The race is on!

By Geoff Lee

April 12, 2016 6:00 AM

Gerald Aalbers launched his candidacy for mayor of Lloydminster at a press conference outside City Hall Thursday. Municipal elections will take place Oct. 26. Aalbers is the first to offically declare his candidacy.

Gerald Aalbers for mayor?
The Lloydminster resident is already campaigning for the office of mayor in the Oct. 26 municipal election on a platform of greater transparency.
Aalbers held a news conference outside City Hall Thursday to officially announce his candidacy.
“I want to make a difference in the city,” he said.
“I want to provide clear and open and transparent answers to you as your next mayor.”
Aalbers said he’s fed up with what he called the inadequate answers he’s been getting from city officials on key issues noted in his press kit letters.
The correspondence deals with the city’s past contract with AHHA Moments Inc. owned by former Mayor Jeff Mulligan, the proposed $73.8 million Lloydminster Utility Corporation (LUC) and the recent purchase of Husky lands, among other topics.
Aalbers said in some cases, the answers never address the questions asked.
In other cases, he said he’s received a response that the issue was closed and the city is moving forward.
“There are still letters at city hall waiting for an answer and the people who have the answers are behind me,” said Aalbers, who announced his candidacy while standing by the Hope Statue.
“As a resident and taxpayer, I believe we should receive relevant and direct answers to our questions the first time.”
Aalbers is calling for a public meeting to fully address all questions and concerns about the proposed LUC that’s one of the largest infrastructure projects in city history.
The proposed LUC between the city and Epcor would be co-owned to fund a new waste water treatment facility to comply with the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency’s new effluent water quality standards.
The LUC would provide long-term funding for $500 million of future water distribution and sewer gathering utility projects.
“I ask the residents of Lloydminster to join me in calling for an open and public meeting about only the LUC to be held during an evening and not during the day privately,” said Aalbers.
He is encouraging the city to commit to disclosure and transparency to host another Your Voice night forum to deal with the LUC.
“The format that would be meeting the needs of Lloydminster taxpayers would be a presentation of details followed by a question and answer forum,” he said.
Aalbers is a corrosion and integrity specialist for Tervita Corp. who will give up his job if he’s elected mayor.
He’s been active in Lloydminster since he and his wife Christine moved to the city in 2005 with their now three adult age children.
Most notably,  he’s a board member on the 2016 Lloydminster Heavy Oil Show and is an active member of the Lloydminster Oilfield Technical Society.
He said he’s passionate about people from his work with local organizations like Habitat for Humanity and wants to make a difference.
Aalbers said his qualifications to be mayor come from working with people around the world in various jobs.
“I’ve worked with some Fortune 500 companies that has given me some great training and great exposure — great experience working with people,” he said.
He said he believes a mayor is someone who is there to help lead us and set the example.
“I’ve got those leadership skills that I can bring forward to help move the city forward and resolve those issues that we’re here about today,” he said.
“I think we live in a great city, there’s no question and all I hope to do is make things better,” he said.
“The biggest thing I hear from people is the lack of confidence in what is happening at city hall,”  said Aalbers.
“When we’re talking about spending $73 million — no matter where that money comes from — we have transparency that the money’s being spent in the best possible way.
“That’s the biggest challenge I see is that we got to open the doors to city hall, open the doors to city council and open the doors to the answers that people get.”
Current Mayor Rob Saunders has indicated his intention to seek re-election with more than six months to go before voters go to the polls to choose a candidate.
Aalbers said he wanted to declare his candidacy early because people have been asking him if is going to to do it for over a month.
“I’ve got six months now to start knocking on doors and hopefully, people will say
I’ve heard about you, I’ve read about you,’ ” said Aalbers.
“It’s all part of the recognition factor.”

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