Hello residents of Legal, my name is Mark Veenstra and I was born and raised in Legal. I am pleased to announce my first-time candidacy for Legal Town Council. I continue to reside in Legal and hope to raise my family here as my parents did.
My education includes a diploma in Renewable Resources from NAIT, and a Bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Alberta. I have extensive knowledge on how to best utilize and conserve resources and our environment. I also have over 10 years of experience within the oil and gas industry and am currently starting a new job on the Keyera KAPS Pipeline System just outside of Legal and the surrounding area. During my free time I enjoy hunting and fishing. I am also an avid beekeeper.
QUESTION 1: What motivated you to put your name forward for public service?
I was born and raised in Legal, just across the street from the church. My parents and younger siblings still live there. I had the wonderful opportunity to grow up when Legal was the place to raise a family, retire and open up a small business. I was and still am very proud to tell people where I come from. I want to restore Legal back to it's former glory and propel it to future prosperity. And I believe I am able to assist in this.
QUESTION 2: What is your experience with Governance Boards?
My experience with Governance Boards has been as an observer. I have been fortunate enough to see our previous council do good things for this town. Unfortunately there have been some missteps as well, such as the improper consultation associated with switching our garbage services to GFL. Although there were reasons for this change, I feel the council had failed to listen to it's constituents and this is yet another reason I have decided to run for council. If elected I would always take into account what the citizens want and work in a way that honours the responsibility that has been entrusted in us as elected officials. I also feel that my inexperience in Governance Boards will be an asset as I will be bringing an unbiased viewpoint to Council.
QUESTION 3: How familiar are you with the roles and responsibilities of Council?
I am quite familiar with roles and responsibilities of Council. I have had family members and close friends that have served for this town and other communities. I have spoken to them in length prior to putting my hat in the ring. I have also spoken to them throughout this campaign to ensure that my ideas and plans for our town are feasible, and I have only been met by positive response.
QUESTION 4: What are your goals and aspirations for Town of Legal?
I have many goals and aspirations for Legal. Some include increasing social programs for all ages, expanding the outdoor skating areas, advocating for an ambulance service, as well as faster internet and transit services in town. I also plan to cut the red tape for businesses, to help attract small business to Legal, which will promote job creation. Furthermore, my education background is in Environmental Studies so I plan to help decrease our town's environmental footprint.
QUESTION 5: What do you envision for the Town of Legal in the next 4 years and how would you achieve that?
One of my major dreams for Legal for the next four years is to have an ambulance service. I understand the difficulties faced by the council almost ten years ago when it was lost and also how hard they tried to rectify the situation. I also am not discounting the hardwork of our Fire Service. However there is no replacement for trained EMS personal. I plan to advocate the provincial government and AHS strongly on behalf of our citizens to make sure we receive the healthcare our people have a right to. I know that this will not be easy, but nothing worth getting is, and there is no substitute when it comes to ones health and therefore I plan to work on this diligently until I get the solution we all deserve.
QUESTION 6 - You have set out several new electoral promises for the Town and Council. Have you costed these new ideas and what they will mean to our taxes?
I have considered the monetary logistics for all of my goals and aspirations for our community. I realize that Legal taxes are among the highest in Alberta, and I have no inclination to raise them as I feel that our current funds can be redistributed in such a way that we can allow for my plans to take place. If elected I hope to evaluate and find opportunities to prioritize and adjust our budget and/or find efficiencies. I will also recommend pursuing grant programs that are available for off-setting the social and economical impacts of COVID, improving parks and recreation, and those available for municipalities who wish to operate more sustainably. I cannot promise that all of my proposals will go through, however I will do my utmost to pursue as many ideas as I can in order for our town to prosper.