Prince Albert mayoral candidates hit the campaign trail
SASKATOON -- Campaigning for the mayor’s position in the 2020 civic election has begun in Prince Albert.
Some candidates have begun door knocking in neighbourhoods and are making more attempts to talk to voters.
Three people have formally declared their candidacy: incumbent Greg Dionne, Ward 7 Coun. Dennis Nowoselsky, and former MLA, retired police officer and newly hired coroner Darryl Hickie.
Other mayoral candidates may declare their candidacy before the nomination deadline of Oct. 8. The Prince Albert municipal election is scheduled for Nov. 9, two weeks after the provincial election.
Dionne is seeking his third term as mayor. He has served two terms as mayor and was a city councillor for nine years.
He said he’s looking to improve the economy and keep residential and business taxation rates low among the provincial comparison.
He said if re-elected, he’d continue to help attract industry and infrastructure projects to the area to benefit citizens with jobs associated with the new aquatics centre, arena, new hospital and the University of Saskatchewan’s Prince Albert campus expansion.
“We’re still in COVID-19 and we have to start now in figuring out how to get people back to work. Prince Albert is positioned perfectly. We have a commitment from the province for a new hospital. So I’m going to make sure they get that going and under construction and that will create hundreds, and hundreds of jobs. And same thing with the new aquatics centre and facility. So my focus is on jobs in the next term.
“We’ve also repaved over 500 blocks, and the comments I get from people is that we’re a city of construction.”
Nowoselsky declared his candidacy at the end of July. He’s served four terms as a councillor spanning from 1991 - 2020. His platform outlines a commitment to transparency, making improvements to city services and programs and addressing excessive spending by the city. He said he’s representing various concerns raised to him by citizens.
“They want good water, good sewer, good, roads, reasonable taxes and a peaceful city to live in – that’s it in a nutshell,” said Nowoselsky.
Nowoselsky said many people have told him the salaries of police officers are too high and he wants to review municipal budgets and salaries.
“The average salary of $125,000 to $135,000 a year? They might say that’s what’s happening in Calgary and Toronto so it’s okay but it’s starting to even break their cities. Public servants have to respect they live in a community that has to be sustained,” Nowoselsky said.
Hickie announced his campaign Aug. 4. Hickie is critical of a $6.25 million land purchase made by the city for a new arena when other city owned land of similar scale is open for development. He said the city unnecessarily spent reserve funds and took out a $16 million loan for the deal.
“I question why when we have city owned land available and it’s serviced at this time, why are we going to be going into so much debt for the process – to purchase land and then borrowing $16 million more,” said Hickie.
“Public safety is number one, given my background in policing and hearing from people and knowing how our crime rate is so high – especially the violent crime rate. Second of all, keeping taxes low, being fiscally responsible, making sure that you and I, people who fund these projects in Prince Albert, get the best value for our dollar.”
Hickie was a Sask Party candidate in provincial elections of 2007 and 2011. He was elected to two terms and served as the MLA for Prince Albert Carlton in cabinet under former Premier Brad Wall.
Hickie believes in maintaining funding the Prince Albert City Police and reinstating the police as the managers of the bylaw division. He said Prince Albert’s police salaries rank below Regina, Saskatoon and Moose Jaw.