LISTENS to residents; LEARNS the needs of each community and the city as a whole; LEADS by championing a self-sustaining city where we can LIVE - WORK - PLAY - SHOP & REMAIN.
Exemplifies Chestermere's Values of COLLABORATION, HUMOUR, INTEGRITY, PROFESSIONALISM and ACCOUNTABILITY.
Oct 6, 2017
Can you give us a bit of your background?
My name is Laurianne (Matisz) Schell. I was born in Lethbridge, Alberta and graduated from the University of Lethbridge in 1992 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. I was married to my husband Rick in 1993 and began a career in retail management. In 1999 we moved to Calgary when I was offered a management position at a shoe store in Banker’s Hall. 2 years later I went on maternity leave to have our 2 children and spent 10 years as a stay-at-home mom. My husband received a job in Ottawa, and while there I earned my LLQP certificate, which qualified me to sell life insurance. Work led us back to Calgary in 2010 and I began a new path in business administration. For the last 3 years I was Executive Assistant to the Urban Development Institute and Canadian Home Builders’ Association, which has merged and is now called BILD Calgary Region. We decided to build our first home, in Chestermere, in 2015.
Why did you decide now is the time to run for office?
I felt that I know enough about the current issues we are facing and that my expertise could help work out these issues. I enjoy community involvement and will lend myself to this task full time.
What is the most pressing issue for the city?
The most pressing issue is development, for 3 main reasons:
2. Part of the reason CUI dramatically increased their utility rates was because when developer-funded infrastructure was being turned over to CUI, accounting showed it as a financial asset, when it was not. Also, CUI was then responsible for the operating costs. This was an accounting problem which stemmed from a development issue. I understand this and can help with possible solutions.
What distinguishes you from the other candidates?
I have the ability to hold developers’ feet to the fire because I have this vast experience in the development and building industry and I am well-connected. My former organization is made up of over 700 member companies, including the City of Chestermere, and REPRESENTS the Building Industry and Land Development in the Calgary Region. I sat alongside industry experts, administration and politicians as they negotiated the MANY issues pertaining to building and land development. I know there are issues from all sides. I took the minutes for HUNDREDS of meetings and know how to negotiate on YOUR behalf.
What issue is not getting enough attention?
Community connectivity. The organization I worked for represents SMART growth, COMPLETE communities and AFFORDABLE housing. Depending on where you live in Chestermere, you may have a hard time getting around or even getting to the necessary amenities. For example, Seniors housing should be planned in or near areas that are already established. I live in Kinniburgh. I know how unestablished the South East side is as I cannot get gas or groceries without driving for at least a half-hour round-trip, and I cannot walk to a corner store because we don’t have one! I will ensure wherever seniors housing is established this won’t be a problem. If things stay the way they are, we WILL need transit, and that WILL raise taxes.
How can we best contact you?
Please email and include your phone number. Let me know how best to reach you. I can also arrange a face-to-face meeting if you prefer. Laurianne@laurianneSchell.com
THANK YOU, CHESTERMERE!
Sept. 26, 2017
I am running, out of passion for my community and my desire to serve. I love my neighbours and I am proud of this beautiful city where I chose to build my first home.
Incorrect or incomplete information. Misinformation is poisonous and can taint the views of many in a much shorter time than to learn the facts. Knowledge is power. Damage control takes time and money. Most working folks cannot take time out of their day to attend council and committee meetings, nor to read meeting minutes, policies, reports, proposals, etc. They do not have access to the information necessary to make informed decisions. Meanwhile, decisions are being made on our behalf while we remain unaware of potential future impacts. Video resources, internet links, newsletters and advertisements can be used to make this information much more accessible. Residents need to know more about the planning of our city so they can understand and not speculate where they fit into these plans.
Crime. Any one of us can be a victim. Shortly after settling in Chestermere my family suffered a car theft and home invasion robbery while we were asleep upstairs. Connected communities where neighbours watch out for each other are effective deterrents. I went door-to-door, getting to know our neighbours and warning them to not leave their garage doors open or car doors unlocked. I also joined Chestermere Citizens on Patrol, which alongside Block Watch, are effective resources that operate here through volunteer involvement. It is necessary for every resident of Chestermere to become involved to prevent crime.
If you are elected what will your focus on council be?
I will focus on people and on facts. I have no time for conjecture, gossip, or unfounded accusations. Facts can shut down any argument. If I do not know something, I intend to find out. Honesty is the best policy and full transparency builds allegiance. I will be the voice of residents when in council chambers and I will fully inform those I represent.
I have spent roughly 5 years total on the Board of Directors for Calgary Evergreen Community Association (CECA), serving as Newsletter Editor and Assistant Webmaster, and on the Board for Somerset/Bridlewood Community Association (SBCA), as Volunteer Coordinator. In Calgary, a Community Association (CA) is established in each community to represent the unique needs of its residents. CAs report to the Federation of Calgary Communities (FCC), which then reports to the City of Calgary www.calgarycommunities.com/about-us/who-we-are.
Until very recently, I worked with an organization that is “the respected, unified voice advocating for the building industry in Calgary and the Region,” of which the City of Chestermere is a member www.bildcr.com. I took meeting minutes for the Board of Directors and Executive Committee, as well as several standing committees. Through this experience I gained a vast wealth of knowledge from the industry experts, government leaders and administrative professionals responsible for building some of the best communities in the world. I sat in on negotiations with the City of Calgary, the City of Airdrie, Rocky View County, and the Shallow Utilities Consortium (represents ENMAX, ATCO, TELUS and Shaw), among others. I realize the importance of proper community engagement, the dissemination and distribution of factual information, and accurate recording and reporting.
These past roles taught me the importance of careful consideration and collaboration in order to avoid policy creep, an “increase in number and size over time until they are unmanageable, resulting in over-complex procedures that are often misunderstood, followed with great irritation, or ignored… created by changing groups of people over extended periods of time, the constant state of flux in such groups often leads them to add or modify policies, rather than simplifying or consolidating existing ones. This can result in considerable overlap in the message of directives, at the expense of clarity, efficiency, and communication… This tends to antagonize others, even when it appears to the instigators that they are acting with proper intent.” – taken directly from the Wikipedia definition of “instruction creep”.
Policy creep (as defined above) is expensive! When federal, provincial and municipal government policy is layered one overtop of the other, not to mention building codes and zoning laws, an exorbitant amount of time must be spent to decipher it all. As you know, time is money. Projects often stall out in the process, while staff, services and taxes must be paid in the interim.
I listen and I learn. I want to know WHAT is happening and WHY, through research and discussions with those at the heart of the issues.
I believe in simple solutions, whenever possible. The rules must be understood before the game is played. Decisions must first be thought through on all levels and from all angles.
I realize the importance of this role. I have experience sitting alongside politicians and industry experts while they debate topics that will affect thousands of people. I will be diligent and committed. I do not have plans to hold any other employment.
I will continue to investigate why things are the way they are now in our city. When elected, I will work alongside the newly-elected mayor and councillors to formulate the best strategies for the issues that matter most to citizens of Chestermere. (We all know what those are so I will not start listing them here… I just deleted my rather long list!)
I moved to Chestermere in February 2015 with my husband and two children that both now attend Chestermere High School. We have gotten to know many people through church through helping organize our Block Parties. This past summer I became involved with the Connect & Belong pilot program through the City of Chestermere, and helped organize the first Neighbourhood Party for my community. Neighbours may have also seen me walking my dog around our storm pond.
I love research and talking to people to learn their stories. I make digital scrapbooks documenting my genealogy.
I prefer to spend locally. You will often see me shopping around town, eating out at local restaurants, or having fun with friends at the local pub.