Coun. Tara McFadden is launching her campaign this week, seeking re-election for a fourth term on town council.
The mother of two and 13-year Cochranite is looking to bring her passion for political service, experience on council and ability to work well on a team to the table.
“It’s easy to be the voice of opposition … but in order to be successful you need to build partnerships and relationships with the rest of council,” said McFadden.
This time around McFadden is basing her campaign on managing growth better, improving public engagement and citizen involvement and focusing on roads, accessibility and connectivity.
As far as she is concerned, the next four years is about getting the community to come together and provide input as to how Cochrane today wants the town to look tomorrow – by revisiting and revising Cochrane’s guiding planning documents – the Cochrane Sustainability Plan (CSP) and the Municipal Development Plan (MDP), both of which are around a decade old.
“Those visions that we as a community came together to create are now old and the population has doubled,” she said, adding that she wants to get the community involved through the creation of more committees, including a citizens panel, to prompt resident involvement and turn voter apathy around.
She understands that accelerated residential growth has been a difficult transition for many Cochranites, but views the next four years as a tremendous opportunity for Cochrane’s employment sector to grow and flourish.
Up until recently, McFadden said a major obstacle for commercial sector growth was Cochrane not having the land base. Now three future sites have come online – the future Greystone development, west of the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre, the old Town Hall site adjacent to Highway 22 (where the former KFC restaurant was located) and the commercial lands included in the future Southbow development on the south side of the Bow River.
“We’re going from 20-plus years of nothing to three really good sites to diversify our players and grow that non-residential tax base to make Cochrane a complete community,” said McFadden, who foresees many opportunities for major health and technology sector businesses to come to Cochrane and would like that to be the focus of the town’s economic development team.
Connectivity is key to McFadden’s vision of a complete community.
“The next four years is all about connecting Cochrane better … the geography of Cochrane is tough, but that doesn’t mean we can let that stop us,” said McFadden.
Connecting Cochrane’s rapidly developing communities outside of the core and fixing gaps in the pathway system will help alleviate traffic congestions – which will be further mitigated by the 2019 tentative construction start on the upgrades to the Highway 1A/22 intersection, the slated opening of the Bow River bridge connecting downtown to the growing south side of town and the realignment of James Walker Trail.
McFadden’s highlighted accomplishments from her work as a councillor to include the aquatic/multisport facility completion and opening, the clean-up of the former Domtar Site and development of the Quarry and its various businesses and keeping taxes low.
She has been active on numerous committees and boards, including with the Calgary Regional Partnership, the Growth Management Board and the Cochrane Planning Commission.
She has been actively engaged in politics for 12 years and is in the process of starting a new chapter as a mortgage broker. Connect with her at taramcfadden.com.
McFadden will be attending the Sept. 26 election forum be hosted by the Cochrane Eagle and the Cochrane Lions Club.