Who will run?

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It’s a mixed bag for which council incumbents will be vying for re-election in the 2017 municipal election.

Coun. Ross Watson will be running again.

Couns. Mary Lou Eckmeier, Gaynor Levisky and Jeff Toews will not.

Mayor Ivan Brooker, Coun. Tara McFadden and Coun. Morgan Nagel are not yet ready to announce their intentions.

Brooker has hinted to the Eagle that another kick at the mayor’s seat may be in the cards, but will officially make a statement by next month.

Much is the same for three-term councillor McFadden and for first-timer Nagel.

“Over the past four years I think I have been successful in standing up for taxpayers in Cochrane,” said Nagel. “Every step of the way, I have fought for smarter spending and lower taxes. I also pushed very hard for our government to prioritize spending on basic infrastructure instead of frivolous projects.”

Priding himself on doing “exactly what he promised during the last election” the 26-year-old councillor is hopeful that the next mayor and council will “stop relying on residential development to pay for everything” and remains “deeply concerned with the speed at which Cochrane is growing.”

Highlights for McFadden include delivery on key transportation needs (with the push for the 1A/22 intersection) and the progress on the James Walker Trail alignment and bridge, as well as the pool/curling centre as a “build for the future” while “keeping our taxes among the lowest in the region”.

She is hopeful the next council, whether or not she looks to be a part of it, will focus on sustainable, manageable growth.

She is also looking forward to Cochrane’s continued diversification and the ability to attract quality industries and jobs.

Coun. Ross Watson, who is serving his fifth term (third consecutive), finds himself with an endless list of goals he would like to accomplish to help continue to shape Cochrane to become “one of the best communities in Alberta” – motivating him to enter his name once again.

Some “needs” that have crept up the list for Watson include 24-hour health care; an arts/cultural centre; and transportation – which he said will “definitely be an election issue.”

While “an arts centre coming out of the gate would be ambitious,” he would like to see a confirmed site and said the soon-to-be-closed Big Hill Leisure Pool site would be suitable.

He added rail crossings remain an issue – with Heartland and Heritage Hills in “need of at least one pedestrian crossing.”

He was disappointed to see the delay in the sale of the old town hall site (where the old KFC building is located) until later 2018 and is hopeful that it will be worth the wait, as he is anxious to see that align with the vision of Historic Downtown as a gateway.

Levisky has enjoyed her sole term on council and is proud of her work on the Community Enhancement Evaluation (matrix) with Toews, but said it’s about “balance and family” and wants to be available to help “navigate her two children through those teen years.”

Eckmeier, who is soon to be finishing her second non-consecutive term, said she is “running for retirement.” She will continue to work at her full-time day job as a legal assistant as she and husband, Roy, work toward their retirement dream on a lake in Ontario.

Advice to others looking to enter the race?

“Check your ego at the door,” said Eckmeier, adding that the retail industry concept of “finding out what your customers want” applies very much to town service.

Toews is wrapping up his second consecutive term on Cochrane council.

“I ran seven years ago because I felt council wasn’t listening or respecting the needs of the community,” he said.

Nomination day is Sept. 18.

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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.