Sharp-eyed council observers may have noticed a familiar face presenting at some council meetings this year.
Len Bracko, former councillor and former MLA, has appeared a couple of times this spring. He was representing a group dubbed Leadership St. Albert and spoke on the LRT and the idea of a federal infrastructure bank that municipalities could borrow from.
Bracko, who has connections on all three levels of government, is spearheading an effort to look at the big picture future of St. Albert.
“We’re not a formal, organized group,” he said. “We’re working with everybody to make things happen.”
Part of that is working with community leaders in St. Albert. Another part is using his other political connections gained through his time as a Liberal MLA and more than a decade as a city councillor to bring up issues seen as important to the future.
There have already been meetings with MLAs, MPs, cabinet members, different political parties and groups like the St. Albert and District Chamber of Commerce.
Lynda Moffat, the president and CEO of the chamber, said the business group takes pride in being community leaders and plans to participate in initiatives pursued by the Leadership St. Albert group.
“It’s great,” she said, noting there are many active community leaders involved in the chamber of commerce.
Coun. Wes Brodhead has been asked to attend a couple of meetings with the MP and the chamber along with Bracko to provide some comments. He noted it’s not a formal group with a formal membership process, so he’s not an official member of anything, but has been happy to offer comments on LRT.
Both Bracko and Brodhead have been proponents of building an LRT for St. Albert.
Brodhead said Bracko, with whom he served with on council for the 2010-2013 term, has lots of valuable connections in other levels of government. He said it’s gratifying to see Bracko still working for St. Albert.
“He’s got a real heart for our community,” Brodhead said.
One of the first initiatives Leadership St. Albert is sinking its teeth into is the idea of the LRT up the St. Albert Trail.
Bracko said he’d like to see the federal and provincial governments both chip in about $500 million a piece, with only about $60 million coming from St. Albert.
“St. Albert can’t afford one-third, one-third, one-third,” Bracko said, referring to the old transit project funding formula. The new federal Liberal government has promised higher percentages of funding.
He also took issue with some of the estimates floating around St. Albert about what the line through town could cost per household.
“Leadership St. Albert would say $1,600 per residence,” he said.
Bracko also would like to see the federal government set up a Canadian infrastructure bank, which could then offer low-interest loans to municipalities to build capital projects.
Since there’s no formal group, Bracko said anyone with good ideas who wants to be involved in pushing those ideas forward can be.