City council candidate Lloyd Johnson believes City leadership is ready for a new vision.
“I thought I needed to put action behind my words, and try to make a change,” he said, recalling the time he decided to put his name forward in the City council race.
Johnson was involved in the Let Us Vote petition which helped bring about council’s decision to include a question on next month’s ballot on whether or not the City is ready for a ward system.
“Decisions are made on a few hundred people instead of the majority,” he said.
“That’s not whole representation. With wards – in an ideal situation – the councillors would feel they had to be a little representational, and they’d be more accountable to the people within that area of Red Deer.
“I feel it would engage the community in a much better way.”
He’d also like to see more community associations formed, which a ward system may help to encourage.
“I think it would create a better city.”
Meanwhile, the controversial issue of bike lanes in the City also points to a lack of communication in general between council and the public.
“What they should have done is an exhaustive community consultation to make sure there was a community need,” he said. “If they had done that, there would be no bike lanes or there wouldn’t even be a pilot study. But they went ahead anyways.
“The time frame was way too fast,” he said. “I find they are dismissive at the end of a project for the people who disagree. You have to respect everyone’s opinion. And I think in respecting everyone’s opinion, and doing the process fully, we wouldn’t have so many issues coming up and people feeling a need to step up and speak so vocally.”
Johnson said he is also concerned about the City’s debt amount and repayment strategies.
As for the large number of candidates vying for a council seat, Johnson said he hope the enthusiasm also spreads to voters and results in a stronger turnout at the polls than has been the case in some past elections.
“I hope the controversy with the bike lanes, the ward (system) and also having so many candidates causes more people to feel the motivation and be involved.”
Johnson, a chef by trade, said he has extensive management, business and financial experience garnered over the years. “With my non-profit work in Red Deer, I’ve been lucky to do a number of community projects, too. I also think there is a wide, fairly diverse range of people that I’m in contact with as well.”
Johnson said he has the drive, the experience and the commitment to give back to the community. “I have a collaborative approach with people and I think I could make a difference with what’s happening in council right now.”