Alan Cox said he does not want to be the smartest guy in town council chambers, but definitely wants to be the second smartest.
Cox said he can offer insight on Cochrane town council, noting a few issues he said have been overlooked in the past few years.
“My wife ran for council in the last election and so I went to all the forums,” he said. “One of the questions I submitted was about cannabis regulation in the community after the federal government downloaded this on provinces and communities. My wife didn’t even want to touch that with a 10-foot pole. Sure enough, we were scrambling months later, and it did require some regulations.”
Worsening traffic is another example where there has been a lack of insight from council, said Cox.
“Why are we in the traffic situation that we’re in today?" he questioned. "Well, either people were in denial about the kind of growth that Cochrane was going to experience or they just weren’t prepared for it. I want us to be prepared for that. I do anticipate Cochrane growing. For as long as I’ve been here, the growth that Cochrane has seen has been incredible. I think we’ve been very fortunate that we are growing at that rate for our taxes, because our taxes really haven’t gone up a whole bunch. As we grow there’s more people paying into that tax base.”
Cox said that Cochrane’s current population of over 34,000 people is running very close to the town’s 40,000 population cap for water rights, which will likely be reached in about the next six to seven years at the current growth rate.
“We’re not far off, only 6,000 people,” he said. “I really want to challenge this administration to come up with other sources of income to avoid that tax shock.”
As Cochrane continues to grow, Cox said there is a lack of green space and would like to see more parks and areas designed for dog owners.
“It’s important that people are able to get their dogs out," he said. "There’s some big dogs and we do live in a town. They need to get out to roam and play with other dogs. That’s some peoples' fur babies, they don’t have kids, they have dogs. I respect that.”
Cox, who is from Northern Alberta, moved with his family to Cochrane eight years ago after a few years of searching for a place that felt like home.
Over the last couple of years, especially during the pandemic, Cox said he feels that he has been able to cement their place in town.
“As much as I know COVID has been a trying time for many of us, this last year and a half has really brought me a lot closer to the community,” he said. “It really kind of opened my eyes and let me know that everything I need is right here. It even felt more so like home because I wasn’t commuting to Calgary anymore and started using the facilities like Spray Lake Sawmills [Family Sports Centre].”
Both of Cox’s children have either graduated from high school in Cochrane or will be soon.
“They do call Cochrane home," he said. "They don’t plan on going anywhere else."
Cox commended the current town council for their efforts to steer the community through a pandemic and said that he wants to be a part of the work that goes into making Cochrane a better community.
“If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward,” he said. “I want to be on this team.”