Scott Gibson-Craig to run for Cochrane town council
Thursday, Aug 31, 2017 06:00 am
Scott Gibson-Craig is the newest fresh face to enter the municipal election race that is ramping up as summer comes to a close.
The 45-year-old software developer is launching his campaign this week, centered on “building Cochrane together” by improving traffic and transportation, balancing growth and reducing spending.
“We need to bring in businesses so they will move to Cochrane and make it their home … I think one of the ways we do that is through the tech industry,” he said.
While Cochrane has been bringing a lot of service and retail sector jobs to town, many professionals continue to commute to Calgary and Gibson-Craig believes creating higher paying jobs and fostering more industry would keep Cochrane from turning into a bedroom community of Calgary – a symptom of regional growth.
It was not a rash decision for the father of two, who moved to Cochrane nearly two years ago with his wife, Rosemary, from Calgary. He began attending biweekly council sessions last January to familiarize himself with the processes and decisions that continue to shape Cochrane.
His research has led him to believe he could bring a big picture, engaging approach to council – where enhanced public engagement and debate would prevent rushed decisions and potentially restore balance to the fastest growing community in the province.
“I started going to council because I saw the results of decisions that council was making when I would read the paper,” said Gibson-Craig, adding that he gets the impression there is a “lack of debate, rushed decisions and a lack of options” where “option B is often just the result of not doing A.”
Gibson-Craig explained that his three goals are to improve transportation by looking at connectivity between communities and not just traffic; creating more balanced growth by fostering commercial and economic catch up to the residential boom of the last several years; and by advocating for reduced spending without axing services – ensuring the town is not spending beyond its means.
The all or nothing approach isn’t always the only option, said Gibson-Craig, who would like to see options to build a transit system in town that would move people around safely and keep congestion off the roads without becoming a tax burden.
Citing the aquatic/multisport centre as a poorly managed capital project, Gibson-Craig would take a more scaled-back approach to an arts and cultural centre – perhaps looking to public-private partnerships.
He disagrees with the Cochrane Dollars initiative, which he feels was shortsighted and will end up being a costly, under-utilized tourist grab.
“Has it been successful? Who’s really utilizing it?” he asked, adding he has asked staff at the various local and the perception seems to be less than enthusiastic.
“There’s no such thing as no cost … even if we get a grant, it’s still taxpayers’ money,” he said, adding he would rather see the town’s economic development team focusing its resources on working on strategies that would make Cochrane a hot spot for industry, rather than continue with something he feels is out of touch with modern spending habits that aren’t conducive to carrying around various currencies.
Gibson-Craig said he would like to see more simplified approaches to issues such as hen pilots and food trucks. He said small-scale, small business initiatives would be better served by a pilot project and trial and error than multiple council sessions where “more time was spent on up to 16 homes having hens than giving the go-ahead for hundreds of new homes.”
Since one-third of the town’s populous was not living here when the last council was elected, Gibson-Craig said he wants to be part of a team that stays in touch with what Cochranites want now.
His website is vote.gibson-craig.com. He will take part in the Cochrane Eagle-Lions Club all-candidates forum on Sept. 26.