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Sustainable growth not possible: candidate
Engineering tech hopes to add unique perspective to city council

Lyndsay Herman
Northern News Services
Published Friday, Sept 28, 2012

"Sustainable growth" is a term Ian Mathers would like to take out of the city council vocabulary in favour of what he believes to be a more realistic approach to city development.

NNSL photo/graphic

Ian Mathers is taking his first run at city council this fall. Mathers is a civil engineering technologist, a background he believes will provide a valuable perspective to council's plans for the city. - Lyndsay Herman/NNSL photo

"I question the fact that you can have growth and be sustainable at the same time because growth at even a low rate eventually leads to exponential growth," he said.

"If the city was growing at three per cent per year, it would only take 23 years for it to double in size. We certainly can't consider that sustainable because even with the population we have here now, if there was a disaster or something, it wouldn't be sustainable with the population we have now."

Mathers said a more effective approach to development would be one committed to minimizing environmental impacts while allowing growth, otherwise city council will be chasing an unachievable goal.

"The best I think we can hope for is to reduce the impact that we have on the environment," he said. "You can't achieve 'sustainable'."

Mathers said his perspective is likely unique, much like his background. With David Wind not running for re-election, Mathers said new engineering representation on council will be important.

Topping Mathers' to-do list on council will be improving road conditions around the city and improving infrastructure at Northland Trailer Park.

"It's been an issue for more than 25 years," he said. "I think that has to be one of the priorities.

"If there was to be a failure of the sewer system in that trailer park, being right on the shore of Frame Lake, it could cause a problem which would cost a great deal more than what it would be to upgrade the system."

Mathers also said he would like to see the city to pull in the reins on debt accumulation.

"I think in today's financial world we have to be really careful with how much debt the city is actually carrying," he said. While interest rates are low now, Mathers expressed concerns about jumps to six or seven per cent and putting the city in a position where it cannot keep up with its debt.

This is Mathers first campaign for city council, although he said he has been preparing since the 2009 election, when he was unable to run due to work commitments.

"I've been thinking about a lot of these things for a long time," he said.

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