I’m a twenty-nine year old father of two boys, and husband to my beautiful wife. I’m employed as the General Manager of the non-profit organization Community Futures Wood Buffalo, which helps small and medium sized business in a variety of areas from lending to planning. I’m an active community member and work with a number of non-profit organizations like Kids Forever, Keyano College Foundation, Royal Canadian Legion Branch #165, and The Northern Lights Health Foundation. I’m also the current Chairman of the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board.
In my spare time I enjoy playing with my kids, volunteering, geocaching, and playing hockey when time allows.
Why are you running in Election 2010?
I’m running because I want to give back to the community that has rewarded me so well in past. I have an interest in the issues that affect us on a daily basis. Further, I want to offer my skills so council can create solutions to those issues.
What do you want the voters to know going into the 2010 municipal elections?
Vote. Tell your kids, family, friends, co-workers, cab drivers, and hair dressers. Our region is a global economic powerhouse, he have a lot to be proud of. However, we must show leadership from within and the best way to do that is to get out and vote. Don’t let the minority make the decisions for the majority. Take some time and learn where the candidates sit on the issues you are passionate about, and vote for the team you want to do the job.
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 Ross’ answers.
Q: What does the municipality need to be ready for another wave of development? via @OilsandsEditor
RJ: I believe we need to address three main strategies. Firstly, we need a solid intergovernmental communication and planning strategy. It is vital to work with our MLA, MP, and key departments in other levels of government. The more we know about how they are addressing the development, the better we can develop our own plan.
Two, we need to be inclusive of our regional stakeholders and assure that all the key people are at the table when it comes to land release and other developments. The front-line experience our local citizens bring is the most valuable tool to our development.
Three, we need to assure that all future planning is flexible and easily adaptable to changing regional conditions. We will never know what the future will bring, but we can try our best to predict it and plan accordingly. The flexibility aspect will allow us to change plans as needed without huge growing pains.
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
RJ: Aside from the composting aspect, the program is already in place. Our previous councils have put the infrastructure in place. The facility is being built as we speak. I believe it will open for operation next year and begin to process the recycled materials we have been stockpiling. I think 2012 is the target for curbside, but I believe that is dependent on a few construction and process factors.
Q: How will the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) secure enough provincial land at once to manage development sustainably? via @KyleHarrietha
RJ: I think the land in the RMWB’s current possession is a good jump off point. The recent approvals of land will greatly help us be sustainable in the future. Involving stakeholders in the release of that land is vital to making sure we don’t forget anyone. The key to any land plan is to assure the land we have doesn’t run out before we get other parcels. We do that by developing a land release strategy with the province now, so that we are better positioned five years from now.
Q: Is the candidate pro-oil sands, and if so, how would they be proactive in oil sands public relations management? via @TOMCOGroup
RJ: I am pro-oil sands, because the old sands are pro-Wood Buffalo. I think we often believe that ‘big oil’ is a faceless entity that should be left to fend off negative press and misinformation on its own. That attitude is wrong; I’ve seen firsthand how the oilsands have our backs in times of trouble. They help provide our community with many resources we would otherwise not have access too. The worldwide message about this place we call home needs to come from champions who live here, who work here, who play here, and those who rely on our resource. It is at times a monumental task, but together in partnership we can get the message out.
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
RJ: I won’t comment on how we got into the situation with that building, because I don’t know all the facts only the generalities. What I will say is this: every problem has a solution. What is the solution? That’s for a new council, who engages its community for solutions to find out. It will take some hard work, but that building could benefit small business, or non-profits, or child care, or even the office-space deficit. The lesson is to learn from this mistake and never repeat it.
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