By Tim Kalinowski on September 14, 2021.
City council candidate Tim Vanderbeek says rather than the city investing in new green spaces and other recreational or cultural infrastructure it should focus on keeping and maintaining what it already has.
“One of the biggest things is (this council) did the cutbacks, and that has impacted on things like parks and streets,” he says. “And I believe what we need to do is keep what we already have and not pursue new projects to the degree past councils have.
“We have had people coming in to pull weeds (for the City), which I find disgraceful. Because they are paying taxes to have those things done.”
Vanderbeek is a lifelong northside resident who has sat on local Galt Museum and Sports Bid Committees in the past. He works as a substitute teacher in the community and for the City in the Parks department as a maintenance worker, (for which he is currently on leave). He has also represented the Alberta Teachers’ Association locally and at a provincial level in the past.
Vanderbeek says if elected he would see it as a priority to address the city’s ongoing social problems in a concerted and well-planned way.
“Medicine Hat has had successful housing,” he says, by way of example. “Finland has had successful housing. But it needs to be part of a co-ordinated plan. You need to have the housing, the treatment, and break that cycle. Unfortunately it’s a lightning issue, and people aren’t happy with harm reduction, but that genie is out of the bottle. Basically, she has crossed her arms and bopped her head, and she is not going back in. And we have to do things to mitigate that.
“Yes, people involved have rights, but they don’t have the right to impose chaos on the rest of the community they are living in. You have to look and balance those rights.”
Vanderbeek says he would like to see more dialogue between those who favour harm reduction and those who favour treatment to come up with common answers to the city’s drug crisis.
“We can’t have people dying in the streets, but right now we have two opposing groups that both want the same outcome,” he states. “But they have adopted their dogma â€¦ It is two pieces of the same puzzle. They need to realize neither of them are enemies, and they are working toward a common goal: to break the cycle and get people into a better living situation.”
Vanderbeek’s capital spending priority if elected would be to push along plans to create a third bridge if people vote for that as part of the non-binding ballot question this fall.
“Realistically, it’s not going to get built within the next 10 years,” he admits. “By the time we do the planning, and the environmental studies, and whatnot. You can start shopping around and start saving money for it.”
As a more immediate spending priority, Vanderbeek says he would seek to restore Parks funding and police funding cut in last year’s budget initiatives.
“When people are in trouble, they are not calling the social workers to come and deal with it,” he states. “The police are the ones that have to come in.”
If elected, Vanderbeek also promises to help restore a sense of respect and decorum on city council which has been lacking for the past four years, in his opinion.
“I do believe what we need to do is we bring back a lot of professionalism on council,” he confirms. “We need to stop and listen to what other individuals are saying and respect their views. I have been on committees where I have hated the person across the table, but they actually made good points. You have to keep that in mind.”
Vanderbeek says he loves Lethbridge, and wants to sit on council to create an even better city going forward.
“I understand what a great community it is, and I believe that I do have some things to offer,” he states. “And if they (the voters) would let me do that, I would try my best to do that.”
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