Non-profit GM running in Ward 8 by-election eager to see Prince Albert retain young professionals

Prince Albert Model Forest general manager Peter Friedrichsen is one of five candidates running in the Ward 8 By-election. -- Submitted photo.

Peter Friedrichsen moved to Prince Albert in 2020 and decided to stay because he was impressed with what he saw in the community. Now, he’s decided to run in the Ward 8 by-election to help ensure more young people like him make that decision.

Friedrichsen originally planned to wait until 2024 to run, but with the by-election seat opening up, he pushed the timeline up by two years.

“As a West Hill resident now, and as somebody who is involved with the community through my work with the Prince Albert Model Forest, I think I could translate a lot of that energy and new expertise into City council,” Friedrichsen said during a phone interview on Friday. “Of course, when Coun. (Ted) Zurakowski resigned I had to jump to it. I thought, ‘well, why not throw my hat into the ring for the by-election?’”

Friedrichsen is the general manager of the Prince Albert Model Forest Association, a local non-profit that supports regional forest research and education. He moved to Prince Albert with his partner, who is originally from the PA area, and grew to love the community.

He said his experience with the Model Forest requires him to meet people, research projects, and make decisions that have significant impacts on the community. He’s confident those skills will transfer over to city council, especially with forestry becoming such a big part of the city’s economic growth.

“It plays a massive part in Prince Albert, in our culture as the Gateway to the North, and as an industry as well, and right now on council there isn’t really anyone from a forestry or forestry adjacent background,” he said. “I think that would be a really valuable asset to have as we move forward.”

Friedrichsen’s platform calls for investing in safer communities and building opportunities, while also prudently using tax dollars to prepare for future challenges like the impact of climate change and the changing job market.

He said public safety and crime are the biggest concerns he’s hearing about from voters, with many residents expressing frustration with the level of petty crime in the city.

Friedrichsen said he’d like to see Prince Albert partner with other communities and First Nations to create more permanent shelter spaces, which would allow residents with addictions or mental health issues to receive treatment, while also reducing the amount of time police spend responding to calls.

“I think that’s an immediate way to not only de-escalate the severity of the issue, but also reintroduce some of the humanity to people who maybe just get stuck here or have nowhere else to go. That will alleviate stress on the police force as well so they can maybe tackle more complicated things like gang violence and trafficking drugs, etc., so they can do their jobs more effectively.”

On economic growth, Friedrichsen supports the building of the new Yard Entertainment District in the southeast corner of the city. While expensive, Friedrichsen said it presents a great opportunity for Prince Albert to keep younger residents from moving away.

If elected, he plans to support more developments that will improve Prince Albert’s quality of life, and make the city attractive to young professionals.

“We have the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Polytechnic, SIIT, First Nations University of Canada, which is building a new campus, and all these institutions are training young professionals here and from the north,” he said. “How do we maintain those people who are trained here?

“There is work in renovations, housing, and things like that. There is room to grow. I think it’s just getting the right people for the right place, and I think it’s just trying to find those amenities that will keep young folks like me here and wanting to stay here.”

In addition to his work with the Prince Albert Model Forest, Friedrichsen also serves as a board advisor for the Prince Albert Science Centre. As a student, he was involved in theatre and dance, and remains a big supporter of the arts.

Friedrichsen is one of five candidates running in the Ward 8 by-election. The Daily Herald ran profiles of the other four candidates—Doug Erickson, Dennis Nowoselsky, Darren Solomon, and Pam Sukut—in previous issues.

The Ward 8 By-election is scheduled for May 31.