May 30th, 2024

Wally Schenk brings compassion and experience to council bid

By Tim Kalinowski on October 8, 2021.

Herald photo by Tim Kalinowski City council candidate Wally Schenk promises to be a compassionate and positive representative of the citizens of Lethbridge if elected this fall. 

Candidate Wally Schenk says his whole city council campaign comes down to one thing: he cares.
He cares about people, he cares about the health of the business community, and he cares about all those suffering through addiction and the families of those who have lost loved ones due to overdoses. He cares about the entire community which has helped him have tremendous success as a restaurant owner in the city for over 46 years.
“Community is everything to me because I grew up in this community,” Schenk says. “There are so many people I have supported (by giving jobs), but have also supported me over the years, being in eight restaurants and in business for 46 years. I really feel I kind of owe all these people for helping me be successful.”
Schenk says despite the social problems facing the city he has been fortunate to see the best of Lethbridge over the years. He always remembers what his father, who once served as a police officer in the city, told him in this respect.
“He always said to me, ‘You are so lucky to be in that business because everybody goes out and they are happy,'” Schenk remembers. “He says, ‘I am always dealing with negativity. You are always dealing with positivity,’ which was great for me. I want to bring that positivity on to city council.”
Schenk says Lethbridge is a city of compassion, and he feels it will step forward to do what it needs to do to provide treatment and rehabilitation options for local citizens in need.

“I myself have been sober for 17 years,” he says. “I had a drinking issue, and I went and I got help. And I have helped people in the community. I am in programs that help in those areas. That (addiction) beast has reared its head at me many times, and I have lost other people (to ODs) in the program. But we are trying to help.
“The (overdose prevention site) is a great start. They are helping people to not OD and die. But where does it lead? We need to carry this on. We need dry beds. We need (treatment) centres with professionals that will help these people. They say Lethbridge had the biggest use of the SCS. So how come we don’t have the biggest rehabilitation centre? We need to spend more money and more effort.”

Schenk says beyond this very personal issue for him, he wants to see taxpayers’ money spent properly on a priorities basis. He also wants to help foster a good attitude and atmosphere on city council toward all local businesses in the community.
Schenk says city council should encourage the job creators in the community in any way it can, but also encourage more options for workers to make a good living and spend those wages in the community. He would like city council to work more closely with local developers to incentivize the construction of more affordable housing in the city for those who are “mortgage poor,” young workers and seniors on fixed incomes.
He would also like to see strides made in creating real opportunities and jobs for Indigenous people in the community.
“I have provided that opportunity to First Nations people; I have hired them,” he says. “It’s something where we have to get together with business owners and see what are their thoughts on these issues as to maybe why aren’t they hiring. I feel if elected to city council I could have some sort of leadership role in that, and I would very much like to do so.”
Schenk says his experience in business and his experience of community building will help him work for everyone in Lethbridge if elected to city council.
“I will be there for them as I have been in business for 46 years in Lethbridge. And I will work hard for them, and I will listen, and I will care. I want to make this city prosper in the future.”

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pursuit diver

Wally Wally Wally, You had my vote up the point you stated “The (overdose prevention site) is a great start. They are helping people to not OD and die.”‘
You are ill informed by stating that and show me that you would support these killing machines that generate more addicts and kill more than if would have focused on firm policing against drug use, effective treatment programs that work in the US but for some reason people look at Europe or BC, and the use of drug courts.
Europe has different demographics, beliefs, mores and lifestyles, while BC speaks for itself but everyone is brainwashed by ‘harm reduction’!
If harm reduction worked, then how, after 18 years, thousands of lives lost and billions of dollars do we continue to see increases in the numbers: fatal overdoses, addicts, homeless and crime?? It doesn’t work, but someone has brainwashed people to believe it does! The facts speak for themselves and as we saw in Lethbridge, after the SCS opened up we saw an INCREASE in fatal overdoses, with one dying in their parking lot and several others within 2 blocks, all after leaving the site.
We saw a decrease last September AFTER the SCS closed down, until a few months later, the illegal consumption sites began operating and the numbers of fatal overdoses increased! The stats are there!
These sites give addicts a false sense of security, thinking they can push the amount they take to the limit and someone will save them if they OD, just like Naloxone does!
To coin the statement from one of my friends, we need effective treatment programs that are 12-18 months long, which follow them back into the work force to support them as they go back to work, drug courts to force them to take this treatment and firm policing that goes after the addicts and users, confiscating the users’ drugs when found and when you overdose, an automatic 24 hour medical observation period to make sure they don’t walk away and overdose again.
99% of the time when Naloxone has been administered, CPR employed, when EMS does arrive, the addict will only allow them to briefly check them and then they refuse further treatment. Note, that Naloxone is a short term fix and will wear off and when it does, if they took large amounts, they could OD again! When EMS responds to an overdose, it should be automatic that they are taken to a facility for observation. EMS can and have responded to the same addict overdosing 6-8 times in one day! They need to be taken to place where there are medical professionals, counsellors to try and talk them into getting treatment after they overdoses, not when they are going in to get high at a site, where they have one thing in mind, getting high!!!
Contrary to belief, you CAN force people to take treatment with success over 80% in the US that drug courts forced to take treatment.
Sorry Wally, I like you and liked your food at the restaurants where had, but after your statement, I cannot vote for you! I wish you well!

Wally Schenk

persuit diver.Thank you for your response. To let you know, I am not in favor of the scs sites. I stated it was a start, but never went far enough. The Herald did a great job on my profile, but a few things I mentioned to them were not included in my profile. Having been in an addiction program and sober for 17 years, one of the first things I learned is that we can not be enablers. We need to progress way beyond what they were or are doing at these sights. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. You are spot on with the many points you have brought up.
Thanks for your concern on the addiction crisis.

pursuit diver

Wally, first, I do applaud you for not just becoming sober, but for all the help you have put into helping others. I stand corrected and you have my vote on the 18th! I liked everything else but I have a very sore spot, a wound from the SCS and from the illegal sites such as LOPS. I personally have seen too many young people die on our streets, a loss that should never have happened.
I wish you great success in winning a seat on Council and if not this time, do not give up. Let’s focus on winning this one! Your expertise from your experiences in addition and business experience beginning with Beefeater, but I thought you worked at Hy’s Steak House as well. As stated, loved your food and now have a better understanding on where you stand! I know your father had some interesting times in his service to the community as well!
Again, I stand corrected and hope you get a seat on Council!!!