County Division 3 hopeful Dana Depalme is running for Red Deer County council in hopes of bringing more accountability to the County.
“Residents need a voice and need to be taken seriously when it comes to decisions,” she said. “Their voices need to be represented and they need to be treated fairly and with respect.”
Depalme feels in the past the County has not properly consulted residents on the choices they have made.
“I don’t really think residents have been listened to,” she said.
“Some have not been treated fairly or respected in these decisions. This happens all the way down to development departments. There seems to be a gap between the decisions and the development department. Decisions are made and I don’t think they are followed through with.”
Infrastructure and development are key to the County’s growth, however Depalme said the benefits need to be clear for all residents.
“I think we need development and we need to continue with infrastructure,” she said.
“Going forward, residents need to be heard in those decisions and kept in the loop of what is going on. They also need to understand why it is going on and whether it is beneficial for them.”
Further public consultation will allow rural, agricultural and urban aspects of the County to prosper, according to Depalme.
“I know you have to make decisions for Red Deer County as a whole, but I don’t think you need to take away from residents at the same time,” she said.
“There is a way to bridge rural and urban together in a way that it is balanced for both. It is about bringing everyone together and if residents are heard—they understand why decisions are made and that will help.”
Crime is something Depalme feels needs to be addressed in the next term.
“I want to ensure people feel safe in their communities,” she said. “I think the crime watch is a good step. We need to address it further and find ways for our residents to feel more safe.”
Depalme feels her experience gives her a unique perspective on all of these aspects.
“I am a farmer and I have been in Red Deer County for 18 years,” she said. “I understand the farming aspects of the County and the needs between business and farming. I am also involved with my family’s promotion business—which has been around for 35 years.
“I understand the needs of both sides and I also worked in accounting for seven years prior to farming, so I have a strong understanding of all aspects of what is going on.”
She added her extensive experience in the Red Deer and District 4H Committee will help her as a Councillor.
Depalme described herself as conservative.
“I think money should be spent responsibly and when decisions are made regarding money, we need to take into account how it is being spent,” she said.
“We need to make sure residents are the number one priority regarding safety.”
County Mayor Jim Wood, according to Depalme, has been a good leader for the County and will continue to be. She feels her ability to speak her mind will help bring a new perspective to council.
“I am passionate, committed and invested in my community,” she said. “I would be a strong sensible voice for Division 3 residents. I want to ensure Red Deer County remains a great place to live and raise a family. I want to promote a healthy balance between residents, agriculture and development, because that is not happening.”