Patrick Wilson rings in as the 15th and final candidate to vie for a seat on town council.
As the co-owner and manager of Cochrane’s biggest taxi cab company, Taxi4U, Wilson may be one of the most familiar faces to voters – driving Cochranites home into the wee hours of the morning for the last decade.
The 34-year-old Cochrane High School graduate’s platform does not mince words and matches his stand-out stature of 6-foot-6: with roads and traffic congestion at the forefront.
“My top priority would be an overpass/underpass at the Centre Avenue railway crossing,” said Wilson, who is focusing his campaign on what he feels municipal council can tackle and less on what is ultimately the province’s responsibility – the intersection at the 1A/22 highways.
“If anybody is happy with our current state then don’t vote for me … my entire job is talking to people about these things,” he said, confirming that some 40 hours a week are spent behind the wheel around town.
Wilson would look to such immediate solutions as lane reversals (especially on Highway 1A), creating one-way streets surrounding the Quarry and better synchronizing traffic lights.
Another priority is government overregulation and interference with small businesses – including restrictive bylaws exemplified – “anti-smoking, food trucks and dog park fiascoes.”
“I shudder every time I hear government solutions to small business problems … less regulation and lower taxes are the way to small business development,” said Wilson, who has a degree in business management.
While he sees this council’s zoning boost for more commercial and light industrial as a positive, he is skeptical of town-led marketing campaigns to attract specific industries such as the tech sector.
“Business finds you, you don’t find it … you create an environment that attracts business and then get out of the way,” he said, confirming he would be a strong advocate for low taxes, limited budgets and self-sustaining services.
Wilson says a major capital project such as an arts/cultural hub would be unaffordable – and fiscal responsibility is integral to his platform. He thinks the town already has the building blocks with the Cochrane Lions Club.
He would push to keep the Lions Rodeo where it is and to re-sign a long-term lease with the service club so they can put out the capital to invest in the Cochrane Lions Event Centre (former curling club). He would support zoning the entire site for subsequent recreational/art centre development.
Wilson thinks taking advantage of transit grant dollars to initiate a feasibility study is a positive, but is not in favour of launching a full-scale transit system where operational costs are not covered.
“We need to start small and build it as it grows,” he said, adding that transit can easily become a burden to the many and used by the few if not done right.
He has also grown weary of money expenditures falsely presented as solutions.
“Calling multi-million dollar bike lane construction on Highway 1A and Railway Street a traffic solution is not acceptable in Alberta for obvious reasons,” he said, highlighting the weather that makes cycling an unrealistic alternative.
Wilson will take part in the Sept. 26 all-candidates debate held by the Cochrane Eagle at the Lions Event Centre from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
He encourages people to reach him at votepatrickwilson.ca or 403-829-2667 and will have a Facebook page live in the coming days.