Past mayor of Prince Albert Don Cody is re-entering the political ring by running for the Ward 4 city councillor seat in October’s municipal elections.
Cody is making the announcement official today, following an almost decade-long absence from council chambers after Jim Stiglitz captured the mayor’s seat by more than 300 votes during the 2003 civic election.
His first goal, if elected, will be to ask a lot of questions.
“There’s nothing wrong with asking questions,” Cody said of council’s role.
“There are times where you have to do some efficiencies. How efficient is the city? I don’t know that, but I intend to find out. How do we spend our money? I’m not sure, but I’ll find out.”
Cody moved to Prince Albert in 1982, building a home on the riverbank with his wife. He opened Buns Master Bakery, which he ran for a couple decades until shutting it down to focus on mayoral duties. He served the city as mayor for nine years, up to the 2003 election.
Prior to moving to Prince Albert, Cody served as an MLA and cabinet minister, first representing the riding Watrous and later Kinistino.
Cody now works as an arrangement specialist at the Prince Albert Memorial Gardens.
During his time as mayor, Cody lists a number of accomplishments — mainly infrastructure-related, he notes, including the construction of the provincial courthouse, the E. A. Rawlinson Centre, the Forestry Centre and major upgrades to the sewage treatment plant.
“At the same time, we had very little by way of tax increase,” he said, noting that a key reason for one increase was to reduce the city’s debt — something he said they were successful in doing.
It’s his nine years as mayor, keeping taxes low and producing lots with minimal outside funding available, that he said will benefit the city and the rest of council.
“I thought we had a pretty successful run for nine years, and I think that run will help me when I’m now going to be a councillor and trying to help the new mayor and council do their job and do the same kinds of things,” he said.
“We need to spend our money wisely, and you should not spend over your means.”
There are times where you have to do some efficiencies. How efficient is the city? I don’t know that, but I intend to find out. How do we spend our money? I’m not sure, but I’ll find out. - Past mayor of Prince Albert Don Cody
Although he’s quick to point out that he’s not saying the current batch of councillors have been doing a poor job, there are a few things he would have looked into more closely.
“I would have tried … not to have as many tax increases,” he said.
“Not to say that I could have done that, but I would have tried. That’s one of the things I think is important — that we need to be very vigilant with what we do with people’s tax dollars.”
Part of the puzzle will be adding more industry, and therefore jobs, to the area — specifically, jobs surrounding value added wood products.
“We can fly to the moon, fly to Mars, but we can’t do anything value added with wood? I can’t believe that,” he said.
“When you have industry, you have better taxation. I know when we had the pulp mill going here, that was a good source of the tax base.”
One potential barrier for Cody’s campaign will be a 2003 incident of drunk driving he was arrested for, while he was mayor of Prince Albert. He was convicted of the offence the following year, fined $600 and suspended from driving for one year.
Wishing the incident hadn’t happened and having apologized on “numerous occasions,” Cody said that he hopes the community will put the incident behind them, as he has tried to do.
“I’m just hoping, naturally, that isn’t going to be the focal issue. I’m here to do what I can do to help this city grow, get better, get safer and do what I think people want us to do — have a city that we can live in with not too much adverse taxation.”
Coun. Jayne Remenda currently serves Ward 4. Remenda confirmed this week that she will not seek re-election in October. So far, no other candidates have been announced for the ward.
The official nomination process will by open from Sept. 4 to Sept. 19. The civic election will take place Oct. 24, with advance polls being held sporadically during the two weeks prior.