May 30th, 2024

Bradley Whalen: Political newcomer launches city mayor campaign


By Tim Kalinowski on March 27, 2021.

Herald photo by Tim Kalinowski Lethbridge mayoral candidate Bradley Whalen hopes to leverage his position as a relative outsider to affect change at city hall.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDtkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

Relative newcomer to Lethbridge and local small business owner Bradley Whalen has announced he will be running for mayor this fall.
Whalen moved to the city in 2014, and is currently owner of the Coco Vanilla Galactic Cantina on 3rd Avenue South. He is a father of five young sons.
“My slogan is: how can I help?” he says.
“There is not one person who is going to have one idea or one issue I am not going to help them with. Whether I can help them directly, or find out who helps them – all I want to do is help people.”
Whalen says being still somewhat of an outsider to Lethbridge gives him the ability to do what he feels is in the best interests of the city without being beholden to any special interest groups in the community.
He says that is just not the case with the current council and the mayor.
“I was a little tired of seeing how one-sided things are,” says Whalen, explaining his reasons for running. “It seems only the one per cent and the special interests are represented in this city.”
Whalen says the current council has discussed putting the possibility of a Ward system forward for a referendum vote during municipal elections this fall, and he challenges it to put its money where its mouth is.
“The residents don’t have a say (with council),” he states.
“The fix for that is a Ward system. You know what? If a councillor has to rely on a neighbourhood to get elected, then they need to work in that neighbourhood to keep it healthy.”
Citing several instances, in his mind, of frivolous capital spending this past term, Whalen says he would like to see the City finally spend its capital money on something that is truly needed in Lethbridge: a third bridge.
He would also like to see the City invest in building what he calls a “sustainable rehabilitation community” on the edge of the city which would be able to provide direct bus service downtown to help deal with the city’s homelessness and addiction issues.
“This is not about what the federal government is doing,” he states.
“This is not about what the province is doing. It is about what the City is not doing.
“It is discouraging to see the rejection of service providers trying to come into the city do something positive.
“If it has to do with giving out needles and helping addicts out, the City is all for it. But when it comes to preventative measures to try to tackle the opioid crisis, to try to tackle addictions, try to help the homeless, the City doesn’t seem very interested in helping that vulnerable sector.”
Whalen, a self-confessed Star Wars “geek,” said he is a small business owner who understands what impacts COVID-19 has had on local owner operators, having had to request provincial government help this past year to keep his own business going and by starting “GoFundMe” campaigns to cope with his difficult financial realities.
Whalen says the City should have been more proactive in its support: not just by deferring payments for utilities and taxes, but outright forgiving or reducing them for businesses who have suffered greatly during the current pandemic.
He points to the fact the City still charged for business licences this year as an example of how council failed to support small businesses.
“I know $193 is not a lot of money,” he explains, “but when you are not making a lot of money that money has to come from somewhere.”
Whalen says he is open to speaking with anyone about any concerns they might have about the city at any time.
“If you haven’t been heard by council, if you haven’t been heard by the mayor, come and see me,” he says.
“If they won’t let the public know what your problem is and what your issue is, then I will do it. There has to be complete transparency in the city, and if your voice is not being heard, I will help make your voice heard.”
Follow @TimKalHerald on Twitter

Follow @TimKalHerald on Twitter

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