BOWDEN — Robb Stuart intends to run for a third term as mayor in this fall’s civic election, unless something unexpected, like health concerns, derail that plan.
During an interview, Stuart said he plans to run for the job again “unless my health fades.”
Back in January, he said he was about 70 per cent sure he’d run again.
Stuart, who was raised in Bowden, was first elected as mayor in 2010.
Prior to that, he served as a town councillor for six years.
This year’s municipal election takes place Oct. 18. The next council’s four-year term will expire in 2026.
There are seven seats on Bowden council. One for the mayor and six councillors’ seats.
Nominations for mayor or councillors can be filed from now until Sept. 20, according to the Alberta government’s municipal elections website.
Stuart said he has no particular project or agenda he’d like to see completed during council’s next term. He just likes serving the community.
“I don’t have a set agenda. To me, I’m a penny-pincher and that’s what I do. I try to get the best results I can for the least amount of money," he said with a laugh. "Sometimes council agrees with me and sometimes they don’t.”
Stuart said he’s hoping that several people will run for each of the seven positions on council – including the mayor’s chair.
“I think people should have a choice. And if you’re not happy with me, then hopefully somebody else (will run),” he said.
“To me, it’s almost like volunteering. You put in the time – you get paid for it rather than volunteer – but it’s for the good of the community.”
What he hopes doesn’t happen though, is that people run for a seat on council for their own personal concerns or issues rather than for the greater good of the community.
Stuart agreed that one misconception is that you can run a municipality like a business.
“You take tax dollars and you subsidize things, like the arena. You’ll always lose money,” he said. “And you know, you subsidize the library and stuff like that. And it’s good, right? Your tax dollars get re-invested.”
But Stuart said some recreational services are just too costly to justify in a town as small as Bowden. He cited the splash park and pool in Olds as two examples.
Despite the onset of COVID, the last couple of years have seen a bit of a building boom in Bowden, Stuart indicated.
He noted that a Chevron gas station and convenience store were constructed on the former rest stop land along Highway 2 and a Tim Hortons restaurant, Mexican restaurant, gas bar and convenience store are currently being constructed just north of there.
“Maybe people are actually going to knock on our door, for a change and they can see Bowden is up and coming,” he said.
One hit with residents has been the decision to have 184 metres of sidewalk replaced along 20th Street as well as specially graded sidewalk access created in four places by the Westview Manor seniors facility. The project, undertaken by Collins Concrete of the Olds/Bowden area, was completed about two weeks ago at a cost of about $40,000.
Stuart said a crumbling portion of that sidewalk, near the town shop, hadn't been replaced since he was a kid.
"It was un-maintainable; crumbling and falling apart," chief administrative officer Greg Skotheim said. He noted the sidewalk stopped at one point. Now it's one continuous piece.
Stuart said one thing he’s grateful for is the collegial attitude among staff and councillors in Bowden.
"Every once in a while we do have a little issue, say in council, and then I read in your paper, I realize how lucky we are with just a sporadic little debate, instead of some of the cut-throat stuff (that occurs in other communities),” he said.