Jessica Maurice has lived in and around Okotoks since she was a child. She’s also a small business owner. You’ll find Gus’s Pet Resort at 107 Stockton Point in town. She decided to enter the election mainly due to the lack of diverse housing options for people of different income levels, needs and the next generation.
“I have seen the lack of affordable housing significantly affect my staff, especially the young ones who could not afford to move out of their parents’ homes in Okotoks. As a parent, I want to know that our children will have options to stay and live in this community after high school, but right now it seems they are forced to leave because we haven’t set this town up to help them succeed.” Says Maurice. “I made the decision to run earlier this year because I want to see this problem fixed for our youth.”
Maurice’s interest in politics stem back to when she was a teenager involved with provincial and federal conservative parties. Today her involvement also includes being the Vice President of the Foothills Conservative Electoral District Association and speaking in Ottawa as a witness at the National Committee on Security about rural crime.
She discusses the top points from her platform:
“Affordable housing; particularly for young people in their late teens and 20s who can’t afford to move out of their parents’ homes without leaving town. Young people are forced to leave our community because of lack of housing, and employers are forced to bring staff in from neighbouring towns to work in the retail/service sector. To solve this will take some time, but I believe we should be working with area developers, builders, and investors to design our new neighbourhoods with diverse housing options, to build rent-ready housing including multi-family units, and continuing to work with Westwinds on their various affordable housing initiatives.
“Economic development will help attract corporate investment to town and will increase the commercial tax base, thereby decreasing the tax load on residents and create job opportunities for residents to work locally.
“Intentional growth; the Town has annexed enough land for the next 60 years. It’s important to me that the growth is strategic with community design, programming and support to maintain the connections that are key to Okotoks.
“Fiscal responsibility, because as we move forward into post-pandemic recovery for businesses and governments, I think it’s prudent to ensure we are diligent about evaluating expenses critically and ensuring we are being responsible with our financial management going forward. I’d say I’m fiscally conservative and in this economic circumstance, and that is going to be important moving forward.”
The water issue is also a concern for Maurice. “Water is pressing, and the previous council has done some great work finally getting a plan in place, so I’d like to work with Foothills County to push that to the finish line and get the pipeline completed.”
Ultimately, she would like to see Okotoks develop into a community where people can live, work and play, and be less of a bedroom community of people commuting to the city for work. “That will positively impact the life balance of the residents and support our business community, because when people work locally they’ll spend their money at local businesses,” she adds.
Maurice concludes, “I love the community events and programs that Okotoks offers. They help to maintain the small town feel, yet we still have access to so many amenities. Okotoks is going to continue growing, and it’s time for us to decide how we want the town to evolve. With only one incumbent running again, it’s a chance at fresh ideas and innovation.”