Doug Manderville, a Red Deer resident since 1982, is running for Red Deer City Council and is hoping to bring a unique perspective.
“To my knowledge, there hasn’t been a person with a physical disability serve on council,” said Manderville, who suffered a severe spinal cord injury in 1994.
“I think I bring a new perspective and a new skill set. I am not here to rock the boat, I am here to bring a paddle. I think I can contribute to the programs and services that City council is already providing.”
Manderville developed an acronym to portray his electoral platform and how he feels he would contribute to Red Deer City council.
“There are a number of issues that I feel I can bring a different perspective to and we came up with an acronym: ACTIVE in the Community,” he said. When you think about being ACTIVE: ‘A’ is being accessible and approachable; ‘C’ is being committed to the task; ‘T’ is being transparent; ‘I’ is being inclusive; ‘V’ is being Versatile and ‘E’ is being Efficient.”
He added his experience in the non-profit sector would greatly benefit his work on council.
“I have been with Spinal Cord Injury Alberta for 18 years and I bring knowledge of the non-profit sector. I not only have worked in the area of rehabilitation, support and service coordination, community development and systemic change, I have also lived with a disability for 23 years.”
Manderville is wanting to contribute in many more ways then just advocating for people with disabilities.
“I am hoping to bridge a gap for the youth. We are paving the way for our youth population. I think City council has done a fantastic job in being transparent with the community and they have recognized young people as the future,” he said.
He noted the new compressed natural gas (CNG) buses are an excellent way for Red Deer to ensure they are protecting the younger generation by reducing the City’s carbon footprint.
“If you look at new CNG buses – that is a step in the right direction. I would like to contribute to issues like this in the future,” he said.
Manderville also included diversity, fiscal responsibility and building a relationship and an understanding with the indigenous population as key factors to his campaign.
Infrastructure and managing growth are also things that Manderville sees as key to the next term of council. Managing growth, while still maintaining a friendly, small town feel is what Manderville hopes to achieve.
“When we first moved here in ’82, the population was 32,000, so we have definitely seen growth,” he said.
“Our infrastructure and services have changed and I think we as a community and the City council have done an excellent job of embracing that growth.
“The biggest challenge we face is our growing population, which isn’t necessarily a negative thing. Red Deer is a city, but it still has that small town feeling.
“When I moved back here after my injury in ‘98, I was glad to move back. It is all about the ‘hellos’ at the grocery store on a Sunday afternoon.”
He added that the several new roundabouts throughout the City are an excellent example about how Red Deer City council can influence important infrastructure projects.
Manderville believes he can be a middle ground on council between left and right ideas.
“I tend to remain neutral. I don’t consider myself left or right. I feel I am right in the middle. I don’t sway one way or the other,” he said. “I feel like I can embrace both sides and both sides’ perspectives because I am not strict to one side or the other. That goes with being accessible and approachable in your community.”
He added it is important to him to be available to his community.
“In the non-profit sector, if the phone rings on a Saturday and somebody needs something – I’m there,” he said.
“City council is the same way – you are out in the public attending meetings and supporting your community. I would like to be a part of that.”
Manderville stressed that having a fiscal plan is key to not over-spending in government.
“It is all about fiscal responsibility and having a plan in place,” he said.
“Let’s not spend our dollars until we know it is going to work. I think that is huge, especially in today’s economy. It is all about investigating before you are committed.”
He added he hopes to be a steady asset for council.
“I am not here to rock the boat,” he said.
“I am here to assist and learn and my passion is community development. Community development is not an overnight thing – it takes time. I would look forward to working with council and to add to the great things they have done already.
“I look forward to the challenge and If I am elected I will do my best to represent Red Deer,” he said.