Positive change begins with thinking collaboratively together - the City and the community. Every conversation could begin with “Yes, we can. Let’s explore your ideas together.”

A Reason to Vote

I will work to improve the tree and urban forest policies, in order to be more responsive to tree replacement expectations and climate change pressures.

A Reason to Vote

I will continue to work to introduce programs that support developers who provide needed amenities within the city's core and surrounding neighbourhoods.

A Reason to Vote

Skateparks, spray parks and other social amenities are important to the health of our community and our youth, and must be supported.

A Reason to Vote

The community needs to work together to envision and plan for a future concert hall and civic arts space.

A Reason to Vote

I will work toward the expansion of the park system, particularly in areas with flooding risk.

A Reason to Vote

I will continue to work with Red Deer College in their efforts to gain degree granting and to further enhance their downtown campus.

A Reason to Vote

The Red Deer Regional Airport is primary to establishing a diversified economy. Expanded services must be invited and supported.

A Reason to Vote

I will continue to advocate for better transit frequency and routes within the city and region.

A Reason to Vote

I will continue to advocate for green energy use, and waste to energy strategies. We need to district energy production to create financial sustainability.

A Reason to Vote

The health of a city can be determined by examining its downtown. Through revitalization and focused effort we create a compelling heart for the community that will be a gift that everyone can be proud to share.

A Reason to Vote

I will continue to work to find ways of highlighting community priorities that provide better services for our taxes, while minimizing civic debt.

A Reason to Vote

A 1% tax increase equates to $20 per home owner annually. When we understand the community's values and carefully listen we can minimize taxes and use what is collected in a way that improves quality of life for all.

A Reason to Vote

By shifting City policy and working innovatively with the property owners we can turn brownfield sites and abandoned buildings into valuable community assets.

A Reason to Vote

Dead trees on city owned boulevards and streets should be replaced within one season.

A Reason to Vote

Utility bills should be based solely on consumption. The less you use the less you pay.

A Reason to Vote

Arts & culture lead to healthy economies and vibrant cities. As we thoughtfully help our community design and create amenities we attract new investment in Red Deer.

A Reason to Vote

People-centric projects enhance the quality of life and lead to economic stability. Careful consultation with the community can help the City with annual planning and budgeting. The most important projects should always come first.

A Reason to Vote

I support the planning and construction of a 50 meter pool as envisioned by the Central Alberta Aquatics Centre supporters.

A Reason to Vote

Background

My experience starting, managing, and running successful businesses continues to take me in new directions. Careful planning, fiscally responsibility and allowing for an atmosphere of innovation has helped me grow my own businesses on Ross Street downtown; it has also helped me incubate several other businesses along our street. I will bring solid business experience and creativity to my work with the City.

My career has evolved over the years as so many do. Currently I’m working as a community facilitator, taking an active role in community planning and envisioning.  Using strength-based approaches, I help participants to work with opportunities and challenges by examining what works well within the community. Positive approaches build enthusiasm and momentum around important initiatives that the community chooses.  It helps people focus on building community.  In the process, they also address problems and solve issues — things happen more quickly and with fewer complications.

My most recent projects have been Envision Innisfail, and Red Deer’s Community Culture Vision.  Envision Innisfail was a community-wide process, in consultation with the Community Services Panel, to discover the potential and important themes that exist in Innisfail and then to create planning tools to assist them in a future change efforts.  This work is to be adopted by Town Council.

The Red Deer Community Culture Vision was an 18 month process to help the community identify their values and understand how these related to arts and culture.  This plan was adopted by the City of Red Deer as one of  four main planning documents to guide future development.

For the past eight years I’ve served Red Deer as a board member of the Red Deer & District Community Foundation, the past three as board chair.  This work has put me in touch with a wide cross section of the community — from business people to those working in the not-for-profit sector.  There is a growing sense that Red Deer can and should develop in ways that are congruent with current needs and yet rise to meet the future challenges and opportunities.

I’m an active participant with an international group of community facilitators who work with strength-based tools and reflective techniques to help enable positive change.  The focus of these is always to unlock community engagement, dialogue and action.

I believe that, as community members become passionately involved in the building of their own futures, governments become more compelled and willing to listen and encourage the changes people desire.

When I’m not busy with contract work, I manage Sunworks in the heart of Red Deer.  It is a growing retail establishment focused on great products for living. My partner Terry and I started Sunworks 12 years ago as a way to encourage cultural development and downtown revitalization. I have a background in business and real estate development. Informal and formal arrangements between other small business owners and the arts and culture community have helped create a landmark business that attracts visitors to the downtown and has had a transformative effect on Ross Street.

We’ve been active in inviting and welcoming new businesses to the street, encouraging the redevelopment of run down and poorly utilized buildings, and promoting new park space and pedestrian opportunities.  Ross Street is a collaborative effort of many participants and I’m proud to have championed its growth and revitalization.

I grew up in Calgary and moved to Red Deer 20 years ago.  My family is creative and strongly community-minded. I worked in the oil industry in Calgary for the first part of my career, attending to education as I worked.  I studied Linguistics, French, Japanese, arts and general studies.  After moving to Red Deer I graduated with a Associate Diploma in University Transfer Studies, and diploma in Computer Systems Technology.  These days I study community processes, appreciative inquiry, and arts.  I’m an avid reader.

In 2005 I was honoured with both the Mayor’s Recognition Award and the Alberta Centennial Medal for outstanding leadership in, and contribution to, my community.

I’ve been active in community development over the past two decades.  For the last three years, my focus has been on community planning and visioning.  I believe there is a way we can come together as a community and set a clear direction for our future.  We can meet the upcoming economic and ecological challenges.  We can build a healthy community that supports us all and gives back.  The wisdom for our future exists and will become clearer the mover we talk and work together.  The election process is an excellent way to begin and continue important dialogue.

I believe that possibilities exist to emphasize and meet current needs in a way that is healthy and economically responsible. There have been a number of positive changes in City structure and staff that will allow the City to work better and in tandem with the community.  These are good things, and we need a strong Council to oversee.  We all need to be active in understanding the community issues, be willing to voice our desires to elected officials, and be engaged in the campaign and election this fall.  Voter turnout last election was 22.04%.  Wouldn’t it be magical to double or triple voter turnout?  Imagine the dialogue and action that could take place within the community during the months leading up to the election.

During this campaign I will work hard to create important dialogue in the community about our future and our desires as a community. Let’s talk about everything, from ecology to parkades, traffic flow to bike lanes, brownfield sites to box stores, safe streets to housing, parks and pathways to concert halls and recreation facilities, transportation to taxes, our watershed to the arts, density to markets, theatres to aquatic centres…

I hope that you’ll work with me to make a difference during this campaign, and I hope that, when the election results come in I’ll be able to serve you from a position on Council.

– Paul Harris

One Comment

  • Joanne Lambkin says:

    Good luck in your campaign. I see you make several references to community development. I would ask that, either in your current position, or if you are successful in your candidacy that you consider the following:

    As a resident of a well established neighborhood, I feel that we are often overlooked as the city gets caught up in new development, and downtown refurbishing. An example of this would be the new trail system that runs along the old rail bed between Oriole Park and Oriole Park West. The entire system feeds into Oriole Park West, while the residents of Oriole Park are left to hike cross country to join up.

    Thirty feet of bicycle path would have gone a long ways in my book, to make me feel that city planners appreciate my 20 plus years as a homeowner paying taxes. As it stands, I feel somewhat slighted. It is our established neighborhoods that provide the tax base to expand these new developments. I would like to see older neighborhoods included.

    Thank you for entertaining my comments, and good luck in your campaign.

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