SAIT instructor and journalist Bruce Masterman, recently transitioned to the other side of the recorder by being elected a member of town council in High River in the Oct. 21 civic election.
“It doesn’t make it easier to deal with the media…having been in the media…because I’m so used to be the one asking the questions,” Masterman said. “I’ve been interviewed several times and it’s just a weird feeling.”
Masterman finished second in a field of 23 candidates for six council seats, with 1,700 votes.
He is a former Calgary Herald journalist who has taught in the Journalism program at SAIT since 2008.
Having lived in High River for almost 34 years with his wife and two daughters, 61 year old Masterman said he chose to change directions mainly to help bring his town back to life after the devastating flood that displaced its inhabitants and homes alike.
“The one thing that drew us [my family and I] to High River is the river, and it’s the thing that hurt the town so bad in June, but it’s a beautiful river,” he said.
With almost 70 per cent of the town getting flooded, Masterman said the only answer he could think of to give back to his town and make it worth living in again was to run for town council.
For the next four years, he will be serving his town with five other council members; Emile Blokland, Peter Loran, Cathy Couey, Dragan Brankovich and Don Moore.
“I really had to think about whether I wanted to make such a drastic life change, and I just kept thinking about the town and how, without the right leadership in place, [it] may not come back, and I’m just so sure that it will.” Masterman explained.
In order to bring the town back to its former glory, Masterman said his priorities include working with the province to make sure the flood doesn’t happen again.
Through better communications between council and the people, he hopes to implement a good emergency plan so that the town may be better prepared in the event of another catastrophe such as the June 2013 flood.
“So we have to work with the province to make sure that measures are put in place, and hopefully measures that don’t hurt the river.”
A possible diversion to move some of the water from the Highwood River around High River during high water events, other possible dam constructions to the west of High River and raising some berms in town are some solutions Masterman mentioned to help avoid another flood.
“I have to keep going back to the people. My number one thing is [to] make sure the people feel good about being there, that they move back and that they’re happy, confident and optimistic about the town,” Masterman said.
“I think we just need to build on that [spirit] and can’t let that be crushed.”