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Slow, steady growth desirable for Barnwell: Watts

Posted on September 21, 2023 by Taber Times
Times File Photo

By Heather Cameron
Taber Times
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Barnwell local Sandy Watts is running in the by-election that the Village of Barnwell will be holding on Sept. 25.

Having served on the Municipal Planning Commission for just over eight years beginning in 2012, Watts recently started going to Council meetings and decided to run with the thought that he could bring a different approach to how things go in the municipality.

“I know that 10 years ago, the citizens wanted slow but steady development and try as best they can to maintain the feel of a village, so I think I can put a little effort into that,” Watts said. “I’ve been going door to door the last few days and meeting a lot of different people and seeing what they feel about the village and how it’s doing and what could be done in the future and where they’d like to see things go. I get the strong impression that they all – there’s a fair number of the citizens of the village would like to see development, but still slow and steady and still keep that feeling that you’re a village. I think that can be done with some planning.”

If elected, Watts says that one of the things he would start with is improving procedures as far as minutes and agendas are concerned. 

“I’d like to see the minutes and the agendas for the various meetings posted, as they used to be,” Watts said. “I’d like to see that activity again so that the citizens know what’s going on and post it in a timely manner so that there’s time enough for people to ingest what’s going on and whether they should go to a meeting or whether it interests them or not and give them an opportunity to be involved in the decision making over the long haul.”

Watts says that he moved to Barnwell from British Columbia 12 years ago and has found the village a very nice place to live. One of the important things in his approach to his campaign and aspirations towards Council, Watts says, is to be open, so people can expect to have information that should be made available to them as citizen taxpayers in the village. And once one gets into the process of developing and so on, Watts says, one has to have responsibility; working to get something done for the citizens, as you become responsible to the citizens. But, Watts says, that’s a two-way street, too. You can’t actually make long range decisions about things if you don’t know what the citizens want, Watts says.

“The community is a selection of all the different people that have an interest in living in the village and they have to know what they want as well as what they can get,” Watts said. “Some things you can get and no matter what you try to do, some things you can’t, and you aim to get the best things you can out of what you’ve got. It’s a wonderful place and we don’t want to turn our backs,” Watts said. “And it starts with the ordinary citizen down in a little village putting an ‘X’ on a voting card.”

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