Challenging for the position of mayor on Oct. 21, local developer Henk DeVlieger is looking to bring a fresh perspective to the community’s top municipal role.
“I want to see this town progress, and I’d like to see some positive changes. As part of the team, I can be effective, to maybe help make those changes,” said DeVlieger.
Looking to unseat two-term incumbent Ray Bryant from the mayoral chair on Oct. 21, DeVlieger countered detractors who suggest he wouldn’t be able to devote the required time to the important position due to business commitments.
“I love Taber, I’ve been living here for 30 years. I’m always quite involved — my heart is in this place. I’m 60 now, and I think I can make the time. I have new partners in our business, and the day-to-day operation, I don’t do that anymore. So I can free up the time for the mayor’s role. That’s one of my main things, is I can make the time to do it.”
DeVlieger suggested his association with public works and infrastructure projects could add a vital mixture of experience and knowledge that is lacking with the current town council.
“I think they all try to do their best, but I think I can bring to the table some more direct knowledge on a lot of issues. I have a civil engineering background, and what I’ve done is related to public works and infrastructure, and a lot of those issues. I think I can help make the right decisions. I very well understand a lot of that stuff, while I think if you didn’t grow up in it, it’s sometimes hard to understand and make the right decision.”
DeVlieger also has a grasp of issues involving local law enforcement, serving as the current chair of the Taber Municipal Police Commission.
“I’ve also been on the police commission for four years now, and two years as chairman. I think I have quite a good overview of what the policing is all about. I’ve sat on a lot of boards, and I’ve also spent some years with the chamber of commerce.”
Outlining a four-point preliminary platform approach, DeVlieger promises movement on a number of key issues.
“I want to make this a better place to, first of all, live, work, play, and reside. There’s a lot of different aspects, but it has to remain an attractive place where people want to live, and work — we have to make sure there’s enough work around here for people to stay, such as economic development and all of those kinds of things, and play — we have to make sure that we maintain and improve the facilities that we have so that people can spend their leisure time.”
I’ll be fiscally responsible, for sure, and try to do more with the dollars that we have available — spend more wisely.”
Time commitments should not keep the aspiring mayor from doing the job to the best of his ability should Taber’s voters favour him at the ballot box on Oct. 21.
“My background, and my profession, and I’ve been quite involved in the community for a lot of years, so I have a good understanding of that,” said De Vlieger. “I’ve been on the police commission, I’ve been on other boards and committees, and I deal with the town office on a regular basis. I think I have a very good understanding of how the town is run, and I think that will really help me. I think I can be a good asset to the town. I’d like to really stress that I can make the time to do a good job as mayor. Some people say ‘Oh, you can’t make no time’. I can, otherwise I wouldn’t have run.”