Small changes, big impact
Brandon von Gunten has become the newest face to join the race for a seat on Lacombe City Council. (Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe)
Brandon von Gunten is all about making small changes that will have big benefits for the City of Lacombe.
He hopes he can be one of those changes on city council, becoming the fifth brand new face to enter the race for a seat in the upcoming municipal election, and the 11th council candidate to register intent to run.
“I’m one of the younger candidates, so I come with a different viewpoint, different outlook on how we can shape Lacombe for younger generations,” Gunten said. “We need new faces, fresh minds in there and not continue the old rubber stamping because this is how we’ve always done it.”
Born in Edmonton and raised in Androssan until he was nine years, Gunten made his way to Central Alberta in 1991. Off and on, aside from schooling in Calgary, he’s lived in Red Deer, Sylvan Lake and Lacombe, where he met his wife, since then.
His most recent return to Lacombe was about six months ago, but the city has a special place in his heart.
From the extensive trail system, to local attractions and amenities, he wants to see Lacombe’s small town atmosphere protected.
“Nothing’s ever perfect city-wise. There’s always room for improvement but I think to keep our small town feel, we don’t have to make big changes,” he said. “As soon as you start making big changes, you lose the small town feel and turn into a big city.”
Thus, he wants practical solutions to creating efficiencies in the city going forward.
Among changes he’d like to see made is a change to the speed limit on Hwy 2A, which is currently 50 km/h.
“It’s kind of weird you can drive as fast in residential as you can on the highway,” he said. “Everyone I mention that to is like ‘yes!’ Even in Blackfalds you can go faster on 2A and they have residential right next to it.”
Alongside that is a desire to look into merging school zones and playground zones, as other municipalities, including the City of Red Deer, have done to eliminate confusion for drivers. Zones, if merged, would see a 30 km/h speed limit from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. 365 days a year.
“A lot of school zones have playgrounds and if they don’t have playgrounds they have big fields that kids are using year round,” he said. “This way, everyone knows what time it is and they have no excuses.”
Like other candidates, he also stressed the importance of improving economic development by encouraging developers to start working on Lacombe Market Square on the city’s east end.
Gunten would also like to take a look at lowering small business taxes to enable businesses to reallocate funds to stay open longer and keep Lacombe residents shopping within the community, rather than travelling to Red Deer.
Having had an interest in politics since he was young, and a desire to run for office since he turned 18, Gunten said he’s ready for the opportunity and challenge of potentially representing the people of Lacombe.
Gunten can be found on social media at facebook.com/brandonvongunten, or @bvongforcouncil on Twitter. He can also be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nomination day is Sept. 18. The municipal election will be held Monday, Oct. 16.