A Foothills resident with an entrepreneurial spirit is eager to work alongside motivated colleagues at the council table.
Janet Andrusiw is running for election in the County’s Div. 7, and said she took time to reflect before submitting her nomination to ensure she would bring something new to the table.
“I think the newness is the fresh ideas,” said Andrusiw. “There’s only three seats that may turn over on council, and I think breathing new life into council every few years, leaving some seats carried over with an incumbent and they can bring the learning along and then new voices at the table to challenge ideas and see things differently.”
She said having healthy debate on important issues to ensure the best outcome for the County and its residents is what she looks forward to.
“I think it’s really amazing, the very real impact seven citizens sitting around a table can have on our region and I would love to be a part of that,” said Andrusiw.
Council’s work in its last term on secondary suites was one issue that caught her attention, and Andrusiw said the initiative could go a little further to increase affordable housing in the municipality.
Currently the suites are limited to parcels of two acres or larger, but that should be reviewed, she said.
“I’m thinking there are a lot of homes, especially in Div. 7, that are on two acres or less, that should also have an opportunity to be able to have a secondary suite,” said Andrusiw. “I think affordable housing is going to be a huge issue in this region going forward.”
Another top issue for her is the transportation network and continuing to advocate for solutions to Highway 2 and the dangerous intersections that provide access to Okotoks.
As a resident nestled between Highway 2 and Highway 2A, Andrusiw said she has a front-row seat to the dangers.
“I see first-hand all of the growth in Okotoks and how that’s impacting the amount of traffic coming through,” she said. “I think managing that is really important.”
The Calgary Metropolitan Region Board (CMRB) is ripe with issues as well, she said, adding she would like to join the council team in fighting the regional growth plan.
It’s premise was unfair to rural municipalities and was skewed, she said.
“We certainly are not and don’t want to be just an area that is simply the land beside a highway that goes north and south,” said Andrusiw. “Foothills has so much more to offer than that.”
The structure of the CMRB is also questionable, with the City of Calgary holding the veto vote.
“Three of the rural municipalities were actually against (the growth plan) and yet it still went forward to the government for approval,” said Andrusiw. “In my opinion, that indicates the weight of the voting power is driven by Calgary.”
The local economy is also something the next council will have to address, she said, adding agritourism and other non-residential development will be key in the coming years to see economic success, she said.
It’s the right time to explore tourism opportunities, because they help bring money in the door and keep costs lower for residents, she said.
“Consumers, especially with COVID and people just wanting to break away from their regular routines, we have such a great opportunity,” said Andrusiw. “There’s a local winery, or businesses, or distilleries you can tour, farm-to-table operations.
“We have one million people living just to the north of us, a very short distance for daytrips for first-time visitors or repeat visits, and I think it’s an excellent opportunity.”
It’s a chance for people to generate additional income for their own farms and families while also contributing to the overall success of the County, she said.
A business sense is something Andrusiw said she brings to the table, which is important for a municipality operating on an $80-million annual budget.
She said leadership and teamwork experience are also important to bring issues to council and administration or work with boards and committees.
“I think every representative at that table should be collaborative and well-versed with working as part of a team,” said Andrusiw. “I never expect to agree with everyone on every issue, but I would definitely respect their ideas and learn from their experience, and accept all the outcomes, whatever they may be.”