By Tim Kalinowski on October 8, 2021.
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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