Archive for the Category ◊ Uncategorized ◊

18 Sep 2018 What campaigning looks like
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I do get the question every once in awhile asking how hard is it to campaign.  I used Strava app to map out a recent Saturday.  I was at 159 doors, walked 4.7 km in 2 hours and 49 min.  I try to average 30 secs per door.  The round it was just over 1 minute per door.  Considering that we have roughly 3500 doors in Steinbach I got a long way to go even at 30 sec per door it would take roughly 30 hours to cover everyone in Steinbach.

I have enjoyed the discussions and the passion people have for Steinbach.  I plan on being out 2 hours per night during the week and 4 hours on Saturday.  Hopefully i get to see you at  your door.    

05 Sep 2018 Supporting the Culture & Arts in Steinbach
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At the September 4th council meeting council approved a $65,000 matching grant to Steinbach Arts Council.  The Arts Council received a $65,000 grant from Federated Co-op which was awarded to the Arts Council through a application process.  Steinbach Arts Council was successful because of the commitment shown through the plan presented.

The building the Arts Council rents from the City of Steinbach has long needed repairs and this will help in creating a more positive learning environment for the roughly 1,000 people who go through the centre each week.  The building itself is an old structure built in 1936 as Steinbach’s first high school.  It has since become many things a junior high school, the site of the first Library for Steinbach, meeting place for community groups like AAA, 55 plus centre and the Arts Centre for roughly the last 15 years.

I fully support this as it covered the basic requirements of our granting policy.  The grant is supported in the request by private dollars as well as the grant from Federated Co-op.  The Arts Council in Steinbach has always been very active in fundraising for there needs and again demonstrates why we continue to have one of the best Arts & Culture programs in Manitoba. 

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.