Leonard Wilkins, a 26-year St. Albert resident, has announced his intention to run for city council.
Wilkins, a telecommunications technician, previously ran for council in 2017.
The 57-year-old said this time around, his primary goal is to make sure city council works together to build a “financially sustainable future.”
"In many cases, only the wealthy can afford to live here,” Wilkins said. “It’s really cost prohibitive for people just getting started.”
A graduate of finance from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology with more than 20 years of business experience, Wilkins said he believes he has a lot to contribute to council.
“I’ve worked with a great many people in diverse areas of business,” Wilkins said. “I can bring that experience forward to the city of St. Albert by being able to communicate effectively with both the private and public sector to promote our city.”
Attracting business is an essential part of St. Albert’s growth, Wilkins argued.
“Everybody agrees St. Albert is a great place to live,” Wilkins said. “But we need more business to come here as well, and that will create more local jobs.”
Wilkins said he has taken issue with the financial aspect of projects council has pursued over the years, such as the former municipal utility corporation (MUC), and would like to add his voice to the conversation.
“The current council in St. Albert keeps trying to add ways to achieve more money from the existing tax base within St. Albert,” Wilkins said. “All the MUC would have done is create more administration.”
Another issue Wilkins pinpointed as a priority was the management of city traffic, describing traffic in St. Albert as “a mess.”
“We only have four river crossings,” Wilkins said. “For the last year we’ve had construction on three of them. I think it would be prudent to request the city manager — where possible financially, and unless there are emergencies — work on only one of those roads at the same time so we have a lot less disruption to the city’s traffic."
Ultimately, Wilkins described himself as a “family man,” with a strong belief in community.
“If elected, I will work very hard to earn your respect by looking after your interests within this city,” Wilkins said, addressing voters. “I will work to keep costs low as possible, without cutting significant funding to the programs in place today.”