Incumbent Sandra Melzer is seeking a second term for Division I of the M.D. of Lesser Slave River.
“I really enjoyed the last four years,” she says. “It’s very interesting at council, the different points that come across.”
When she ran four years ago, she had already been connected with all of the clubs in Flatbush area – ladies club, the legion, etc.
“I wanted to represent my area,” she says. “I sat on the Ag Service Board for eight to 10 years. I’ve always enjoyed learning new things. I wanted to see the rural community thrive.”
Melzer grew up in Westlock. At 25, she got married and moved to a farm two miles north of Flatbush. For the last 32 years, Melzer and her husband, Dedi, have a cow-calf farm there. They have two grown sons.
Melzer is basically retired, but ran a hair salon out of her home for many years.
A lot of things have changed over the last 30 years. Now the only school in the M.D. is Smith School. Melzer thinks that the M.D. needs more industry, so there are more jobs in the area. Also, the Smith School is a priority.
“You have to make sure that school stays there,” says Melzer. “If you can keep jobs, you can keep schools.”
Melzer also wants to improve council’s relationship with community groups.
In the next term, Melzer wants to work toward council being “more supportive of community groups in our areas,” she says. “We need to do a better job.”
The involvement of kids and community members as volunteers had decreased over the years, she adds. This is partly because of rules and regulations.
Over the last four years, Melzer has learned that as a councillor “you’re one voice in seven,” she says. This means working together. Also, the M.D. is involved in many different aspects of life from waste to supporting seniors and health.
Some of the responsibilities of the M.D. used to be handled by the province, says Melzer. For example, the M.D. funds Gentle Ben, which supports seniors in Smith area, but the province used to provide most of the funding. The M.D. also has to pay a portion of policing costs now.
Another issue on Melzer’s agenda is aging roads, culverts and other infrastructure.
The province built the roads about 50 years ago, says Melzer. “They’re not looking after them.”
This puts a financial strain on the M.D.
“We have to be fiscally responsible,” says Melzer. “It has to be balanced.”
The final focus in Melzer’s campaign is being accessible.
“Nobody has phoned me and not got a return phone call,” she says.
Melzer’s campaign consists of signs, pamphlets, social media, and the M.D. candidate forum.
“Locally, people know me,” she says.