Councillors hope for more face time with citizens

Some of the City councillor’s election campaigns this past fall included spending more time in the Red Deer community, face-to-face with residents and it’s a promise they intend to keep now that they’ve been elected.

Councillor Dianne Wyntjes intends to have a continuous dialogue with Red Deer residents. She hopes to use the local farmer’s market as a forum and hopes to get out to Red Deer College to engage with students.

“I think that certainly City council has been in the mall at Let’s Talk but my question is do we do that enough?” said Wyntjes.

“The farmer’s market is a very good opportunity for City council and the public because they feel more relaxed and they may not have time to pick up the phone and let the councillor know what is on their mind. I would like to see the farmer’s market a permanent part of our opportunity to engage with the citizens.”

Councillor Paul Harris, who also used the City’s farmer’s market to meet with citizens and hear their concerns, said he is looking forward to continuing to engage with the public.

“The farmer’s market was a great place,” said Harris. “I think it would be really good if a group from council could be there to talk with citizens on a regular basis.”

Harris added he plans to take advantage of next year’s market to engage with citizens.

“I do plan to be down there,” he said.

To ensure that communication with citizens continues, Harris will hold a gathering for people who were interested in his campaign as well as the general public to help him determine what the community’s priorities are and what he should focus on while elected to council.

“I want to have a sense of community conversation,” he said. “For me, I hope for this change.”

Councillor Cindy Jefferies said she is onboard for having council more available to the public.

“I think we’re going to start to see councillors hosting coffee shop meet and greets,” she said. “I think it all goes along with the social media where everyone is more accessible and things are more informal. It’s part of a new way of thinking.”

Jefferies added the farmer’s market this past summer was a good way to hear citizens’ concerns and have conversations.

“Generally the farmer’s market is a good place and over the past couple of years City council has picked four weekends to be at the market and to talk with citizens,” she said. “It’s something I believe we’ll continue to do.”