As a kid, Doug Phelps had a first-hand look at municipal politics thanks to his father, Charlie, a former SARM president and three-term reeve in the Rural Municipality of Prince Albert.
Now, he’s looking to follow in his father’s footsteps.
Phelps is one of three candidates running for the vacant reeve position in the R.M. of Prince Albert’s upcoming byelection. After growing up surrounded by rural politics, he’s eager to step up and give back to the community.
“I really don’t want to make a whole bunch of promises I can’t keep,” Phelps said during an interview on Friday. “I just want to be a team player and see if I can help out, keep things running smoothly and do the best I can.”
As a long-time farmer and business owner, Phelps said he believes he has the experience and understanding necessary to help the R.M.
Phelps has lived his entire life in the area, most of it farming with his wife Karen and their two sons. During that time, rural crime has become a bigger and bigger issue for local residents, and that’s something he wants to tackle if elected reeve.
The biggest problem is the lengthy police response time. Phelps has already talked with some RCMP officers about the problem, but ideally, he’d like to see both RCMP and R.M. leadership sit down together and brainstorm a few solutions.
“These criminals are pretty intuitive to the timelines that (the RCMP) have, as far as response goes,” Phelps explained. “They know when shift changes are … and these guys are not necessarily rookies. They know what they’re doing. It’s a big problem. I’m in division one and our response time here is probably upwards of two hours before we can get a car.”
Rural and economic development is also a priority, especially road development and maintenance. As far as business goes, Phelps said the Prince Albert area is perfectly positioned as the Gateway to the North to provide support services for any northern resource development. He’d like to see the R.M. take advantage of that opportunity.
“As long as it’s a benefit to the R.M. and the taxpayers, I think it’s definitely something that we should be looking at,” he said. “There’s a lot of industry in the north that’s possibly looking for a home.”
The 2019 byelection for reeve of the R.M. of Prince Albert No. 461 will be held on June 12, 2019. An advanced poll will be held on June 8.