Archive for ◊ August, 2018 ◊

31 Aug 2018 connecting our micro-communities
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Steinbach has many communities within its borders.  They are not identified in anyway but are small mico-communities.  We live on Appleton Place and our cul-de-sac is a community unto itself just like many other areas.  We get to know our neighbours, help out where we can and figure out how to live in harmony with each other.  In years past we used to have yearly barbecues in the middle of our cul-de-sac as we would get to know each other and who we where.  Interesting stories were told and it was another reason to wave or connect with each other.  

It is connecting  these miro-communities within Steinbach through bike and walking paths has been a focus that i have brought to council the last 12 years.  One of my favourite pathways is the one we built behind the soccer park in the property known as Bushfarm.  That land was purchased through the JJ Reimer estate, was divided into commercial frontage along highway 52 and green space for the soccer park along with one of the few original bush areas left in Steinbach.   The Southland church purchased the highway frontage piece leaving the green space area.  The monies from the sale of that property was then put towards the pathway and it connects the regional pathway that connects Ellice Ave, LA Barkman park and south to the Meadows.  

These pathways along with others in Steinbach connect communities and provide residents with opportunity to become more pedestrian by walking or cycling to other areas of Steinbach to shop, visit, exercise, attend church or what ever reason.  It provides our community a zero cost activity that is wholesome, safe and family orientated. 

It is for that reason that i have and will continue to advocate for a connecting pathway to Clearspring Greens on the north-east side end of Steinbach.  It is an area that is land locked by the golf course and private properties on the south side.  It is a project that has been looked at in the past by council but has always been set aside due to high cost of construction, negotiating with the golf course or private land owners.   I think it can be done by thinking outside the box and building consensus with all parties.  For me it is a matter of priorities and it is essential to providing Clearspring Greens with the same opportunities as the rest of Steinbach micro-communities to connect in a safe manner that is not part of a roadway.

24 Aug 2018 The Carillon Repost- Siemens joins growing field
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By: Grant Burr

Posted: 08/19/2018 4:00 PM

Jac Siemens will seek a fourth term on Steinbach city council in the Oct. 24 municipal election.

Sit with Jac Siemens at K.R. Barkman Park and he will tell you the story of every tree growing there. It is part of the long-term, institutional knowledge Siemens has after spending 18 years as a city employee and now 12 years more as a city councillor.

Siemens has announced that he’d like another four years as an elected representative of the citizens of Steinbach.

“Who knew when you start an adventure like this, how long that adventure goes on, but for the most part I just think where did those 12 years go,” said Siemens, as he revealed his announcement to The Carillon in a conversation at the aforementioned park.

Council colleagues like Chris Goertzen and Cari Penner are departing, while Earl Funk and John Fehr are running for mayor. Siemens knows the next council will be different, which is one of his motivations to run again.

“One of the biggest reasons is there is a change in the mayor’s position. We need the strength in council of some incumbents to stay. I think that’s important to continue,” he said.

Siemens believe the current council has done well with advocacy work, particularly in the area of senior housing, and also is pleased with improved relations with the RM of Hanover, including work that was done on the recent annexation.

That improved relationship has Siemens hopeful that other challenges, like recreation projects, can be made to happen through regional partnerships too.

“They too have recreation needs in the community of Mitchell and Blumenort…there’s got to be some energies that can be used to help Steinbach but also help our region,” he said.

“There is more of a willingness to work together on projects. They still have to answer to their own tax base but there’s an openness to listen at least.”

Siemens says his skills as a critical thinker with an ability to “see through to the heart of an issue” continue to make him a valuable asset to council.

Though he may be one of council’s longest serving members, Siemens isn’t out of fresh ideas.

As part of his announcement, the veteran councillor revealed a plan to offer a homeowner rebate, so that owners of older homes can get a tax rebate on the increased assessment portion if they upgrade their home for three years or until the home is sold.

“It would encourage homeowners to upgrade, help local business and tradespeople,” Siemens said.

“If you’re going to add $10,000 to $15,000 into your home but that’s going to mean you’re going to pay more taxes because your assessment goes up…why can’t the city cover the increase in that assessment.”

In addition to new ideas, Siemens maintains some of his old passions too, like the expansion of the regional pathway programs and a continued focus on connecting communities within Steinbach.

“We need to connect new developments by paths, so we become more pedestrian friendly with walking and cycling paths,” he said, offering another idea tied to his thoughts on regional thinking voiced earlier.

“Why can’t we begin to consider a pathway from Steinbach to Mitchell, that’s off the highway, but could get used on a regular basis and offer people a place to cycle to work or just recreational cycling?”

Providing low cost or no cost opportunities for families is important, he said.

“So that every time you go do something, it’s not dollars out of your pocket.”

Quality of issues means bigger projects still need consideration too, like addressing current aging recreation facilities while adding a soccer complex and performing arts centre.

Siemens says he’s disappointed they haven’t been able to get traction on these types of projects from other levels of government.

“We need to repackage it when we approach the province or feds for dollars…there’s gotta be a way to get that done,” he said.

“It’s about having a well-rounded community and the wellness of the people in it.”

24 Aug 2018 Where we come from…
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With our daughter getting married in late July we gathered in the hills west of Calgary to celebrate the wedding.  My wife Audrey comes from a Norwegian family (Aarhus family name) that settled in the Mensenio area in southeastern Manitoba in the early 1900’s.  So as with many gatherings we were able to get caught up with some of the ‘freindshaft” or relatives at the wedding along with those who chose to travel to the wedding from Manitoba.

17 Aug 2018 The Mission and Vision
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The last 3 terms have been an ongoing learning experience that has provided me with an opportunity to add my voice in how Steinbach functions as it continues to experience growth.  This next council will look very different with a new mayor and at least 3 new councilors.

My mission is to promote healthy living within a safe community by building strong partnerships and sustaining manageable growth.  

To meet my mission I provide the following vision;

A strength from the last three terms of council has been the focus on advocacy

  • seniors housing, which is in the design stage with the Rest Haven Group
  • recreation needs like the splash park and more walking/biking pathways
  • regional agreements like the annexation agreement with RM of Hanover
  • provincially thru AMM and federally thru FCM; ongoing granting requests like water treatment plant currently under construction, infrastructure funding, gas-tax revenues

The focus on advocacy needs to continue with the new council so our voice is heard at the regional, provincial and federal levels.

Continue to work at making Steinbach more pedestrian by growing our walking/bike pathway system, provide bike racks downtown and build on the share the road program.  Like the splash park build more no or low cost of use recreation that is family friendly.

Council needs to continue to focus on our infrastructure.  We have a great track record of keeping our infrastructure in very good shape due to planning our replacement of sewer, water and streets.   While it isn’t a great discussion point in different areas it does provide us with opportunity of grow our city.

We need to continue work on replacing ageing recreation facilities and add an indoor soccer complex along with a performing arts facility.  While many plans have come forward a strong commitment from the local RM’s along with Provincial and Federal grant programs are a must.  The capital expenditure is one thing to plan for but a true understanding of long term operating costs needs to be part of the discussions.

Want to promote for the City of Steinbach to implement a program that we can rebate home owners with older homes that want to upgrade their home then the City provide the homeowner a tax rebate on the increased assessment portion for a period of 3 years or home is sold.  It would encourage homeowners to upgrade, help local business and trades people.

Continue to build partnerships with community groups and neighbouring RM’s by providing them opportunity to access council so we can hear their voice in how they serve the community.  Partner with Steinbach Arts Council, the Chamber of Commerce, Steinbach Fire Department, RCMP and Mennonite Heritage Museum, minor sports groups and different areas of the community. 

We all have a vision for our community, and working together, I am confident we can make Steinbach a safe place to raise a family, live, ride a bike, work & worship.

17 Aug 2018 signs are ready
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