Wade Pilat is no stranger to the city council chambers, having served as councillor from 2017 to 2021. He has decided after a year’s break that it's time to return.
Pilate added his name to the ballot in the byelection for Oct. 17.
The position opens after the death of coun. John Lehners on July 17.
“Having a year pause and have the opportunity to come back, it just it seemed like the right fit for my life,” Pilat told Town & Country News.
“I think the biggest thing is the history of having the experience being at the table for those four years taught me a lot of very valuable lessons about what it takes to make council work and make the community work.
“I'm excited about potentially being back involved with that big four-year budget that's coming up.”
Pilat said his experience would help in being able to jump right into budget meetings, scheduled to take place less than a month after the byelection.
He said there is a lot of learning involved in understanding the processes and how everything works.
Moving forward, Pilat’s priorities will focus on the community, he said.
“I think you just got to listen to the community.
“I mean, the community ebbs and flows, and it makes changes at times where you don't see it coming, and I love being part of a lot of conversations and getting out and actually meeting with people and hearing what they have to say.”
With two daughters, 12 and 13, playing competitive volleyball and basketball, Pilat says he is aware of the opportunity that court sports can bring to a municipality.
“I got to see a lot of other facilities and really see the demand and what court sports can bring us, and there's so much economic opportunity for our region,” he said.
Pilat is no stranger to the city, having been a resident for more than 45 years. He owns a business and has been self-employed since he was 21, he said.
He is a member of the Grande Prairie & District Chamber of Commerce, Grande Prairie Public Library, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and the Grande Prairie Home Builders Association where he served as president.
“Government and business can be very different at times, so those experiences helped me with my path to politics, I guess, one way or another, realizing how to work within that system.”
He noted his relationship with the business community of Grande Prairie had given him much insight into how the city should be built, developed, grow, and managed.
“I hope people get out and vote,” said Pilate.
“It's only one person, but that one person could make a big impact on the community, and so I hope they take the time to educate themselves on all the candidates running and get out and vote.”
As of Sept. 9, Robin Rochon, Bryan Petryshyn and Kevin McLean are also included on the nomination list.
Two advance voting days are set for Oct. 8 and Oct. 15 at the Montrose Cultural Centre.
The estimated cost of the byelection to the city is $129,980, which covers temporary wages, automated voting, ballots, marketing, advertising, facility rentals, and other related expenditures, says the city.
Candidate nominations will close on Sept. 19 at noon.
To be eligible to run for council, a resident must be at least 18 years of age, a Canadian citizen, and a resident of Grande Prairie since March 19, 2022.
Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News