Mayoral candidate Kathleen Thorn Rochon says her campaign is going well.
She says she’s received positive reception and is excited with how engaged the community is in the election process this year.
“It’s been so interesting to talk to so many different people about how the municipality can work to make their communities work better for them,” she says.
The conversations she’s had with many residents include a variety of topics, but some stand out.
“We’re not unique in this but the cost of everything and the affordability and inflation issues are hitting every household in the municipality,” she says. “We talk a lot about housing, property taxes, gas prices, which the municipality has nothing to do with, but it shows that people are concerned and want a safe and welcoming community. Whether that’s issues around housing, addiction, mental health, poverty, and the affordability of just living day to day. Those are some of the big issues.”
She says the Weyerhaeuser property is also a big talking point. She says big projects are on the horizon with the development of the property, and lots of people are interested in what will happen and how the municipality will use it.
“I also hear from people with children about activities and being able to offer a little more to our youth to keep them busy. Those are all things I think the next council will need to look at,” she adds.
She says the housing issue affects everyone in one way or another. Whether you’re renting, buying, looking to up or downsize, or even just availability.
“I think there are ways to address that in the community. We are due for an update on our official plan. [That will allow] us to grow our urban service boundaries, provide additional opportunities for building and investment,” she says. “I really do think that there will also be a way for us to leverage the Weyerhaeuser site as well to provide additional housing. but I don’t think it’s a one-answer property. It’s 27 acres. I really see it as something that’s going to be mixed-use. Some of this and some of that.”
She’s also passionate about youth issues.
“One of my ideas that I would bring to council is not just bring back a youth advisory committee, but potentially structure it like a youth council. Really work at getting the input from our young people what they would like to see in the community and also get them engaged and interested in the process of municipal government and how it works, and how it goes from idea to implementation,” she says. “I think if young people feel like their voices are being heard, whatever solution we come up with, will be embraced by them. They’re our next generation of residents. We want to look for ways to keep our kids into our community as they grow and transition into adults and start their own families. I think getting engaged to build community at a young age is a very positive step.”
Rebuilding some consensus around the council table is also something that is important to her.
“It’s the foundation of what I’ve been talking about during my campaign; the issue of leadership and workplace culture. I’ve said from the start until we fix the ways that we work together nothing else is going to get accomplished,” she says.
She adds one of the benefits she brings to the table is not being tied to either one side or the other of the current council conflict.
“I’m a completely independent candidate. I’ve also talked about things during my campaign about really looking at the team members who will be elected in each ward. [If elected] I want to look at skills, abilities, experience and background of each of the council member and try to make sure they’re involved in projects and committees that really suit their strengths,” she says. […] “I look at it like building a team and making sure that everybody that comes to the table is put in a position to make the absolute best and valuable contribution to what we’re able to accomplish overall. I also think that obviously, staff has a role to play in that too, and [if elected ] I look forward to getting to know our members of senior staff.”