A Foothills councillor with unfinished business is seeking her third term at the County table.
Delilah Miller announced her candidacy for Division 2 representative in the 2021 municipal election, after serving two terms on County council.
She said there has been some ground gained and accomplishments she’s proud of, like the traffic lights currently being installed at Highway 7 and 16 Ave., which she lobbied for over seven years on council.
But there is more work to be done.
“I’ve got lots of issues on the burner here that I’d like to see through to fruition,” said Miller. “Probably the most important is the CMRB and rural crime.”
The Calgary Metropolitan Region Board (CMRB) has been a bone of contention for the Div. 2 councillor since it began in January 2018 with the County’s membership mandated by the Province.
A regional growth plan was developed over the past three years with third-party consultants working with the 10 member municipalities: Calgary, Okotoks, High River, Cochrane, Strathmore, Chestermere, Airdrie, Rocky View County, Wheatland County and Foothills. The rural municipalities have banded together to vote against the plan, which is now before the minister of municipal affairs.
Miller initiated a petition against the CMRB and the growth plan in June for concerned residents to raise their voices, and she hopes the upcoming election will help bring the issue back up at neighbouring municipal councils.
“I’ve actually had some contenders for council reach out to me and say they wanted to learn more about the CMRB,” she said. “Some of them are well-versed in it and they already know a lot about it and they’ve voiced their opinion with me that they’ll support Foothills.
“This is very important and it will be going on for some time, and I would like to be around to continue fighting for it.”
In addition to the CMRB and growth plan, she said rural crime is a hot button issue that will permeate the next term, despite council making some headway during its last term.
“Rural crime is always a big concern and it’s going to rear its ugly head again I’m sure, now that everybody is back to work and our places are being left unattended,” said Miller.
She’d like to push for a different policing model, because the current solution dedicates two officers to the entire Foothills region, which she said is inadequate, especially since the County is paying $1 million for this year and next, and will be on the hook for $2 million per year by 2023.
At least two more officers should be added to the rural-focused branch of the RCMP, she said. At this point, she said the County is paying more for two officers than it did previously for three under the enhanced policing program.
“I would like to go back to some kind of model similar to that,” said Miller. “There’s still not an adequate number of boots on the ground for me. They promised us 300 and we’re nowhere near that for Alberta.”
It’s an issue she looks forward to continue bringing forward to the Province, in addition to the regional waterline, a joint project with the Town of Okotoks.
The Province has backed away from funding the majority of the project, she said, which means both municipalities will be forced to cough up more than anticipated.
“That’s a huge cost to our taxpayers, especially for Okotoks,” said Miller. “Foothills is probably more manageable at about $10 million, but Okotoks at $30 million is a pretty big hit to their residents.”
On top of those costs, the price of doing business under the CMRB’s proposed regional growth plan could also hit the municipal coffers hard, she said.
There could be a transit system and economic development strategies investigated in the near future, all of which will come with a price tag, she said.
“All those things cost money, and that will end up being borne by the municipalities,” said Miller. “I want to continue to lobby against these Provincial costs.”
She will also be lobbying in favour of some projects that haven’t been able to get in the ground yet, like the anticipated overpass at Highway 2 and 338 Ave.
“That’s a really dangerous intersection and as Okotoks continues to grow there’s going to be more pressure on that area, so that’s certainly something that’s coming down the pipe,” said Miller.
Other items she would like to pursue in another term are pressing the Province to establish a recycling program for solar and green energy, and working with communications companies and the federal government to solve internet connectivity issues, particularly in the west country, without installing towers that disturb neighbouring residents.
After two terms, she said the learning curve has been navigated and now the hard work can really get underway.
“I feel like I’m finally starting to make headway on some projects that are important to my residents and important to me,” said Miller.