An Important Message                

Enrique Massot 400x400

Why I am running?

On Oct. 10, I had an opportunity to address community members during a Candidates Forum held at the Bragg Creek Community Centre.

The following is part of what I expressed at the forum – with the addition of some explanatory details.

If elected, I will support growth in Bragg Creek in accordance with existing plans.

I will work to help make Bragg Creek attractive to new residents and businesses.

However, to do that we need a change in direction. We need a County that cares and listens to its existing communities.

You may say, “this should be a given.” However, it’s not. For the last 16 years Rocky View has been disregarding its citizens and most existing communities.

As a reporter sitting in Council Chambers for almost 20 years, I interviewed residents, staff and councillors, and learned how Council works.

I also watched, in horror, this municipality being hijacked by private interests and increasingly steered away from its public role.

In 2005, for example, Rocky View declared itself “open for business,” and went on a borrowing spree to build a 135-million-dollar water and sewer system so that large developments could set up shop in Balzac and Conrich.

Next, levies through which developers were supposed to pay back the cost to the County, were set, way too low, for the next six years – while most development happened in Balzac.

Twelve years later, a debt of about $86 million remains unpaid and no repayment plan has been made.

In 2010, our well remembered deputy reeve Rick Butler got support for a third-party audit on this debt. After Rick’s untimely death, however, Council quickly changed the motion and the audit was finally done…in house.

While money was freely spent in Balzac, there was none for Bragg Creek, where residents and businesses struggled for under a decades-old boil water advisory – and would continue to do so for several more years.

The County only installed water and sewer in the hamlet when the federal and provincial governments came up with two-thirds of the funding.

And even today, some residents haven’t yet been connected to water and sewer.

For almost two decades, Bragg Creek and area has been forgotten.

If you look for the “Rocky View Advantage” promotional video presented by Rocky View Economic Development office, you will hear about the marvels of north and east Rocky View—Bragg Creek is absent.

The County has also been busy approving strange proposals: Spending $1.4 million in a piece of infrastructure servicing a residential development in Wheatland County where $1.7 million was subsequently lost subsidizing the service…to residents in another municipality.

A development that flooded Cochrane Lake in Div. 9, and later, an attempt to make the residents pay a special tax to fix it. Saved the day a councillor from another division who obtained a provincial grant.

The Conrich area structure plan was appealed by Calgary and Chestermere. Fighting those appeals cost the County $500,000. Would you say the developers of the Conrich ASP paid? Wrong! You, the taxpayer, did.

Recently, Council approved the Glenbow Ranch area structure plan. It has been appealed by Calgary and Cochrane. Council rejected a motion to make the ASP landowners/developers pay, and as a result, the legal fees will again be on the back of the taxpayers.

How can this all happen?

There is a very effective system in place. Some developers financially back candidates who, once elected with hidden agendas, work dutifully for their private sponsors, using the municipal powers and even the County’s credit card.

We only discovered the extent of this support when the Province mandated disclosure of election contributions for the first time in 2010.

Anybody can check those disclosed contributions by visiting rockyview.ca, then going to government, then past elections, then scrolling down to the bottom of the page.

Unfortunately, disclosure happens only four months after the election.

That is why I am for full, early disclosure and am posting on my website every contribution as I receive them from Rocky View residents, matching names to amounts donated.

I also want to make it clear that I do not accept contributions from developers, builders and real estate agents.

In Summary:

My pledge to you all is to diligently represent residents and businesses and work with the new councillors for the good of Div. 1 and the whole County.

We need to change some practices to make this municipality reset its priorities and care about its existing residents.

The taxes we all pay must return to us in the form of services instead of going elsewhere.

One of my first motions as councillor will be to conduct a third-party, Corporate Review of the municipal organization that will include a Value for Money audit showing you how your tax dollars are being spent.

This will allow the new Council to start on the right foot and set up a realistic work plan for the next four years.

We need to have a financially sound County if we are going to have any economic development assistance here in Bragg Creek.

If the municipality works for the public good, then everything becomes possible, including support for one of Rocky View’s unique jewels: Bragg Creek and all of Division 1.

We can have both sound growth and a thriving community.

Together, we can do it!

Thank you.

Please it is important that you get out and vote.   It would be a great honour to have you believe in my vision and platform so strongly that you cast your important franchise for me to become your representative in Council.   Thank you for caring about Division 1 and the County of Rocky View.  

Enrique.  

© Enrique Massot 2017