A familiar face has entered the race.
Longtime Cochranite and award-winning photojournalist Patrick Price has decided to take the leap, following the advice of many community members and photography fans who feel he is well-suited for the civic duty.
“I’ve never had any ambitions to be a politician … throughout the years I’ve had a lot of people suggest I run for council and I’ve always dismissed it,” laughed Price, who recently departed from his position as longtime photojournalist for the Cochrane Times and prior to that, spent many years with the Cochrane Eagle.
No slogan. No signs. Price is running a campaign centered on his passion for the community he has called home for the better part of three decades – where he raised his now two grown daughters with wife, Wendy, and has welcomed a granddaughter.
Years of telling stories about the community through his photography, Price speaks to the strong volunteer base as the community heartbeat.
“Events tie our community together – not only from the spectator or participant point of view, but the volunteers … they are the reason why some of our sports teams are so successful. I’ve always been in awe of that.”
He praised groups such as the Lions Club for their tireless efforts at community advocacy and feels strongly that the Lions Rodeo should be kept right where it is and that the town should resign a long-term lease with the club to help them make the Lions Event Centre (former curling club) a community hub.
As a councillor, he said he would be a voice for small businesses and advocate that the town’s ‘Shop Local’ campaign should mean more than lip service.
He said the time for some type of transit system is now – praising mayoral candidate Jeff Genung’s recent suggestion to explore ride-sharing partnerships.
His mounting concerns include transparency, public engagement, single entry points in and out of communities, traffic congestion and wasting money of frivolous endeavours – like the Cochrane Dollar.
“It was a waste of money, a waste of effort … there’s no incentive for the consumer,” he said, adding that the only benefit is a one-time tourist keepsake and that the bills pay homage to the town’s pioneers.
He remains less than convinced that council has been making the right decisions for the community and he is “disappointed” to see what he feels are the considerations of the few over the many driving decision-making.
“Look at the dog park and how they did an about-face on that … to me, this council isn’t thinking about the community,” he said, emphasizing that the west end dog park debate in council this spring was a clear example of the town not putting its best foot forward in regards to public engagement.
He is concerned that the town is not exhibiting fiscal responsibility, using the new aquatic/curling centre expansion as an example.
“A lot of people think I’m against the pool. I was never against the pool, I was against the timing of the pool,” he said, emphasizing that key infrastructure projects should have been put before $48-million recreational facilities.
Price thinks town council is not being transparent about the long-term taxpayer impact or the preliminary assumption that the facility will break even after less than five years, given that some of the leasable spaces are still vacant and the final cost overruns have yet to come in.
Price cited the $395,000 renovation of the Cochrane Ranche ClubHouse as another example of money spent unwisely.
If elected, Price said he would continue to advocate for the provincial upgrades to the roads and would look to local solutions for additional traffic alleviation – such as possibilities for additional entries/exits to communities.
His Facebook page is Pat Price Photography or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.