MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY — Roads, relationships, and a regional economic development strategy.
Those, in that order, are the top priorities outlined by one of two candidates who have declared their intention to run for office representing Mountain View County’s District 7.
Throughout the course of many conversations with constituents, David Doyle said the number one issue that people raise when asked what they expect from the county for their tax dollars, is upgrading and maintaining transportation infrastructure.
With a background in road construction as a heavy equipment technician who in 2018 was inducted into the Olds College Alumni Association’s Hall of Merit, the 41-year-old who has worked as a realtor for the past four years said doing everything possible in his capacity as a councillor to ensure the county’s roads and transportation networks are better operated and maintained, would if elected be his top priority.
“I’m not going to make promises that I can’t keep,” he said. But he expressed a commitment to always be accessible and to strive to stand up for what he feels is in the county's best interests.
Doyle said he’s already heard complaints from constituents in his division who for years have experienced little to no success in their efforts to solicit the county for help tending to deteriorated approaches and gravel roads that many producers depend on to transport to market everything from grain to cattle.
“When I’m getting those phone calls before I’ve even been elected, it’s a little bit shocking,” he said on Sept. 1 during a phone interview.
Additionally, the council hopeful identified a desire to help not only maintain but also strengthen relationships among Olds College as well as neighbouring municipalities and the county as his second-most priority.
Which leads into his third objective of wanting to be involved in efforts to develop a mutually beneficial regional economic development plan that creates win-win scenarios for all partners involved.
“Oil and gas has always been a major revenue source” for the county, he said.
“We’re getting to the point where we know we’re not going to be able to rely on that for much longer,” he said.
“I’d like to help steer the county in a direction where we can create some unique revenue sources, potentially for the long-term” as opposed to having all of the proverbial “eggs in one basket,” he said.
“I don’t want to be in the position where just automatically you go on to the average rate payers and say, ‘OK guys, oil and gas is drying up. Pay up!’ and then really hurting the farmers.”
Among some potential solutions, he suggested, is developing a comprehensive directory of all businesses in the county, which he feels could help encourage people who might not even know a certain service exists to hire local tradespeople.
Furthermore, Doyle said business parks throughout the county remain part empty and that more could be done to incentivize new entrepreneurs to set up shop.
“Business parks do pay good tax revenue in the long term, and maybe a short-term investment into that to encourage developers would add long-term value to the municipality as well,” he said.
Previously working with Netook Construction for more than 20 years, a family business once run by his dad that is now operated by his sister and her husband, Doyle said that background provided valuable experience on lease construction for oil and gas companies, reclamation projects, and building roads. Additional time spent sitting on the county’s economic development committee provided him with insight on related issues that he believes will benefit council’s decision-making process.
Asked his thoughts on provincial matters that many municipalities have voiced opinions on — namely the proposed provincial police force and separatist sentiments — Doyle said he feels Alberta needs to do what’s necessary to create leverage in negotiating with Ottawa.
“As an Albertan, I feel that we need to strengthen that position,” he said.
But he stopped short of endorsing independence.
“As far as my stance though on Canada and separation, I don’t agree with it. I think that Canada is stronger as a full nation,” he said. “I want to see Canada stay as Canada.”