More interviews with Red Deer City Council Candidates + Andrew’s How and Why (and a note about grammar).

Buch Buchanan, Red Deertwitter


Andrew Kooman: Two words: Bike Lanes. Let’s just get this Q out of the way. In my lifetime, I’ve never seen two words create so much conversation in the City. This is a 2-part question:  A) What was your position on the pilot project before it became a reality – were you for the pilot or not and why?

Buck Buchanan: Yes I was for the pilot and I believe it is/was the right thing to do, the concept for me is the right thing to do for the people of Red Deer, has it worked out as well as we had hoped not likely. Over 90% of the trips done in Red Deer at this time are single person vehicle trips, do we need to move this dial I feel absolutely we have to does this me soley biking no transit, walking or other modes of transport have to happen if we can shift this mentality only slightly we can save millions of dollars on infrastucture costs.

AK: B) What have you learned about the people of Red Deer and the political process through this project and what is your opinion on bike lanes now?

BB: I don’t know that this was a total learning regarding the Bike Lanes but People will choose to engage on there terms not yours, so no matter how hard or what you do to engage people they will engage when they are ready not when you want them to, and this certainly was the classic example of that. I am just pleased that people did choose to engage and help us to figure out what is good, what is bad and what needs to be changed, and we are still strying to figure out what needs to happen. I think the real learning for me was that we had (2) two places that issues and both of those locations were a result of School traffic so are the Bike Lanes the issue or is it how we are getting kids to school the issue. I had the Principal of the middle school suggest to me that if we as a Council wanted to do something for them at the school we would hut the corner of 39th street and 40th avenue down completly. He advised me that he has parents show up an hour before school is out to insure they get parking in front of the school and that if kids have to walk across the park to the east that they get complaints in the office the next day, so are the Bike Lanes the issue or is how we are getting kids to school the problem.

AK: The City has put much effort and resources into uncovering Red Deer’s true identity. What is Red Deer to you and what does the City have to offer the province in the next 100 years?

BB: Recently I was in Vancouver at the FCM (Federation of Canadian Municipalities) Conference and had lunch with two gentleman from Barrie Ontario in them seeing my name tag they said: “What is it about Red Deer that everyone seems to know about it” I replied that I’am not sure but that it is a great place to live, work and raise a family. I should know I have bounced around a lot of Canada in being raised in Manitoba, taking my high schooling in Regina, Saskatchewan and having been stationed in B.C., the NWT, Ontario and Alberta Red Deer is definetly one of the greatest places in Canada and I would even go one further and say North America. Recenlty at an Awards Dinner Dr. Cooper was being honoured with an award and he stated that: “Red Deer is a City of very giving people who are known for their Volunteerism” a bit of an ah-ha moment for me and I believe he is right on. I believe that in the next hundred years we will capitalize on our location and become an even greater powerhouse than what we are now on the National and International stage.

AK:  What do you think are the biggest challenges the City faces in the next four years and how do you propose to address them?

BB: I think our biggest challenges are our own limits, I have said many times that on one side of our faces we are beating our chests and saying we are the (3) third biggest city in Alberta and out of the other side of our faces we are saying we want to have our small sleepy little town, I think we have to bring both those concepts together so that we develop in to what we can and will become. Again our own fear of the unknown we are within a one and a half hour drive of over (3) three million people how are we going to manage the growth and the economics around this. to me we have to stretch our comfort levels to insure we do it right and get it right.


AK: What are you most proud of accomplishing or contributing to in your last term as a City Councillor?

BB: I am most proud of the partnerships and the relationships that have formed and developed, the College Downtown and the Donald School of Business, the relationship with our County Neighbours and the positive working relationship we have this was not always the case, we are now being used as an example around the Province as the way to do things regarding annexations and Inter-Municipal Development Plans, the addition that took place at the Westerner regarding expansion, the partnership at the new Curling Centre and the Pidherney’s coming on as a major sponsor, the Centennial Projects that were opened this year in the New Skate Park and the New Water Park and Bluegrass Sod Farms sponsoring this facility, our work with the Aboriginal Community to find and identify a location for a Housing and Cultural Centre, our initiatives around Homelesness and Housing again a model that Alberta has paid attention to. On a personal note my involvement with AUMA (Alberta Urban Municipalities Assoc.) on the Energy and Infrastructure Comm. if re-elected I plan on running for a Board position with AUMA.

AK: How a City helps to provide services to those in need and those who are vulnerable can make it a great municipality. How do you rate Red Deer in this regard: where is the City doing well and where can it improve?

BB: As the Co-Chair of United Way last year and again this year and as a sitting Board member of FCSS we have worked very hard to insure the Services we need are available no matter how much you raise or what you have you, always need more whether that be money or services. I think we are doing okay and I have worked to try to get the Funders Forum back up and running were you would have the major funders insuring that we are making it as easy as possilbe for the Services and Agencies to do there jobs. I think we need to get the 211 service initiated and implemented as soon as we can for the delivery of services within our Community.

AK: Vibrancy of the Arts can make a City remarkable, even inspirational. On a scale of 1 to Remarkable, where would you place Red Deer? What is your connection to the Arts and in your opinion how important are they to a thriving community?

BB: I think the Arts are critical to any Community and I think we have suceeded in some areas and failed in others we recently lost the Central Alberta Music Festival due to participation of patrons which is where we were at a few years ago with the Centerfest but with the help of a major sponsor that festival has new life, the Festivalle did well again this year and appears to be going stron and recently we just a lef of the tour of Alberta that was also a success. We did a major overhaul of the MAG and it seems to be doing very well, as a musician I think we can do better in the Arts and yet we seem to be holding our own the College Arts program is one of the few in Canada that is growing and yet I think we can do better.

AK:What qualities do you expect and hope for in the person who will be elected as Red Deer’s mayor?

BB: I hope the person is a strong Team Player who is very open to ideas and issues and is very transparent for the Community along with being very accesible.

AK: There will be a number of individuals elected to council for the first time in this election. If re-elected, what is your strategy for working well as a Council member for Red Deer’s best interest and what do you bring to the table as a team player?

BB: I think I am a strong Team Player and I bring that to the table as a Council we have to form relationships and truest and work with each other, I don’t think I have had an issue with this in the past and I hope to be able to do that again if re-elected. 

AK: As a councillor you are given an expense account of roughly 20,000 to attend City-related conferences and training each term. Through the expenditure of these funds, how have you used them to develop both personally and professionally in the last three years as a member of council?

BB: I have attended almost all the Conferences and have made relationships with other communites to the point where I am prepared to run for a position at AUMA. As stated earlier I sit on a sub-committee with AUMA regarding Energy and Infrastructure and have done so for the past (2) two years. As a rurban Community I have attend AAMDC (Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties) Conferences and have helped build that relationship with our County neighbours. I have also attend the FCM Sustainability Conference along with the Better Cities Conference all have made me better at my job as a Councillor.

AK: In the lead up to the last civic election I asked who you would like to emulate in life. In the future, when people consider your legacy as a person and as a public servant, what do you hope they will remember about you and want to emulate?

BB: I have always used my Dad as my measuring stick however this past June he passed away but he usually told what he thought was right or wrong and usually he was fairly close to what the general public was thinking, I would like to come up with some famous person but the first person tht came to mind was the best Boss I ever worked for in the RCMP and his philosphy was ” Treat People the way you want to be Treated” and I hope I do that and if I can maintain the simple rule I think our city will be a better place. I believe we are all in this game together and we have to work together to make it the best it can be for all of us.



More interviews with Red Deer City Council Candidates + Andrew’s How and Why (and a note about grammar).