November 23rd, 2017

Opioid crisis a concern to council candidate Wiggers


By Schnarr, J.W. on October 6, 2017.

Davey Wiggers is running for a spot on city council during the upcoming municipal election. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

J.W. Schnarr

Lethbridge Herald

jwschnarr@lethbridgeherald.com

Local businessman Davey Wiggers is running for city council as a way to get involved and help the community at large – especially when it comes to dealing with the opioid crisis.

For Wiggers, soft issues take a back seat to more serious issues faced by the city.

“This opioid crisis, it’s really scary,” he said. “It’s taking a lot of lives. And Lethbridge, unfortunately, has a pretty nasty reputation for access to drugs and for being a hub for distribution. We need to tackle that.”

To Wiggers, that means more support for police and the work they do, and more infrastructure to attack the root causes of addiction, such as opening a Lethbridge treatment centre.

“I’ve been told (LPS) overtime is through the roof and that they are understaffed. They need our support to take this head-on. If we don’t, we lose valuable members of our community,” he said.

“We can talk about championing the arts and everything else, but when we can’t protect our young people, as leaders and adults in this community, we’ve failed. We need to do more.”

Wiggers was born in the Netherlands but has lived in Canada for the past 36 years.

He grew up in Lethbridge and studied electronics engineering at Lethbridge College.

In 2006, Wiggers was offered an opportunity to grow cellular customers by opening retail stores. One of his projects involved finding cellphone solutions for Hutterite colonies across Western Canada.

Part of that work came from what he saw during his years before opening his own business, involving Hutterites being taken advantage of by cell service providers.

“In the beginning, they would only have three cellphones on a colony,” he said. “The preacher, the farm boss and the secretary. And their phone bills were astronomical. I really saw that as an abuse.”

In response Wiggers set up a program which saw all baptized members get cellphones, and drastically reduced the costs involved.

“So most of the members on the colonies had access to cellphones, not just a few,” he said. “And at a cost that was reasonable.”

This kind of championing of people taken advantage of is something Wiggers said he wants to bring to council.

He said as agriculture is king in the province, and Lethbridge acting as a hub in the southwestern part of Alberta, it is important agriculture receives as much support as possible.

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