Preserving agriculture and a strong voice for the County on a regional level are priorities for a Foothills councillor seeking re-election.
Rob Siewert, representing Div. 1, said there are a number of initiatives underway he would like to continue working on.
“I want to do my part in seeing these through and making positive change,” said Siewert.
Some of the projects include bringing water and wastewater services to the industrial corridor on Highway 2A and the Aldersyde area, as well as the joint regional waterline with Okotoks.
There has been headway made on attracting business to the industrial corridor and he said there is more to come.
“We’ve made some positive change there to improve processes and help businesses along where it’s easier to set up within Foothills County,” said Siewert.
He said thoughtful discussion and amendments to the land-use bylaw were a big part of that change, and he was pleased to see that through.
While residential development is not common in Div. 1, which is largely agricultural, he said the development county-wide is of utmost importance.
That includes industrial and commercial opportunities, which he said could be limited by the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board and its growth plan.
“We need to continue to lobby for changes to the CMRB,” said Siewert. “The way the CMRB is currently set up, it really puts the brakes on any business or commercial or industrial development throughout Foothills County.
“We need to continue to push back against that, and the CMRB’s desire to control all future development within the County.”
Water is an important issue in the County, not only in terms of partnering with Okotoks on the pipeline from the Bow River, but also in providing water and wastewater services to hamlets like Blackie, Cayley and Aldersyde, which are all located in Div. 1.
The County is working hard to reduce the costs of providing water and wastewater services, he said.
“Basically just providing more customers, so that includes our industrial corridor, that includes work with Okotoks and new development,” said Siewert.
After four years on council, he said he’s well-poised to see through the projects on the go and continue working for County residents.
The first term allowed him to dive into issues and form relationships with people at the Provincial and local levels, which can help move initiatives forward in the next term, he said.
His next goal is to lobby for the agriculture industry, which has suffered a blow with drought in 2021 and previous years.
“Some areas of the County have experienced mild drought for several years now, and this past year was exceptional,” said Siewert. “There are certain policy pieces that come into play with that, and we need to continue lobbying to the Province for various items related to drought.”