Despite the official nomination date being close to a month away, mayoral candidate Gerald Aalbers has been quietly campaigning since April.
Aalbers has been living in Lloydminster for over a decade, and has gotten involved with numerous community organizations over that period, including the Lloydminster Heavy Oil Show and Lloydminster & District Fish & Game Association.
Prior to announcing his intentions to run for mayor, he had expressed frustrations with actions and inaction by City Council, on topics such as the City’s cancelled contract with AHHA Moments Inc. and the Lloydminster Utility Corporation proposal, which has been set aside by the municipal government.
““I’ve had a tough time getting answers,” Aalbers previously said in April.
“People keep telling me they’ve got the same problem, that they’ve asked questions, and the answers are not clear, concise, and appear to be straightforward, and they’d like that. That’s why I’ve decided to run for mayor, to try to be able to give people that transparency that they’re looking for,” Aalbers said.
Speaking on Wednesday with 106.1 The Goat, Aalbers said since declaring his intentions to run for the mayoral seat, he has been knocking doors around the community, in addition to speaking with residents at community events and in their workplaces about city issues.
“What people are asking me are ‘where do our taxes go, and how are they being spent?’, and I think it’s important that people get that information from City Hall, in various ways, and I’ll be talking about that during the election as one of the thoughts for materials going forward, in the campaign,” said Aalbers.
In addition to point about the spending of tax dollars, Aalbers said he had been hearing concerns about snow removal.
“I’d really like to get my head wrapped around with the council, if I get elected as Mayor, as to the giving direction to the city administration regarding snow removal,” said Aalbers.
“People pay taxes; we cut the grass sometimes twice a week, once a week in the city, and maintain the parks and do a beautiful job of it. City staff do a great job. What can we do differently on snow removal? It’s an age-old question, and it’s one of the challenges that we have, and I think that it’s going to need to be looked at one more time, and it’s going to be a work in progress.”
As for how he plans to conduct his campaign in the weeks ahead, Aalbers indicated he would be using social media to keep in touch with the public.
“I will try and keep people abreast on Facebook as to where I am campaigning,” said Aalbers.
“I’m going to try and get myself in the community more present, my job has kept me on the road a little bit more than I would like, but work is work, and when you’re in the oil and gas industry, as most people can relate, it’s a good thing if you still have a job, so I’m appreciative of that.”
He also planned on taking holiday time from work during the weeks leading up to Election Day.
Aalbers also said he had no issue with the current rules for the municipal election, part of which do not require candidates to disclose expenses and campaign contributions. He said he did not plan on spending a high amount of money.
“It’s not going to be extravagant, and I don’t suspect that there is going to be a huge pile of money spent by any one candidate that I can see right now, unless somebody really feels the need for it,” said Aalbers.
Nominations for mayor and council will open on September 6, and close on September 21. Once the nominations are closed, a full list of confirmed candidates will be released on September 22, and the election will take place on Wednesday, October 26, 2016.