High River Online
By Don McCracken
High River has a challenger for the mayor’s position on town council.
Local businessman Jeff Langford has stepped forward.
He’s interested in streamlining the process to get businesses up and running.
“I’ve had some dealings with the town on some development issues that I’ve had for my own property, and have been dealing with them on and off. But I’ve been engaged with the town on a number of different projects,” he says.
“I kind of have a good ear for what’s going on in town and what people are felling and how things are going with businesses etc, and I think it lent itself to me feeling that it was a good time probably for a change in High River.”
Langford points out he likes the members of council and counts many of them among his friends but feels the town needs to take some new steps going forward.
“One of my big priorities is development in town. We haven’t done too much in town in ways of business development, except for some work downtown. We’ve done that, but the community leaders downtown have had some meetings with me. They have some big concerns about promoting downtown and making it accessible to everybody.”
He says it can be harder to get planning and development done in the town than it is in Calgary and that changes can be made by sitting down with the planning and permitting department to improve service.
He’d like to see the $15 million earmarked for a pool expansion at the Rec-Plex, if approved through a non-binding referendum, go to a pool elsewhere.
“Anybody that’s done any type of construction work, [to] renovate an old building and add on to it, the construction costs usually go way higher than you forecast originally. But the other issue we have is it’s a smaller area.
“The county has offered and talked to the town about going in on a pool project. I think $15 million is better spent on a brand new centre even if it’s bordering the town and the county,” Langford says.
He also wants to see the town take some time to look over the Calgary Region Metropolitan Plan before giving it the go ahead.
“Unfortunately from what I’ve been told, and I’ve talked to other towns, I think it was poorly presented to the municipalities in explaining and being decisive of what they would do. A lot of stuff is left open to interpretation and mis-interpretation.
“Our council hasn’t attended most of the meetings, I know that and I think it’s a pretty important topic to miss,” he says.
“My bigger concern is we need some good definition from the province. Will our taxes go up?” he asks.
“The City of Calgary, will they control development in our area and tell us what to do?”
Langford is a member of the High River Rotary Club, the River City Classic Car Club, which was instrumental in bringing the Eamon’s Garage to the town, the Sunset Drive-In and is president of Sierra Energy Group Ltd.
He joins incumbent mayor Craig Snodgrass in the race for the top chair