As a single mom, Colleen Whitedeer said that she knows the challenges that face families in Prince Albert.
As such, the Ward 2 candidate’s key campaign focus is making the community more inclusive to everyone, regardless of one’s financial situation.
“My focus is on community — community involvement, building families and people, because if you have healthy families, you have young people who go out into the workforce,” she said.
The Alfred Jenkins Field House is a central point of contention.
“I think it was created for certain people with money — first of all, it’s way up there,” she said of its position in the city’s southwest corner. “For people without vehicles, it’s difficult to get there.
“The price for a membership — who can honestly afford that? … It’s not affordable for a lot of families.”
City council plays an important role in ensuring such facilities are more available to the public — be it through greater subsidies, outside funding or another means, she said.
“There are so many families out there struggling with the high cost of rent and just the cost of living has gone up, too.
“Just having more programs that are affordable for youth, for seniors, for elders … Everyone should have access to that.”
As for issues specific to the ward she hopes to represent in council chambers, the city’s downtown area is currently lacking in things for families to do, she said.
The Bernice Sayese Centre provides some programs, but is limited in its scope.
The city should invest more in community-centred programs, Whitedeer said.
The city’s downtown core, which suffers from image problems, needs to be made more attractive to the public, she said, adding that crime isn’t as big an issue as some candidates have made it out to be.
My focus is on community — community involvement, building families and people, because if you have healthy families, you have young people who go out into the workforce. - Colleen Whitedeer, Ward 2 candidate
“I go down there a lot. I walk down there. I see people, who are doing their own things … but nobody’s out to bug people or try to hurt people. It’s just this perception — this old perception out there.”
Whitedeer is printing off campaign brochures and has already started her door-knocking campaign.
“Right now, city council I see not focusing on problems,” she said. “It’s time for change; Prince Albert needs change in the area.
“Everybody — we’re all living in the same city … why can’t we enjoy the same benefits — just building more affordable programs.”
Whitedeer spent a large portion of her childhood in Prince Albert. A few years after graduating from Carlton Comprehensive High School, she moved away from the city, coming back last year.
Although she doesn’t currently live in Ward 2, she holds a lot of history in the area.
“I grew up in the area, so I’m familiar with (it), and I jog in the area almost every day,” she said. “One of my routes is going down there and I can see how it’s changed and the things that I would like to see happen.”
Ward 2 consists of the area between 10th Avenue West and Third Avenue East, from the North Saskatchewan River south to 19th Street West, minus a few blocks in its southeast corner. The ward also makes up all city land north of the North Saskatchewan River, as well as the city’s southeast corner.
Greg Dionne, who is running for the mayoral position, currently serves Ward 2. The ward has proven the most contested this election, with five candidates. In addition to Whitedeer, Chad Mogg, Rick Orr, Joel Thiessen and Peggi-Lynn Gatin are running as candidates.