Looking at the larger picture of Lacombe
Jonathan Jacobson has put his hat in to run for Lacombe city council in the municipal election. (Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe)
If there’s one thing Jonathan Jacobson wants to bring to council chambers in the fall, it’s a shift from looking at the short-term development to looking fostering a bright, long-term future for Lacombe.
Announcing his intention to run this past week, Jacobson is already hammering out the details of his campaign and what he envisions for the city down the road.
“My vision is that Lacombe is a premier destination, a beautiful place to be, a place where business want to be in and where families want to raise their children in,” he said. “Where I want to differentiate myself from other candidates is how this is going to happen.
“An area you govern is not like a business or a family where you can turn things around on a dime . To borrow a phrase from Stephen Harper, it’s like an aircraft carrier. You have to turn things around incrementally.”
Since 1997, Jacobson has been in Lacombe, studying at Parkview Adventist Academy, and Burman University, then Canadian University College, where he graduated from in 2004. After moving away for half a year, he returned to Lacombe and has been here as a full-time resident since 2005.
He began working in construction as part of a framing crew, building off-spec homes and then spent the next ten years in custom home building. For the last two, he’s moved on to real estate development, including Metcalfe Ridge and Henner’s Village.
Politically, he was the campaign manager for Coun. Peter Bouwsema when he first ran for council, and was Mayor Steve Christie’s manager in the last election. For three years following the election, he sat on the Lacombe Police Commission, including two years as chair.
He believes both aspects of his background will afford him the opportunity and understanding to help Lacombe grow and move in the right direction.
“A lot of people talk about economic development, but when I hear a lot of fellow candidates talking about creating growth, I get a little nervous,” he said.
“With my expertise, there isn’t a lot government can do to create growth. There is a lot government can do to kill growth.”
He said governments can often misunderstand their role when it comes to growing the city, and that’s where problems arise between municipality and developer.
What he would like to do is help create favourable conditions to stimulate growth in the community over a number of years, as well as address a number of “non-performing real estate assets” in the city, including the Provincial Building and industrial land.
“We need to start thinking of ideas of how to get those non-perfoming assets operating,” he said. “I don’t agree with some of my fellow candidates’ assertions that some of these should be sold off at a loss because that’s always bad business.”
As one of the youngest candidates so far, he also hopes to add a different perspective to council as well.
“Our politicians have tended to be over the age of 45, but I think there’s the young families that need that voice on council as well, too.”
As an aside, Jacobson notes an underlying theme of his campaign will include a philosophy that questions asked will receive honest and transparent answers.
“I’m going to always tell you what I think even if it’s going to result in me becoming unpopular. It’s important to me if someone asks me a question that they know exactly where I stand. I firmly believe honesty is the only way you make headway,” he said.
“I never, ever, whether I’m running or elected, want to be someone who does not answer a question.”
Specific policies and policy details and information can be found on Jacobson’s website, set to launch in the near future.