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Community growth and affordable housing key pillars for Remfert campaign

Posted on August 31, 2023 by Taber Times

By Trevor Busch
Taber Times
editor@tabertimes.com

Business owner and police commissioner Dan Remfert has deep roots in Taber and wants to give back to the community he loves.

Remfert is seeking election as a councillor in the upcoming Town of Taber by-election on Sept. 7. Three generations of his family have been owner/operators of the historic Royal Hotel on 53 Street, and Remfert is continuing that long-standing tradition.

“I grew up in Taber, I’m volunteering with the Taber Police Commission for the last five years, minor hockey president for the last five or six years. I enjoy community service,” said Remfert. “I’d be the third generation in the hotel, we’ve owned it since June 1976 being part of the business community. The first five years of my life, I lived in this building in the Royal. I learned to ride my bike here. So just the love of the community, love of Taber, I never had a plan to move. I’ve got kids in the town, two children, my family. We’ve been in business here for 50 years in 2026. You know, 50 years is a long time – 47 as of right now – but there’s not many small businesses I think that have been owned by a family for that long. I’m just hoping to better the community.”

Becoming a police commissioner gave Remfert the confidence to believe he might have something to offer to the wider community.

“I was approached by Graham (Abela, TPS chief) to be part of the Taber Police Commission. And it’s been a lot of fun, that structure and I have figured that council would be close to that involvement in things to better Taber. So the more I can be involved in, I think it’s beneficial.”

Affordable housing and more rental properties in Taber is a key issue Remfert has identified through conversations with residents.

“We have some housing issues I see. I’m constantly asked, ‘Is there places to rent?’ Right now most guys are McCain’s, Lamb-Weston and stuff like that. Our vacancy rate is zero. And being here with the business and talking to people I see that that is a real need in town,” said Remfert, who went on to note his involvement with a low cost housing initiative in Lethbridge which illustrated for him that there needs to be buy-in from the province and federal government for projects to succeed. “I think housing is a big thing. With that, our population would grow, which is good to keep property tax down, the more people we have the less everything’s going up. So expanding the town will only help keep property tax lower. Right now I think housing is the biggest thing.”

“I know in building low cost housing in Lethbridge, it’s not cheap. And you gotta lean on the taxpayer, and you lean on the provincial and you lean on federal to look to provincial and federal support for housing, not just us. It’s a Town of Taber issue. But, you know, we’re all Canadians, so there’s money out there.”

On the side of recreation, Remfert touched on the idea of another ice surface for the community.

“I think we have really put stuff in. It’s worked with Trail 77. We’ve done the skate park, the community has really kept up spending money for the town to have some recreational stuff. I’d like to see that keep going, and maybe we have another ice surface. And more housing, so we can become a city. I’d rather be a councillor of the City of Taber, than council of the Town of Taber.”

Remfert is a supporter of further downtown revitalization.

“There’s a lot of diversity now. So we’ve got to really embrace that diversity in town, a more vibrant downtown, the small businesses thriving. It’s tough. I drive around town, and, you know, what’s a small business? There’s not too many anymore. I’m glad to see some investment with the restaurant here, the liquor store so there is people supporting people that are wanting to keep the small business of Taber going.” 

Remfert praised present Town leadership on council.

“Working with council as a president of Taber Minor Hockey and working with council being on the Taber Police Commission, I only have favourable things to say about my relationship with them as a volunteer and as a member of the police commission and a small business owner.”

Keeping a finger firmly on the pulse of sport and recreation in the community is vital if you want to create a welcoming environment for youth, argues Remfert.

“Supporting development, if Taber keeps supporting our youth through infrastructure, like keeping up the walking path, supporting Trail 77, keeping up with Ken Mac, and keeping us youthful, keeping young families in town by supporting young families and making sure that it’s an affordable place to live and it’s vibrant for their youth. So our small town stays young. I look at towns like Bow Island and Vauxhall and if they haven’t stayed young, they slowly slip away.”

In talking with the grassroots in Taber everything comes back to housing, says Remfert.

“The town has an initiative to bring more people into town to work, we’re right, but they just have no place to stay. We need to provide housing so we can further our workforce needs. We need housing for to keep people here. We’re not bringing that. We want people to stay local.”

Remfert believes he can adequately and passionately represent the people of Taber.

“I have been part of a family and Taber, all my life, I plan to be part of Taber for all my life. I want to be a part of it. I want to offer and give my time and effort and passion for this town for the rest of my life. Because I enjoy that. I’m here to offer what I can. If the community takes it, great. And I will be a benefit. I know I will be. I’m not shy. I’m very forward. So I think I can help. I’m not going to be a wallflower in there.”

“I’ve been a community member here for 43 years. My plan is to be a community member here forever. So to support Dan Remfert they’re supporting somebody that wants this community to thrive.”

The Town of Taber by-election is on Sept. 7.

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