Originally published by the Cochrane Eagle on APR 20, 2017

Cochranite Dan Cunin broke the ice this week as the first potential candidate to throw his name in the ring for town council, filing his paperwork at the RancheHouse Tuesday morning.

Nomination day is Sept. 18 for the Oct. 16 municipal election. There were 13 candidates nominated to run in the 2013 election for the six councillor seats and three mayoral candidates.

The husband and father of twin daughters, Claire and Meghan, was also the first candidate to enter the race in 2013 – where he came in ninth place with 1,521 votes – and is again aiming to knock on every door in Cochrane, beginning next week.

Cunin, who is concerned that this present council has “pillaged our savings” by “throwing every last bit of what we have into one project (pool/curling centre)” said that thoughtful, prudent planning and responsible fiscal management will be the markers for the next council.

While he acknowledges Cochrane’s need for a new pool/multisport complex, he questions whether the planning phase was rushed and scope was too broad – resulting in project overruns and what he perceives as a fundraising shortfall.

He is dubious over whether any funds will be available to champion a flagship project – such as an arts and cultural centre, which is a capital project he would support.

He is also concerned over whether Cochrane’s accelerated development and unprecedented growth rate (fastest growing community with 47 per cent growth since 2011) is being managed in a sustainable way and would favour taking a more holistic approach at community planning – including planning for more than one way in and out of communities; he would like to see the Community Enhancement Evaluation (matrix) implemented during this term be taken further and wishes the Quarry would have exemplified better planning and fostered more walkability.

Interested in taking a bigger look at local transit, Cunin thinks the feasibility study is a “good start.”

He would also like to see increased public engagement, improved transparency and accountability which he hopes will translate to a better voter turnout than the last one at 33 per cent to avoid the “dilution of voices.”

Cunin, who commutes to Calgary to work for employment standards for the Government of Alberta, has called Cochrane home since 2003.

When asked about his political leanings, the University of Victoria grad in Social Work said “it depends”. A self-described “financial conservative”, he said many of his social values lean left.

With a background in child welfare, the Quesnel, B.C. native campaigned for the Green Party of Alberta in 2004 and ran for the party in 2008.

His political hero is the late Canadian amputee athlete, humanitarian and cancer research activist Terry Fox, for his “ability to get all levels of government to work together”.

Get in touch with him at dan4council@gmail.com.


Senior Reporter, The Cochrane Eagle