Samantha Nickerson has put her name forward for town council and strives to build a whole community.
She says growth is inevitable and presents Cochrane with the challenge of ensuring we have the social programs and infrastructure in place to lead us into the future.
"There's the idea that we want to be a whole community, so we want to have a roof over everyone's head, everybody has food, everybody has access to things like WiFi, water, services, and transit. Those are all the key things that make a whole community," says Nickerson. "I think we're right there, but we can't lose sight of growth, and not let it get away from us. We have to really buckle down in the next four to eight years and do some work."
A resident of the Cochrane area for 13 years, she's a highly active volunteer with a wide range of organizations. She's the director of communications for the Cochrane Society for Housing Options, director with the Cochrane Monetary Foundation that oversees the Cochrane Dollar, president of the Sunset Ridge Community Association, and is a resident director of Sunset's homeowner association.
"I feel in the last couple of years I've really taken in a lot of Cochrane. I've sat on a lot of boards, and I've done a lot of volunteering. Now I feel like I understand how it all works together between administration and council and all the different layers of organizations in town. So, I figured this is the next step."
Nickerson sees herself as a community builder, whether online or in the community, and it will remain her driving force.
She points to many ways this can be accomplished, including innovation.
"I want to focus on Cochrane thinking about innovation entirely differently than just the word itself. We can all be innovators, and we're seeing that in businesses right now. Every time they change the restrictions, businesses have to change how they're doing things.
"So, I want to take that approach and start applying it to other things and creating partnerships between organizations that maybe haven't traditionally worked together to see how we can move the community forward. Right now, we have little pockets of people doing lots of good things, but I'd like to find some ways to innovate and bring them together so they can collaborate and really beef up the community."
She believes Cochrane needs a more robust nonresidential sector.
"I'd like to attract new businesses to town so that we can get the nonresident business tax growing so our citizens don't have to foot the bill. I think that's really important, too. We need to come at growth from all sides."
She believes we're at an important point in our history with the regional planning being developed by the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board (CMRB).
She understands some have expressed concern over Cochrane losing autonomy, but the alternative might be Calgary building to our doorstep. By working with the CMRB, she believes there's an opportunity to find solutions to prevent this from occurring.
She wants to help people understand what is happening in the community, and that when an item hits the town council's agenda, it's not the end of a conversation, it's just the beginning.
"I think it's important for people to realize that Cochrane is a good place and it's full of hard workers, but we need to ask more questions before we complain. I think the number one thing I want to focus on is just encouraging people to find the right answers, and asking for help when they don't understand what's going on."
"I hope to run my campaign on the partnership that I'm here to serve you, but you have to meet me halfway by asking the question."
Nickerson says her campaign will continue to evolve as the election draws closer.
There are now six declared candidates for the Oct. 18 municipal election.
Candidate nomination papers continue to be accepted by the town until 12 noon on Sept. 20.