I truly believe in Grande Prairie and its people. I am business minded and future-focused and believe together, we can build an even better community at an affordable cost. I am always ready to contribute, not afraid of hard work and committed to Grande Prairie today and in the future. I understand that you can only expect a community to give you as much as you are willing to give it.
As a community supporter and an entrepreneur, I have always been welcomed and encouraged to thrive and succeed in my business endeavours. Grande Prairie’s entrepreneurial spirit is second to none and was recently recognized in the Financial Post as “the first to emerge from brutal recession”. I recognize that it’s opportunities like this that need to be managed responsibly with foresight and vision to best enhance the future of this region. As we are very fortunate to live in a region with such an excellent opportunity it is critical that all opportunities and risks be recognized, captured and planned for.
The City of Grande Prairie needs and deserves a leader, a voice that will fight for them. A leader that will work hard to represent them, a leader that will connect all levels of governments and remind politicians, and business leaders of the value, the importance and the significance of what our City and our Region provides to the province and the country.
Serving as your interim Mayor has provided me with the opportunity to learn and appreciate the day to day organizational operations within the City of Grande Prairie. It has given me the chance to see firsthand how extremely hard the employees of the City work, and it has also provided me with the chance to see opportunities, to see where we can grow and where we can strengthen our position within the province and with the Country.
Having a full array of recreation amenities is extremely important to grow a healthy, connected community.
We are a young, family-focused city. We are also a Winter City. Providing recreational, arts and cultural opportunities for residents to participate in, from our long summer days to the darkest and coldest of days, is a major consideration for every city leader.
As your Mayor I will be a strong advocate for enhanced neighbourhood recreation. I will work to have multiple covered play areas added to our existing traditional playgrounds and skating rinks. I would like to see four of these covered play areas built over a period of 2 years: two built in 2022 and two more built in 2023.
These covered play areas will serve many purposes. In winter, they will serve as covered ice rinks where families can skate or play hockey. They could also be used as neighbourhood gathering areas for outdoor block parties. Being covered, they provide shelter from wind and snow and allow community members to use them more often. In the Summer, they will provide shelter from the sun and rain and can be used for a variety of activities including remote controlled toys, ball hockey, shooting hoops and general play.
We will collaborate with the Public and Catholic School Board to have these located on existing school playgrounds. This will allow school kids to enjoy outdoor recreation year round.
These facilities will be unique in each location as they can easily be modified. They are relatively inexpensive to build, and will not require significantly more maintenance than we already provide to our existing community rinks.
Recreation connects communities, and low cost facilities such as these covered spaces will have serious impact in our City.
Throughout my career—in politics, with my businesses, and with my volunteer initiatives—I am known to be solution-driven. I bring opportunities, people and stakeholders together and create effective collaboration.
From a regional perspective, collaboration comes in numerous forms, and should reach much further than our important County of Grande Prairie and MD of Greenview boundaries. With this in mind, as your Mayor, I will prioritize the establishment of a Northwestern Coalition, formed to bring together elected leaders from the entire Peace Country spanning Alberta and British Columbia.
This new Northwestern Coalition could advocate for interprovincial trades certification recognition, collaborate on forward-thinking economic development opportunities, and foster stronger regional relationships, as examples. There are many collaborative opportunities to explore.
What I bring to the table: I am connected, trusted and relatable in my relationships with Mayors of Dawson Creek, Fort St. John and other numerous northern communities. I will foster authentic conversation to create a better-connected region.
Collaboration with our citizens is another area of focus for me. It is our community groups, business leaders, our indigenous and first nations leaders and engaged residents who have the insight that Council needs in order to solve problems so we can find solutions together. I will host monthly community roundtables, where I will listen and learn, giving YOU a place to share thoughts and ideas on how to make Grande Prairie a better community.
Partnering with GPRC is another vital opportunity for collaboration; we must advocate alongside GPRC to create greater educational advantages in our city. As GPRC formulates their plan to become a Polytechnic post-secondary institution, we will inclusively and creatively support them as an authentic partner. The City can assist by connecting the necessary regional stakeholders and industry partners to support GPRC’s success. GPRC is a gem within the post-secondary system, and ideas like establishing a Centre of Excellence is the forward-thinking action we need to take, ensuring future success not only for the institution but for the region as well.
Put simply, my mission is to lead Grande Prairie toward a stronger, more vibrant future. I aim to do this by bringing together all levels of government - from local to federal - highlighting the importance and significance of our City and region in relation to our province and our country. I know I don’t have to tell you, we contribute a lot to both. I will bring together our communities by providing opportunities to create conversation and share ideas. I will always consider how we can work together to strengthen education, recreation, and safety in Grande Prairie. These are just a few examples of collaborative advocacy that I will be focusing on—you will find many others in my entire platform and I invite you to read them all at jackieclayton.ca.
It's essential that Grande Prairie residents know and truly believe our engagement is inclusive and consistent. Increased engagement means that residents are involved and informed in community activities, discussions and plans overall. We need to amplify engagement across all platforms. Surveys, polls and discussions will allow residents an opportunity to see project details, provide their input - the first to better engagement.
Residents of Grande Prairie deserve to have a better understanding of what is happening at City Hall. I will work with Council to implement guidelines to ensure that City business and transactions are more transparent to the public. It's unacceptable the public feels they haven’t had an opportunity to review long enough to provide feedback for large projects.
Residents deserve to know that their leadership is free from conflicts-of interests. This initiative will require that all elected members and senior staff file an annual conflict-of-interest report that will be posted publicly. This will allow a third party independent officer the ability to investigate allegations that an elected official or senior staff member may have advanced the financial interests for themselves, their family or their friends in the course of their duties. The officer will be required to work in accordance with the Municipal Government Act and report any person found in violation. The findings of the independent officer will be made public at the conclusion of the investigation.
I believe that GP City staff must feel safe and protected to report wrong-doing within the organization without the fear of reprisals. I will work to improve and enhance our existing Policy and establish an independent third party, who will have the ability to investigate allegations of wrong-doing, unfair employment practices, misuse of public funds or assets or misuse of position to advance a personal interest.
Grande Prairie residents deserve to know that their Council and leadership are held to the highest ethical standards and City staff must know that they will be protected when they report wrong-doing.
During the process of budgeting, Council faces various difficult decisions. Regardless of whether it is the final year in a 4 year budget, or the first.
Council and Administration worked very hard this term to have a negative tax impact of almost -1% over four years. Inflation, assessment changes, and a reduction in provincial government support side, taxes were less overall this term.
In my opinion, Council should always consider a 0% tax increase, or possibly even a tax reduction if our financial position will support it. Not increasing property taxes is a tough job, but in times like now we need to support our residents and business owners to help stabilize our economy.
At our most recent 2022 budget discussions I was the only Mayoral candidate that voted in favour of City Administration presenting budget scenarios showing no tax increase. My intent was for Council to have the information needed to make informed, solution driven budgeting decisions, including what implementing a 0% tax increase for our residents would look like. There may be service impacts at a 0%, but in my opinion a discussion worth having. I feel strongly that elected officials should always consider not raising taxes.
Our economy is still in recovery mode. Families are suffering and small businesses are closing. Grande Prairie deserves a Mayor that is fully committed and works hard as a big picture thinker. A Mayor who is not afraid to have difficult conversations; a Mayor who will continually advocate for lower taxes and affordability.
Photo Radar, also known as Automated Traffic Enforcement (ATE), is always high on the list of concerns for municipal residents. Having been on City Council for two terms, I have been part of photo radar discussions since it was first implemented. Statistically--in the beginning--we did see a significant improvement in road safety. The data shows that, with our Community Safety initiative as it was set out, we specifically saw intersection collision totals steadily decreasing.
Now, as a mother, I absolutely understand the importance of having a safe driving community. Therefore, if elected, I will commit to making sure the focus of ATE is to create a safer community with the primary focus being to protect our children and families. I think we can all agree that ATE in school zones and playgrounds is of utmost importance. In these areas where children convene, I believe that unmarked ATE vehicles are most appropriate.
However, the community must be confident that the focus of ATE is safety and that it is not primarily used as a revenue generating strategy. I will advocate for additional solar powered speed indicator signs to be on any arterial road in a school zone or playground as I believe they are a functional educational tool that can contribute to safer roads.
To ensure overall speed reduction and to maintain intended community safety, if elected I will require that all ATE vehicles that are not located in school and playground zones are very clearly, visibly marked in an educational way.
In addition, I would like to continue to review the effectiveness of red light and stop sign cameras. I often hear that people feel that they are a victim of a substantial fine at a stop sign that possibly could be a yield sign. The intent with these is not to be a cash cow.
In regards to ATE revenue: If elected, I would allocate a portion of photo radar revenue to develop a grant that would allow for increased neighbourhood and residential safety measures.
Last but not least, I have major safety concerns about roads that may be used for racing or stunting. Activities such as this are extremely dangerous. Because the provincial government has a current restriction on creating additional ATE locations, we need to lobby for greater flexibility. And, for example, if Council chooses to install temporary photo radar cameras in new troublesome areas such as 68th Avenue, we need to be open and transparent with our residents and these new locations need to be clearly marked. In the meantime, implement a significant educational campaign regarding road safety--perpetrators of dangerous driving need to be educated on the impact of speeding and its consequences. For example, billboards in both directions explaining the significant fine levels may be a deterrent from speeding. As well, an increased RCMP presence in troublesome areas will help support the education campaign.
Let’s create a safer community. Let's penalize unsafe driving and excessive speeding, but in a way that doesn’t make our community feel as though they are being trapped.
The Peace Region is home to many leading Oil, Gas, Forestry, and Agricultural companies and industry associations; however, within City boundaries, we continue to hear about high property taxes. A revenue increase is vital to be able to lower taxes, which of course leads to alleviating this burden on our City ratepayers.
To achieve an increase in revenues, we must continue to expand and diversify our economic opportunities.
The Peace Country holds approximately 5% of Canada’s agricultural land, and we have a reputation for high-quality agricultural products. This is home to some of the best, northernmost agricultural industries in the world.
As your Mayor, I will advocate for investment in and development of the 1,200 hectares of Hughes Lake lands on the west side of the City. Our options for development are virtually endless at this point. When our Alternative Energy Strategy is presented to Council for consideration, I will foster a connection between the City and County of Grande Prairie Councils with an invitation to engage in high-level conversation to spot collaborative opportunities.
The Hughes Lake land could support numerous agricultural revenue-generating prospects including agri-food research and development, pea protein processing, and food-grade canola protein production especially as demand for plant-based proteins continues to grow. We could strive to be the plant-based protein capital of Alberta, and as a municipality, we need to be doing whatever we can to support growth.
With the continued increasing cost of transportation, produce costs will continue to climb, especially for us here in the north. We need to develop a grown-in-our-backyard solution to combat our rising cost of living such as vertical farming.
Vertical farming—the most buzzed-about method in controlled-environment agriculture—features warehouses stacked several stories high. They have irrigation and lighting systems plus robots that pick and transport crops from one area to another. With green programs, vertical farming removes carbon while growing vegetables, helping to offset the carbon tax. Partnerships that employ the burning of waste gas could be used as a heat source for these greenhouses.
Of course, while the agricultural sector would not replace our main drivers such as oil and gas or forestry, it will augment our dedication to diversifying economies while supporting our stronger economic drivers.
Our future is a connected one and I have the foresight, experience and influence to make it happen. Our City’s growth and potential relies on the plan of a connected future. We are already leaders in patents, entrepreneurship, a regional hub for retail and services, and we have a diverse supply of resources. Our future goals are achievable. My leadership skills and strategic approach can make them happen.
When evaluating tourism in our region, Sport Tourism is the largest economic driver. With this in mind, I firmly believe that Sport Tourism needs to be a priority investment.
Grande Prairie provides a multitude of opportunities for Sport Tourism. Not only does our own city provide accessible, quality facilities, but our region does as well; these facilities lay a solid foundation to investing in Sport Tourism. I will work to ensure a growing collaboration between the Grande Prairie Tourism Association and GP Sport Connection so that we may use our Sport Tourism amenities collectively and efficiently. This investment in collaboration has the potential to create jobs, such as a dedicated Sport Tourism Coordinator, and create strong opportunities for economic growth.
Next, Festival Tourism is my focus for Grande Prairie tourism. Looking beyond the traditional type of festivals, we should include festivals that feature ice sculptures, or light displays, outdoor art festivals, food festivals, and kids' festivals. The possibilities are endless, and adding these missing elements to our already exciting list of regional activities will absolutely help to attract, recruit and retain professionals, not to mention create another great source of entertainment and economic activity.
Working with industry to ensure solution-driven options are available is vital. We need to be dedicated to work with industry to support them where needed, especially in potential grant applications. We need to connect industry with different levels of government, social agencies and housing organizations. We cannot fix this on our own.
Housing options need to support not only the ‘hard to house’, but also the residents that simply need a small amount of support in order to make ends meet. Studies show that 80% of families looking for support generally need approx $200 more per month to live comfortably. The challenges facing the community housing sector call for adaptive, innovative, and inclusive solutions. We need to explore opportunities and find the support and solutions that make Grande Prairie a more liveable City for all.
Affordable Housing options always need to consider Seniors. Seniors want to live where their grandchildren live so let’s support them in finding the right fit for them. I, for one, would absolutely love to see a P3 development for a Seniors Housing complex on the City-owned land adjacent to the Montrose Cultural Centre. It would be a perfect fit.
At the beginning of this past term, the City of Grande Prairie was spending approximately $7m annually on road rehabilitations and overlays programs. In our four-year budget deliberations, Council made the decision to increase the annual amount to $11m. This past summer, through significant support from the Federal & Provincial government, we were able to increase our Road Rehabilitation & Overlay program to almost $18m and in turn develop the largest Capital Plan in the City’s history.
Following this paving season we expect to see a decrease in the immediate needs in regards to our roads, which should allow us to focus on increased safety and connectivity within our City. For example, we need to address the lack of appropriate sidewalks and crossing lanes from Pinnacle and O’Brien to the CKC Campus, across one of the busiest highways in Alberta. With that being said, we have significant work to do on Wapiti Road over the next few years and we need to have an honest discussion regarding our priorities and the tax impacts of large capital and/or infrastructure projects.
No infrastructure conversation would be complete with bringing up Aquatera. Now, with the extensive, time consuming discussions of our Inter-Municipal Collaboration Framework with the County of GP coming almost to an end, I believe we sit down with all Shareholders and have an open, honest conversation about our goals, expectations and future of Aquatera.
After serving GPRC BOG for six years I have a very solid understanding of GPRC and the post-secondary system. It is not a new idea, but we must train more of our kids right here in Grande Prairie, educating our youth at ‘home’ is extremely beneficial. Financial benefits aside, there are numerous examples that show people with a form of higher education are often more engaged, creative, and independent.
As GPRC formulates their plans for bringing a Polytechnic to life we need to support them as an authentic partner. The City can assist by connecting the necessary regional stakeholders and industry partners. That may include school boards, other levels of government or even other post secondary institutions.
In my vision GPRC needs to be a Centre of Excellence focusing in Gas, Agriculture, Forestry, Medical Research and Development in conjunction with our new hospital and for coaching excellence. We need to be inclusive as partners and be creative. GPRC is a gem within the post-Secondary system and establishing a Centre of Excellence is the forward-thinking we need to ensure future succeed no only for the institution but for the region as well.
To date, my team has raised approximately $27,000. Our expenses will match this. This includes marketing and advertising. Items such as signage, website, postcards and radio ads.
I did not accept any financial support from any 2021 Councillor candidates and I did not accept third-party advertisers or donations from corporations.
These donors in alphabetical order vary in amount from $100-2,000 each. I am very thankful for all of the support.
Jackie and her husband Rob have lived in Grande Prairie since 1999 and have always been deeply involved with and worked in the Grande Prairie business community.
One of Jackie’s favourite experiences was serving on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. During her 6 years on the Board and Executive, eventually becoming Grande Prairie’s 2nd female President in over 90 years, she saw firsthand the endless opportunities this region has to offer. The entrepreneurial spirit with the City of Grande Prairie and the region is second to none. This work lit a fire within her and led to her choosing to run for City Council the first time 2 terms ago.
In 2003, Jackie opened a retail franchise business, which she still owns today. After numerous years in various retail businesses, Jackie followed her passion to be more involved in corporate business, most notably as the VP, Public Relations & Partnerships for Pomeroy Lodging, where she oversaw external and government relations for 19 hotels within the various markets they operate. Prior to running for Mayor of Grande Prairie, Jackie served two terms as a City Council member where she honed her political skills, helping contribute and develop the future of our community. Her dedication and commitment to Grande Prairie has strengthened over the years. She has built countless relationships across the province and country that are essential to new and continued growth within the City. This too positions her well to lead our City in the coming years. A committed leader who sees a connected future, resulting in serious impact.
Jackie graduated in Sales & Marketing from Vancouver Community College and studied business at NWCC. She is a mother of two sons age 13 and 16. The Clayton family is incredibly passionate about their community, sports, fundraising and education.