The city’s mayoral race is well underway, with three candidates entering their nomination paperwork in time for Wednesday’s deadline.
All three campaigns, including incumbent Jim Scarrow and candidates Greg Dionne and Dean Link, are planned to increase in intensity leading up to the Oct. 24 election date.
The first to erect campaign signs was Greg Dionne, who alongside his truck covered in campaign decals, began advertising his candidacy in March.
“To me, it’s just part of the overall campaign package,” he said of signage. “You’re letting people know that you’re out there and working hard.
“Lots of time in elections it’s name recognition … It shows that I’m committed.”
Dionne plans on taking some time off work in the coming weeks to tie off his door-to-door campaign — an effort he started a few months ago in hopes of hitting up every residence in the city by the Oct. 24 election date.
Campaign signs are going up this weekend endorsing candidate Dean Link as mayor of Prince Albert — first on supporters’ lawns and later on in boulevards and public spaces.
Although he’s distributing campaign signs, he remains skeptical of their impact.
“I don’t think they’re as important as people think,” he said, noting that people appear to be more interested in the issues than anything else.
With door-to-door campaigning difficult given an electorate of the entire city, Link has taken to meeting with groups and making random phone calls into the community.
“I make sure I’m out and about as much as possible,” he said.
For mayoral incumbent Jim Scarrow, campaigning is an ongoing process.
“I’ve never stopped campaigning — that’s why people can call me at any time or get a hold of me,” he said.
“I speak for all members of the population and I’m accessible all of the time.”
This includes moments of community crisis, he added, including the likes of the recent Diefenbaker bridge issues, this year’s boil water order and power outage.
“I run to the sounds of the cannon,” he said. “I think my community skills were handy in all of these as well.”
Though always campaigning, like the other candidates, Scarrow plans on intensifying things in the coming weeks.
I’ve never stopped campaigning — that’s why people can call me at any time or get a hold of me. - Mayor Jim Scarrow
“It’ll be an aggressive campaign,” he said, complete with a door-to-door campaign, campaign signs and making himself available as much as possible to the constituents.
Candidates’ top issues
For Link, the No. 1 issue brought up among constituents so far has been concerns of safety.
“People don’t feel safe in this city,” he said, adding that it’s a cross-section of people that feel unsafe in the city.
These concerns consist of some things real and other things perceived, Link added.
His first big meeting will be with Prince Albert Police Service Chief Troy Cooper, with whom he said he already has a rapport.
“He’s an excellent chief and I intend to sit down with him and strategize.”
The top campaign issue for Dionne is economic development.
“Everyone benefits from growth,” he said, noting that he was sad to see Prince Albert’s rate of growth in recent years exceeded by the provincial average.
With the city in need of more light industrial development, he said that a key focus will be attracting more.
“Bridge, bridge, bridge — everywhere I go!” Scarrow said of the No. 1 issue brought to his attention.
The Diefenbaker bridge has been a key topic of discussion since last year, when a crack was found on one of its girders. With various repairs ongoing, the goal now is to get provincial and federal funding for a second North Saskatchewan River crossing at or near the city.
“Everywhere I go, it’s the bridge … Other than that, it could be the roadways.”
People are happy with what they’ve seen at the intersection of 15th Street and Sixth Avenue West, work Scarrow hopes to see more of in this and future terms.
Gearing up for the mayoral race, the Prince Albert and District Chamber of Commerce has scheduled a mayoral candidate forum for Wednesday, Oct. 17 at the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library Auditorium at 6:30 p.m.
The forum will be free to attend and is open to the general public.