Two candidates emerge in race for mayor

By Ben Ingram
The race for mayor has heated up as two more candidates stepped forward last weekend ahead of Wednesday’s deadline for nominations.

Meadow Lake accountant Gary Vidal and developer Al MacFarlane both announced their intention to run for mayor in a race that already includes city councillor Toby Esterby.

Al MacFarlane

“The timing seemed right, with the former mayor leaving, it was kind of an opportune time to do it I think,” MacFarlane said after filing his forms on the weekend.

As a contractor and developer, MacFarlane has had several interactions with city council, including a recent denial to build a subdivision due to infrastructure limitations.

“It kind of begs the question, what have we done up until now?” MacFarlane said. “What’s got us to the point where we can’t develop anymore and what do we do to fix it?”

MacFarlane’s campaign has yet to get underway as his decision to run, made with the support of family, came last Friday. The developer has run for mayor of Meadow Lake in the past and served on a town council in Whitecourt, AB for five years.

When asked what his platform might look like, MacFarlane expressed an interest in the development aspects and infrastructure challenges faced by the city, but said he has been generally supportive of council’s work thus far.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean that getting elected mayor you’re going to change everything overnight,” he said. “That’s not the way it works for me.”

For accountant Gary Vidal, the hope is that his business experience as a lifetime Meadow Laker will help get him elected.

Gary Vidal

“In my world of work I deal with businesses and organizations of all kinds of sizes and nature,” he said.

Vidal does not have a hot-button issue that he intends to campaign around, saying encouragement from the community for him to run has been centred on leadership qualities.

“I think it’s just the fact I can contribute at the table to help our city realize the potential I think is there for us,” he said.

With regards to past experiences Vidal feels will help him be a successful mayor, the accountant pointed to community activities including involvement with charities, non-profits and local sports.

He characterized his style of leadership as being a promoter of cooperation and added that if elected he expects to learn from the current administration.

“If the citizens of Meadow Lake see fit to give me this opportunity, I’ll be the new guy so to speak and have to earn the respect of my colleagues,” he said.

The deadline for nominations is tomorrow, Aug. 10.

As of Monday, a city official confirmed that five nomination forms had been picked up with only MacFarlane’s and Vidal’s returned so far.

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