By June Norvila
There will be at least two new members of Bentley town council after the upcoming municipal election.
The statement and priorities of Mayor Joan Dickau, who was returned as mayor by acclamation, were published in the Sept. 7 Rimbey Review along with comments from incumbent deputy mayor Sandra Smyth.
The following includes statements from incumbent Cliff Knutson and new contenders Pam Davey, Butch Howard, and Lynda Haarstad Petten.
Incumbent Cliff Knutson is running for Bentley town council for a second term. He says he has two main priorities – “to see and encourage commercial and industrial growth in Bentley” and “to see town water supplied (to the portion of the town) west of the railroad tracks.” Businesses there now have to supply their own water system.
The town has talked about getting town water to the industrial area but it would be an expensive proposition to undertake because the railroad tracks are a major obstacle.
Knutson has served one term and has served as a council representative on public works, for Parkland Community Planning Services, to the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance, and as an alternate for a couple of others.
Pam Davey is running because she feels “we need solutions to the issues in our community, and (we need) people who are not afraid to stand up and speak about those issues.”
“If elected one of my main goals is to open the lines of communication with the citizens of Bentley (and town council). I would like to see more accountability to the tax payers on how their money is being spent and more input from them on how to spend it,” Davey stated. “I would like to see more programs and opportunities for the families and seniors in our community (and) I would like to see responsible growth to our business sector as well as residential areas (in the town).”
Davey grew up and got her education in Sylvan Lake and lived in Red Deer before settling in Bentley with her young family two years ago.
As a volunteer she has visited prisoners at the Bowden Institution, has worked in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya helping to develop work projects for the people there, visited AIDS victims in the Hospitals of Kampala, Uganda and visited orphans in the villages, and has also travelled to Yemen, Israel and Turkey.
She feels qualified for town council after being in the retail business for over 25 years, almost 10 of those years in management, and having taken management training including crisis and conflict resolution courses.
“I have been (lived) in this area my whole life,” Davey says, “and can’t imagine being anywhere else.”
Long time Bentley resident Butch Howard has also put his name forward.
“I’ve been interested in politics and current affairs my entire life,” Howard says. “Now that retirement seems a little closer, I feel I have the time to devote to such an endeavour as running for (town) council.”
He feels that having worked for Lacombe County has given him insight and an understanding of the day-to-day operations of a municipal government and the experience would be beneficial to him in the role of a town councilor.
“Since my retirement from the military twenty-eight years ago, my wife Linda and I have enjoyed raising our family in this charming community,” says Howard. “I feel I could serve the citizens of Bentley well. I will do everything possible to see Bentley continue to thrive without compromising its friendly atmosphere and charm.”
Hopeful candidate Lynda Haarstad Petten states “Progression in any community means looking towards the future. We need to make certain that there is residential, commercial and industrial growth (including affordable housing).”
“We must install water lines to the industrial area,” she continues. “We need to look at restoring some form of a recreation board.”
She also feels town council needs to be transparent and accountable for tax dollars spent. “Residents should feel free to approach their council and administration to get that information,” Petten says.
“Through the years, I have served on many community volunteer committees and believe that volunteers are the backbone of any place. These people enhance our town.”
A long time member of the local curling club, she is currently serving as their secretary, has belonged to the Royal Purple, and currently is the Exalted Ruler (President) of the local Elks Lodge and is serving on the Forward Planning Committee for the Provincial Association of the Elks.
Petten has a great deal of experience with local municipal government having previously been a councillor and having been the administrative assistant for the town.
“Not everyone in a community will agree with all decisions made at the council level all of the time but the majority of the people should be happy most of the time,” she realizes. “That is what makes a good community a great community.”
Petten urges people to get out and vote.
There will be no election for Wolf Creek School Ward 4 – Bentley/Eckville school trustee as incumbent Karin Engen was returned by acclamation.