The youngest candidate in this year’s civic election is also the one campaigning strongest for the community’s oldest citizens.
Seniors have a number of concerns that aren’t currently being addressed, Ward 2 candidate Joel Thiessen said, speaking to his central campaign point.
“I really want to create a seniors’ advisory council,” he said, adding that his main piece of inspiration was a senior citizen telling him that they’re afraid to go to the Cornerstone Shopping District.
“It kind of threw me off a bit, because Cornerstone’s the hub of what we do,” Thiessen said.
“What they saw isn’t a concern for me, but when you’re older things look a little differently, so I would like to make sure we’re taking proper care of our seniors.”
Thiessen, 23, recognizes the oddity of the youngest candidate campaigning on behalf of seniors’ needs, but it’s proven the most commonplace request among constituents — a need he plans on helping them meet.
“With a seniors’ advisory council we might be able to make a big difference for our seniors,” Thiessen said.
Though he lives in Ward 3, Thiessen said that Ward 2 — an area consisting of the city’s downtown as well as north of the North Saskatchewan River — attracted his attention.
What (seniors) saw isn’t a concern for me, but when you’re older things look a little differently, so I would like to make sure we’re taking proper care of our seniors. - Joel Thiessen, Ward 2 candidate
The Hazeldale area north of the river is of particular concern, he said.
“Some of the streets aren’t paved,” he said. “If you look around … it’s not the most beautiful place in our city. I think there’s a lot the city can do about that.”
Thiessen said that he’d also like to see the city expand northward — an area he cites as having relatively untapped potential.
Job creation and infrastructure are also important issues that deserve greater attention, he said.
Thiessen has spent most of his life in Prince Albert.
“I love this city,” he said. “I know that’s the typical answer … but it’s the true answer. I love Prince Albert.”
His candidacy is a few years in the making. He’d planned on running last time around, but by the time he’d adequately researched the issues at hand the nomination deadline had passed.
Ward 2 is currently served by Coun. Greg Dionne, who is running for the mayoral position. It is this election season’s most contested ward, with five candidates, including Thiessen, Chad Mogg, Rick Orr, Colleen Whitedeer and Peggi-Lynn Gatin.