Bella Fallis enters race, focuses on social services such as transit

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Newly declared candidate Bella Fallis is hitting the pavement running with a goal of knocking on 9,000 doors as she vies for a seat on town council.

Fallis’ campaign is centered on the three C’s – community, caring and commitment.

“That’s the theme of my campaign – connectivity,” said Fallis. “This is a very humbling experience and I’m not taking it lightly.”

The pillars of her platform would be carried out through her commitment to speeding up the delivery of a public transit system; advocating for 24-hour urgent care services; raising up the priority of an arts/cultural hub; the development of a downtown parking strategy and residential parking solutions; and increasing police and bylaw presence.

“If it’s possible, I will work to accelerate transit,” said Fallis, adding that she is hearing from residents a growing need for buses – seniors, youth and families with one vehicle.

“It would reduce the carbon footprint and get some of the traffic off the road.”

Her motivations stem from a passion to provide services for seniors – more than 20 per cent of the population – and youth and to ward off bedroom community consequences resulting from a disconnected community.

“Infrastructure has to keep pace with the growth. I’m not against growth, but it needs to be responsible growth and it needs to be managed (well),” she said, a key goal is addressing traffic with continued advocacy to twin Highway 1A and to ensure the intersection at highways 1A and 22 are delivered.

With respect to extending urgent care services to 24 hours, Fallis said she realizes pushing the province to move this up the priority list is challenging – but persistence can make anything possible.

“I know this is going to be hard to advocate for with the province, but I’m hopeful – Airdrie recently got its 24-hour care,” she said, emphasizing that Cochrane is the fastest growing community in the province, even if its population is less.

A fan of citizen engagement, Fallis would like to see community associations mandated. She noted some associations appear to be thriving, others are not. She believes community association would be more effective and help better advocate for individual community’s needs if they weren’t optional.

“People need to feel like they can come forward and they don’t need to be afraid to come forward,” said Fallis, who feels that strength in numbers would help propel common concerns such as multi-user spaces, dog parks, narrow roads and parking concerns forward.

Fallis – who moved to Cochrane from Mississauga, Ont., nearly four years ago but is originally from the Prairies and spent many years living in Edmonton – said as Cochrane continues to grow so does the need for social services to address safety issues.

“I’m passion about accelerating progress on the women’s shelter,” she said, noting the rates of domestic violence have risen since the economic shift.

“I’m also hearing a lot about safety – some areas are worse than others – where the amount of thefts and break-ins are staggering.”

Fallis would look to advocate for increasing the RCMP ratio and bringing more bylaw officers on staff.

A lifelong artist, her booming business Bella’s Vintage Luxuries – a unique business that repurposes and upcycles vintage leather, fur and other materials into furniture and fashions for daily wear and weddings – has inspired her to connect with Cochranites seeking change.

Fallis has four grown children and resides in Heritage Hills with her husband, Ron.

She worked as a paralegal and paralegal instructor for 15 years previously and has a bachelor of arts in general studies – where she focused on political science, urban studies and elder and youth studies.

She can be reached through email at voteforbellafallis@gmail.com or electbellafallis.ca.

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Lindsay Seewalt

Lindsay is a senior Eagle reporter who has transformed her penchant for storytelling into the craft of writing. She has a knack for getting the scoop on stories and is a strong interviewer. The U of C and MRU English/Journalism graduate is committed to telling every story through a new lens, from a fresh perspective. Currently, her focus is on news and politics reporting, including town hall. She has a passion for providing a platform for underdogs, grassroots movements and those who have the courage to put themselves out there. She bases the strength of her stories on the depth of her connection with her interviewee, which is best done over too much coffee.