Municipal Election 2021: Town of High Prairie – Candidates for Mayor

Brian Panasiuk

I want to thank everyone for the opportunity to be your mayor for the last four years. It has been an honour and a privilege to have represented the town.

I have decided to run again for mayor as there are a few things that council has started that I want to see through to completion. One item is to get fibre to the home/business. High-speed connectivity will be huge for our residents and businesses.

Another important issue is to improve the services available in our hospital. This is challenging as council does not have direct control over the hospital, however, we can keep lobbying the Province to get the services our community needs and deserves.

As you know we have been successful in getting a Dialysis Unit that will be opening at the hospital, but, we need to keep pushing for Obstetrics, Chemotherapy and a Helipad at our hospital.

Please remember to exercise your right to vote on Oct. 18.

Barry Sharkawi

After much thought and discussions with my wife Berlinda and family, I am happy to announce that I will be running for the position of mayor in High Prairie.

As a devoted husband and father to seven children, a resident of High Prairie since 1973, and local business owner/entrepreneur for over 18+ plus years. I have grown to love and appreciate this community and the people who make this “home”.

I have spent almost half a century in our town, I have been a part of countless provincial and federal boards, as well as many non-profit organizations. I am thankful for the many opportunities, as this resulted in making good connections and relationships with all levels of government. I am always striving to see the best outcome for our town, local businesses and our community members.

I understand how important health is in our community. While our High Prairie Health Complex is an excellent facility, I want to ensure we reach its full potential as a health facility. We have many families that struggle with various health issues that – unfortunately – require them to leave their home and their loved ones to get the service/treatment they need.

This is unacceptable! With the capabilities of our facility, no person should have to seek medical help away from home.

Mental health is also in a crisis situation in our region, especially with the current pandemic we are all a part of. Currently, our RCMP safely transport patients in distress to Grande Prairie for overnight monitoring, which can add more pressure on our police.

I am a huge supporter of the Enhanced Policing Program and would work towards more funding from the federal and provincial governments for this program. Ensuring the safety of all our friends and family is something I feel is very important in our community and surrounding areas.

As mayor, I would hold the line on tax increase and work with the administration to identify operational efficiency that may lead to lower taxes. I want to review the town’s utility management for efficiency there as well. During these trying times, we must avoid increasing taxes as much as possible.

I have proudly supported my four children as a single father through their school years well on into their post secondary years to become successful. I am now remarried and have three more children attending junior high and high school. As a supportive father/husband who loves seeing success in everyone’s families, I greatly see the need for further opportunities for educational programs locally and federal funding for our graduates to assist in helping families become successful. I want to see graduates not only get the best possible education for their future, but also bring their new skills and knowledge back into our community, the place they call home.

The family unit is important and I believe families need more activities to do together, living in a small town shouldn’t mean we have a limit on fun! I would love to see a seniors/family-friendly park at the old hospital site with horseshoe pits, lawn bowling, community garden, basketball courts, splash park, outdoor skating rink and other ideas coming from community members. With my experience working with federal and provincial governments, I know there is funding available for such projects and how to obtain funding for your family.

I am grateful that High Prairie is a hub for many surrounding communities, including our wonderful Indigenous neighbours. I have had the pleasure of working with many First Nations chiefs and Metis Settlement chairs and councillors and their members throughout the years. We come together to watch our kids play their favourite sport, we attend special events together, our children go to school together, and long-lasting friendships are made in our town. We have a lot in common and have similar goals and I want to work more closely to build stronger relationships and connections.

I have raised my family in this town and [hopefully] one day will see my own children and your children raise their own here as well.

Being a mayor is more than just a title for me, it is a duty and responsibility to the community one serves. I have a vision of our community becoming stronger together, our families healthy and thriving in every area of their life. With your support and your vote on Oct. 18, we can make the future of High Prairie a great one!

I would love to connect with you one-on-one or virtually if you prefer [Zoom], and address any questions you may have, you can call me directly at [1-780] 523-8552, or email [email protected] or send me a Facebook message.

Thank you for taking time to read this, I appreciate and value your time.

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