Published on February 25, 2020
Councillor Ray Watkins: Deputy Mayor January - February 2020
If you would have told me three years ago that I would be a councillor in St. Albert I would have said that’s a one in a million chance. Yet here I am.
My road to City Hall had a few twists and turns. It started with my son Quentin. He had the opportunity to meet Brian Botterill, a Councillor for Strathcona County. Quentin was inspired when he learned Councillor Botterill was serving his 3rd term on Strathcona County Council and was barely 30. Quentin thought, I should do this. I garnered some support from the business community and had picked up the nomination papers. The day before the deadline for submission of nomination papers my son advised me that he had decided not to run. He said that I should run not him. I was annoyed with him for not running but I also accepted his challenge. I thought, yes, he was right I should run. I should give back to my community. I had been involved in land use planning and development for almost 40 years. I thought that I had something to offer.
I only had a day to get my nomination papers signed. That being said, I wanted to have all three mayoral candidates sign my nomination papers. I wanted the community to know that I would work with and support whomever the people elected as mayor. Within 24 hours I had obtained the necessary signatures on my nomination papers and filed them at City Hall. So began my political campaign. No campaign manager, no platform, no signs, no help, just will and determination and a plethora of ideas and opinions
Two plus years in, and I am proud of the work I have done. In particular, I am very proud of the Youth Committee. They work hard to improve civic life for St. Albert’s youth. Focused and collaborative, every month they meet to discuss challenges and possible solutions for the issues facing our youth.
I am pleased to have been instrumental in obtaining lands for a park in the Kingswood/Regency Neighbourhood. This area has long been lacking in park space. Working closely with staff and the landowner we are close to finalizing the acquisition of land for the park. It is my hope that before the end of my term I can see the development of the land into functional park space.
I have learned a lot in the past 2 years. I have had some successes, some things not so successful and some failures. It has been a challenge to split my time between Council, family life and my full-time career as a land developer and planner.
To balance my business and family life I utilized photography as an outlet for my creative side. I always carry a camera with me which has allowed me to capture images of retreats, courses and cultural events attended on behalf of the City.
I also enjoy spending time at Servus Place. I appreciate the friendly staff, open atmosphere, and my pre-workout double shot of espresso. Servus Place allows me to stay fit and connect with citizens of all ages.
I am grateful for the opportunity to represent the residents of St. Albert. I can assure you that my decisions are made and will continue to be made with the best interest of the city in mind.
Ray Watkins, Deputy Mayor January – February 2020
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Last edited: March 9, 2020