A council should balance the needs of every resident, and city councillor candidate Rich Harries said he brings a perspective that would help him do just that.
Harries and his family have called Morden home for a little over five years now. With his wife and three young children, Harries decided to lay down roots in the community after moving to the area because of his role with Access Credit Union.
For the past four years Harries has been chair of the Morden Police board. He is the treasurer for Morden Minor Hockey and has coached minor ball and volunteered with other sports.
Previously, Harries sat on the board of Canadian Western Agribition and a variety of national and international committees relating to economic development in the credit union sector.
Harries grew up in rural Saskatchewan, and said volunteering was a big priority in his family. He said one goal he has is to make Morden a community that his own kids would want to call home when they grow up.
“I’ve always had an interest in volunteering and serving the community and I think this is a really good opportunity to give back,” he said. “I think we have a great community in Morden, it’s home for us. I hope that we can create a community so that when my kids are older they choose to make Morden their home as well.”
Harries said one priority he carries over from the police board is traffic safety.
“We’ve been really focused the last few years on safety, whether that’s traffic safety or pedestrian safety,” he said. “We’re in a unique situation in Morden having two highways running through town, so we need to have an open dialogue and a good relationship with the province on the impacts of all that traffic going through the heart of our community.”
Another priority Harries has is to balance needs of every resident in the city. “I think I bring a different perspective from some of the other candidates,” he said. “I think it’s really important for us to balance the needs of all the sectors of residents in Morden. Whether it’s kids, families or seniors, all three groups are really important to the sustainability of the community and also the future of the community.”
“I think it’s important to balance the investments whether that’s infrastructure or programming, to attract and retain people in all three of those areas,” he added.
Harries also said there is an opportunity in regards to communication and transparency. “The city is spending taxpayer dollars, and it’s really important that we’re putting measurements in place so that we can reflect back on have we made good investments as a city, but also sharing that information with the community,” he said. “Making sure that we’re holding ourselves and the city accountable for each dollar of taxpayer money that’s spent.”
Harries said the mix of his professional, educational and volunteer experience makes him a good fit for the position. “My job is focused on advancing our organization strategically and I think that I would bring that perspective to the City of Morden,” he said. “I’m passionate about making it a better community and giving back and I think that I would be a good representative for the citizens of Morden.”