the town efficiently. She understands that non-profit groups are created when people see a need and would encourage communication and cooperation among the groups to help them achieve maximum benefit. To her, the small town values of Elk Point make it “the right place to be.”
Running for his fifth term on council, Yaremkevich was born and raised in Elk Point, and enjoys children and grandchildren living close by. He has seen great progress made by the current council, with the help of CAO Ken Gwozdz. Specifically, he is proud of the water line and water storage project, as well as the serviced lots. To thwart crime, Yaremkevich says the COPS program has to be reactivated, and that the town has been involved in talks with neighbouring municipalities regarding a peace officer. He looks to growth and economic stability for the town.
Also running for town council, but not in attendance at the forum, is Henry Botting.