The UCP government has been letting down Cochrane and Airdrie by not properly investing in public infrastructure to help alleviate issues arising from rapid growth, believes Shaun Fluker, Airdrie-Cochrane NDP candidate.

He believes it's the UCP's lack of support for infrastructure that is forcing property taxes to rise at a rapid rate and allowing our schools to continue to be overcrowded.

Fluker drew a crowd for a kickstart event on July 9 at the Ranche Clubhouse that included Marlin Schmidt, NDP Edmonton - Gold Bar MLA,  and Kathleen Ganley, Calgary - Mountain View MLA.

Provincewide, he says the UCP is allowing the health care system and EMS to crumble, and its fumblings have been driving away traditionally conservative voters.

"There are certainly people out there who tend to vote conservative and my observation is there's a real hesitancy on their part because the UPC government has not given their supporters a lot to be proud of. That's the sense I'm getting at the doors.

"The Alberta NDP represents a unified voice and is a government-in-waiting that will work to address the issues that matter to people who live in Cochrane and Airdrie."

He says rapid growth in communities like Cochrane and Airdrie requires the provincial government to step up to the plate.

"Everyone here agrees Cochrane and Airdrie are experiencing exponential growth because they're great places to live. With that comes the need to invest in public infrastructure."

Instead, he says the government has been drastically cutting back on funding.

"That leads to big hikes in property taxes because that's the only way the town can raise money. They wouldn't have to do that if the current government wasn't taking municipal funding levels in Cochrane and Airdrie back to 2015 levels, notwithstanding the fact that both communities have been facing exponential growth."

He believes Rocky View Schools shouldn't have to be pleading with the UCP government for more K to 12 schools when it's evident they're already overcrowded and that student populations are continuing to grow rapidly.

Fluker says the crowd was enthusiastic at the kickstart.

"One of the surprises was that people wanted to not only volunteer but be very active in the riding association. It's a really good sign. There are a lot of people here who are looking to help us in the campaign."

Fluker and guestsTwo NDP MLAs participated in Fluker's campaign startup event on July 10. From left, Tony Bennett, riding assoc. policy chair, riding co-chair Jessica Salkeld, Calgary-Mountain View MLA Kathleen Ganley, Shaun Fluker, and Edmonton - Gold Bar MLA Marlin Schmidt.