Former two-time mayoral candidate Shelley Biermanski has set her sight on city council for the upcoming Oct. 18 municipal election.
The 32-year St. Albert resident previously ran for mayor against Nolan Crouse in 2010 and 2013. In 2013 she garnered 44.8 per cent of the vote.
“At the time the mayor said no one would run against him,” Biermanski said. “I knew I wouldn’t win, but I wanted people to have an alternative vote to have their say. If nobody’s running, how do people ever have their voice heard?”
Now, Biermanski said she wants to give it “another shot,” this time as a city councillor.
“I want to prove to people their choice would have been good,” she said.
Experienced as a business owner, Biermanski said she would draw on a familiarity with negotiation if elected. She said beneficial development for St. Albertans and supporting St. Albert as a green city are both important to her.
“When anyone says they love St. Albert, they talk about how many trees we have,” Biermanski said. “And yet our tree-planting budget has been axed for the last three years, which to me should have been a priority.”
Biermanski said she wants to ensure feedback from the public is taken into account for council decisions. She said she attended a public hearing on the development of the city’s previously proposed multi-use recreation facility, and felt the opposite.
“When we first got there, the city was asking people about where we thought the development should be done, but they didn’t tell us what the project was,” Biermanski said. “It made a lot of people feel like things had already been decided.”
Additionally, she said she wants to see more varied input presented to council before decisions are made, as opposed to presentations given by one person.
“I would like to see more input from other voices so we can have an understanding of what people want,” Biermanski said.
Decreasing the time council spends in-camera, and ensuring decisions are tailored to St. Albert instead of reflective of previous choices by other cities, are also priorities Biermanski listed.
She gave the example of St. Albert’s recent speed-limit change as one decision she interpreted as being overly reflective of choices by other councils.
“I don't discredit any council, because everybody that goes in there goes in with the intent of doing the best they possibly can,” Biermanski said. “But if you’re voting on something suggested by another city council, it might not be what’s best for your city or the people you’re representing.”
Biermanski said if elected, she hopes to model a government built on trust.
“Everyone’s a little nervous right now about being able to support themselves,” Biermanski said. “It’s a difficult time, and the last thing people want to worry about is government. I hope to be that person to help people have a little bit of peace in their lives.”