Lessoned Learned as an Entrepreneur

I am the co-owner of RavenWolf Brewing Co and as an entrepreneur, I've learned a few lessons.
With a "spark" of an idea and dream in our hearts we recycled an old building in the industrial area and created RavenWolf Brewing Co, a local microbrewery and taproom with a focus on community connections! We now employ 16 local residents of all ages and backgrounds. In the spirit of being "IN" "FROM and "FOR" our community, we contribute to many programs for youth, single moms, and those experiencing homelessness. Being an entrepreneur I have learned life lessons about the value of INTEGRITY - keep your word, be honest, truthful, and dependable. The importance of COMMUNITY - everyone benefits from a community and belonging. And always give back to your community! The benefits of making strong FINANCIAL business decisions because they affect the entire organization and help us to meet our objectives and goals.
RavenWolf is also a proud member of the Greater Parkland Regional Chamber of Commerce, whose main function is to promote interest in local business possibilities, improve their value, visibility, and credibility; share news, ideas, and best practices. Because another thing I have learned is, that no one does it alone!  We are all stronger together. 
These business lessons I would bring with my unique perspective into the role of City Councilor if elected on Oct. 18th.

Affordable Housing

For the past 2 years, I have been involved with the Meridian Housing Foundation Committee’s Capital Campaign for Folkstone Manor. Meridian Housing Foundation’s mission is to provide and manage independent, supportive and affordable housing for seniors in our Region. Folkstone Manor is one of the area’s few affordable facilities for seniors with several units being prioritized for Veteran’s occupancy. Last week as a committee we were able to tour the almost completed facility. All the units and common areas are of universal design for greatest accessibility and support of aging-in-place. Meridian Housing Foundation has already purchased land for its next affordable housing project which is a lodge to be located in Spruce Grove.  A senior's Lodge provides housing for senior citizens at affordable monthly rents and offers accommodations to those who no longer wish or are who are unable to maintain an independent household.

One of the greatest challenges our community faces is seniors who have outgrown their family homes or are living in adult complexes but desire to move to a place that is smaller, needs less upkeep, or to a accommodations that provides supportive services.  There aren’t enough options and/or the cost is prohibitive for many. There continues to be adult duplex areas and senior apartment/condos to purchase that is being built in Spruce Grove but they are not affordable for most seniors. I hope to continue to research ideas, work with other regional partners to find common-sense solutions to provide a variety of AFFORDABLE accommodations in our city.  My aging mother and grandchildren who live in Spruce Grove enjoy the benefits of having family to support them emotionally and physically when needed. All families should have that option! Our seniors should be able to age-in-place and enjoy their golden years close to family, friends, and the area they have called home for many years.

Affordable housing challenges in Spruce Grove don’t stop just with seniors. There are significant differences in housing needs among single adults, households with children, new immigrant families, people with disabilities, those transitioning from homelessness, LGBTQ2S+, victims of domestic violence, and individuals struggling with mental health and addictions.  They all require different types of accommodations. One single approach cannot adequately address all our residents’ housing needs. Instead, we need a range of operating models, capital contributions, engagement, creative ideas, and community partnerships to address the lack of access to affordable housing in our community for all. I think we can look to the successes of other communities around the world and learn what has worked and how they have implemented successful plans. It takes people in our City to have the "spark" of ideas, to put in the efforts and to willing to ask others to join and work together for the benefit of us all. 


Photo Radar

Photo radar is a hot topic in our community and people have strong opinions on the subject.

I believe Automated Traffic Enforcement (ATE), or photo radar, was first implemented in our community for safety and I fully support a safer community. Studies show that for every 5 km/h over 60km/hr, a pedestrian that is struck has an increased risk of becoming a fatality. Photo radar is proven to provide benefits and change driver behaviours, but I think to be truly used for safety the cameras should be located in school and playground zones and other high pedestrian areas. What’s with the half-hidden behind bushes practice that I see so often on Highway 16A and Century Road? To be effective in reducing speeding, photo radar vehicles have to be visible. Drivers have to know it’s there and they will modify their driving and slow down. I’m in favour of keeping ATE for red light and stop sign infractions as this lessens “runners” and decreases intersection collisions.

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The Passion Behind the Platform

You have a choice with your vote on October 18, 2021. You may be wondering, why choose Jan GILLETT for City Councilor? What makes her stand out, what's her platform and how is she going to contribute and represent you? I’m happy to tell you.

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Have you been to the Spruce Grove Public Library lately?  The SGPL is not the quiet, whisper-filled place of the past. It’s become fun and bustling place where anyone can hang out, meet people, play video games, take a course, program robots, do a puzzle with your grandkids… and still take out books and other materials! It's a place to "check-in to life!"

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My Drive to Improve Access to Transportation

One of the issues I’m very passionate about is accessible transportation in, around, and out of Spruce Grove.

There is a strong connection between transportation and mental health — without access to public transportation, patients have less resources as they are unable to get to the services (medication pickup, doctor visits, therapist appointments) they need. Additionally, everyone’s mental health, not just those in care programs, is improved with a robust transit system. Can you imagine not being able to get to a job you loved because it’s too far to walk and no bus goes to that location? How many gatherings with friends and family would you miss? Not being able to go beyond your neighbourhood — and therefore missing out on parks, festivals, events, attractions, or educational opportunities — can contribute to depression and stress. Public transportation helps everyone — commuters, families, students, senior citizens, persons with disabilities — maintain a high level of transportation independence.

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Shop Local

I believe cities thrive because the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and healthy! Supporting our small local business is important because when we buy local, significantly more of our money stays in and benefits the community. Entrepreneurs which include family-owned businesses are the backbone and lifeblood of small and mid-sized cities like ours. Local business owners are more likely to use other local businesses like banks and service providers. They are more often the ones that contribute to local causes, sponsor sports teams, and donate to non-profits. Locally owned businesses create more jobs and in some cases offer better wages and benefits than chain stores do. When you shop at local shops, you are putting money into the pockets of workers who may be your neighbors or family members, and their income in turn is often spent in our city as well. Entrepreneurs pay taxes, fuel a new generation of entrepreneurs, and invest in community projects. This enables further development beyond their own ventures. 

There needs to be a balanced approach to our local economy. Right now I think we should be spending our time and efforts not on attracting any more big box stores. Let's focus on creative ideas to enhance and revitalize our downtown core attracting and increasing diversity of retail, services, and residential units. Locally owned and operated businesses are the economic, social, and cultural heart of our community.  Unfortunately, this past year has left many struggling and unsure if they can continue.  We could better spend our energies on the vital role local business plays in our community's economic health, and the financial pressures they are under, and what we as a municipal government can do to help them survive. 


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