Chantal McKenzie is a first time candidate looking to add new ideas to Spruce Grove council.
First time Alderman candidate Chantal McKenzie is a born-and-raised product of Spruce Grove and has seen the transition of the community from a town to one of the the fastest growing communities in the province and country.
In her professional career, McKenzie has transitioned from an engineer to businesswoman as she and her family own and operated several businesses in the city of Spruce Grove. As an entrepreneur, McKenzie sees opportunity for both business and the city as the population continues to rise.
"I think what we need to do is be looking a little bit more of the land use development when we're developing our communities. Getting some more mixed use, making our community more walkable," McKenzie tells One News. "And I think we really need to focus on the industrial and the commercial. Not only to generate tax revenue but also to generate better job bases for the people we've brought here. That way we can keep the people living in Spruce Grove working in Spruce Grove."
Automated traffic enforcement (ATE) is also becoming a focal point for candidates this election, while many in the community appear to be either very for or very against the city's use of it. McKenzie says she supports community safety and believes in ATE, but does note another community in the Capital Region may have a model worth adapting to.
"You can use it as a cash cow, the common term, or you can use it to improve safety," says McKenzie. "The Town of Morinville has implemented a policy and the way that they're running it you can still utilize a third party but there needs to be possibly a little bit more control as to where those locations are and truly utilize our traffic reports. Having them hidden doesn't really increase safety."
McKenzie also cites her experience as an engineer being an asset for Spruce Grove City Council should she be elected this fall, particularly when it comes to co-operating in the Tri-Region and the Capital Region.
"I understand the Capital Region Board and I do believe in it," elaborates McKenzie. "I think there's huge opportunities for regional co-operation and it's a wonderful way to do it. You can do it with facilities and the great thinking about that is that you can then foster grant funding."
There's no bigger facility on the horizon for Spruce Grove than the proposed $79 million dollar multi-use sport and event centre, and while McKenzie acknowledges she's a supporter of hockey she also understands there diverse needs in the community.
"I have a child that plays ringette, so I understand our ice demand needs but I also have a child that dances and I understand our arts and culture could definitely be improved in Spruce Grove," McKenzie says. "I love going to the Horizon Players and watching kids in our community and the amount of talent that we have here in Spruce Grove."
"I just think that we truly need to sit down and look at what sort of facilities and maybe there's a better way to spend the $80 million dollars and get a little bit more bang for a buck than the reality of it and really support all the community associations that we have," adds McKenzie.
To hear the full, unedited interview with Alderman candidate Chantal McKenzie click here or click play on the file below: