COCHRANE— Looking to regain Cochrane’s autonomy, Deborah Murphey has entered the running for Cochrane Town Council.
Murphey said she was motivated to run after Cochrane’s participation in the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board cost the town its ability to chart its own course.
“We do have planners and we do have all of these people working in our administration, why are we doing it according to this regional thing, that we have to get together and it has to be by a certain time, and it has to get approved, our plans have to go to Calary,” she said. “There’s councillors in Calgary yaying or naying and then we have Nenshi veto voting and all of this stuff. It doesn’t make sense to me to add another layer of government.”
She said leaving the development of the Town in the hands of our neighbours could potentially cost the Town its ability to pursue certain projects.
“You have to be within certain guidelines and then if you go outside of this little box you may not get what you want,” she said.
Murphey said she has been collecting signatures and is hoping to petition the provincial government in an attempt to have Cochrane’s autonomy restored.
“I have a petition going, and after I discovered after I started that the Foothills have one going as well, and so my thing would be that we would petition to not lose our autonomy and to have our autonomy returned to us,” she said. “You see where you have certain municipalities that don’t want to comply to certain things, and therefore when the government decides that they want you to, they force you to do it. That to me is not right. Freedom first, freedom always, and instead of saying that this if for the betterment and we’re all working together and we’re doing good for our neighbours, well no, actually there are a few of our neighbours who are not too happy about it.”
Cochrane, Murphey said, is already in an enviable position and is poised to grow and prosper.
“We have a fabulous community, we’re so ideally located, we’re minutes from everything and the beauty that’s all around us. It’s a community where you don’t have to advertise for people to live here, you don’t have to advertise for businesses to come here, people want to line up to get here,” she said.
The town also stands more to gain by going in its own direction than being forced into a one-sided partnership with its larger neighbours, she said.
“We’re a unique community, a wonderful community, and to actually let a little bit of liberty, and a little bit of freedom of your decisions — be giving a veto vote to Calgary about whether or not you can do it? You must stay within the guidelines, high density and all of the above, you know, and share the cost of this and that,” she said. “I think this community could be on the map as being unique and wonderfully different for doing their own thing.”
Murphey noted that she would also like to see more engagement from Cochrane’s Town Council, especially with regards to presentations made by delegations.
Often, at the end of the presentation, Council will note the presented information will be accepted as information.
Murphey said she feels as though those that take the time to appear before council should be responded to.
“My naivete back in September when I first heard that was ‘oh that will be interesting to see what they do with this information, I’d love to know some more about that,’ and then I hear it in January, and I say ‘OK, I must have missed it the first time, so I’m going to follow through this time.’”
She said she called the Town to see what happens with the information presented and was surprised to hear “that’s something they just say,” she said.
“I think when there is enough of our community showing concern for something, to the point that they actually go to great lengths that they put information together, it would behooves us to say ‘OK, I think we as a council need to look at the information that this resident has brought to us, and give it due consideration, look at the facts they have brought us and have a discussion together,’” she said. “At least do your due diligence to respect the member that put the time and effort into bringing that to you.”
Murphey said, if elected, she would encourage her fellow councillors to pay more attention to the issues brought forward by the public.