I am Don Scott and I am a husband, father, business owner, and volunteer. I’ve called Fort McMurray home for 10 years. I studied at Cambridge University in England and that’s where I met my wife, Janey. We have 2 young children – Jeya who is 5 years old and 1 year old baby Jenna. I was a board member and former president of the United Way, and I’m currently serving as a board member for Children’s First, Legal Aid Fort McMurray and the Allocations Committee for the United Way. I’m a lawyer and own McMurray Law Office in the downtown area. Like most people who call Fort McMurray home, I care about this community.
Why are you running in Election 2010?
I believe in this community. I’m proud to say that Fort McMurray is home for my family, and I want to do my part to strengthen our community. I’m a family man, a business owner, and community volunteer. These roles give me a broad perspective on the strengths, challenges, and opportunities facing our region. I take a common sense approach to strategic planning and problem solving, and I believe a common sense approach is what’s needed to move our community forward. Common sense means working together, short and long term planning, putting policies and systems in place, and moving forward.
What do you want the voters to know going into the 2010 municipal elections?
The most important thing is to get out and vote. Take some time to learn about the candidates. Find out what candidates think about the issues. Fort McMurray is an exciting place. We should get excited about this election. Our region has challenges, but we also have opportunities. We need a council that will work together to move forward with strategies to tackle challenges and embrace opportunities. Together, we can shape the future of our region. To do that, we need a united council committed to working together. To get that council, we all need to get out and vote.
Questions from the Tribe
On Aug the 25th, I asked the folks who are engaged around the my oil sands blog and twitter feed for their questions – what would they like to ask municipal candidates. Here are five of the questions and Don’s answers.
Q: What does the municipality need to be ready for another wave of development? via @OilsandsEditor
DS: Our health care, education and airport facilities need support to accommodate the demand that future growth will create. The airport will be a gateway to the resources of Canada’s North and it should be a point of entry with customs facilities. Our water and sewer lines need to be improved to meet current and future demands. Upgrading infrastructure is the community investment that we need. Our roads need to be improved but we need more than cosmetic repairs. Infrastructure needs to keep pace with growth and we need to move beyond gridlock and congestion. Council needs to plan for an appropriate allocation of resources to meet growth. We are one of the fastest growing communities in North America. Land needs to be released in a timely manner and we need to improve our relationship with the province.
Q: What are the candidates views on the possibility of implementing a state-of-the-art waste management program that includes curb-side pick up of both recycling and compost? via Anonymous
DS: I believe that adopting a Curbside recycling program makes sense. Our community already has a recycling program which can be viewed at http://www.woodbuffalo.ab.ca/residents/services+utilities/recycling.asp. Curbside pickup will make recycling more accessible and I believe it will expand environmental awareness. We are on the international radar and having programs that demonstrate our commitment to a sustainable environment enhance our regions image. More fundamentally programs like this unite our community for a purpose and I believe that will strengthen our sense of community.
Q: How will the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) secure enough provincial land at once to manage development sustainably? via @KyleHarrietha
DS: The Municipality needs a strategic plan and an engaged council that will aggressively advocate the community’s needs but in a respectful manner. Council needs to carry the message of the municipality effectively to the Province and the Federal Government. The majority of land in our municipality is owned by the province and consequently the province has a significant influence on the growth and development of our region. The decisions of other municipalities affect us and we need to continue to be engaged with our neighboring municipalities. Council has a responsibility to effectively lobby for the needs of our region.
Q: Is the candidate pro-oil sands, and if so, how would they be proactive in oil sands public relations management? via @TOMCOGroup
DS: Our region produces oil and we should be proud of it. We are a stable democracy and the best source for meeting the words energy demands. Our community is under collateral attack when our industry is publicly criticized. We need to fight back against negative Public Relations. I believe that our role is to advocate the many positives in our community and local industry. We need to demonstrate that reclaimed land is not only restored to the original state, but based on what I have seen, the restored land is actually making it better than it initially was. That fact is not widely known and needs to be presented. Industry provides approximately 90% of the tax base for our community and they voluntarily provide support to agencies and projects that improve the quality of life for all of our residents. I believe in policies that support the effective growth of Industry. I am pro-oil sands.
Q: Whenever I drive up Franklin and pass the old Brick building, I can’t help but think about the cost to the taxpayer – it’s over $360k per year. What are your thoughts on this issue? via @MyOilSands
DS: There is a summary of the options at the followingURL.
That analysis leads me to believe that cancelling the lease would be the best decision. If a tenant can be found that is preferable but it seems unlikely given the anticipated renovation costs of between 5,000,000 and 10,000,000 dollars.