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Unfinished business for Phil Turnbull

·3 min read

Phil Turnbull feels the work has been left undone.

The outgoing city councillor, whose bid for re-election was unsuccessful this week, can't help but look back on the past four years with a sense of disappointment in momentum lost.

"I wanted to run to finish the job that we had started in our first term," said Turnbull. "The first few years it was a bit hard to get things going that we really wanted to establish, but these last two years we have made some great inroads in the operations of our city with a strong strategic plan for energy.

"I'm disappointed that I won't be around to finish all those things we started."

Turnbull says council had worked hard to close gaps and balance the budget in the face of depleting city reserves, and he was proud of the way the group worked with each other.

"You can't do anything on council without working with the other councillors, you need the other councillors and the mayor to work with," he said. "I think I worked pretty good because of my business experience. I know what 'team' means ... Together Everyone Achieves More."

Turnbull fondly remembers the extensive time he spent working to understand the energy market, both electrical and gas, and is proud of the work he did as utilities chair. He also defended council's intentions within economic development, saying it was always about doing best for Medicine Hat.

"I think for years our city never really had a strategic plan that made any sense," Turnbull said. "Invest Medicine Hat has turned that around and, unfortunately, that seems to be a problem with some people in our city. Some even call it a conflict of interest, but we did do an audit and there was no conflict of interest."

He says planning is an important aspect of working on council.

"I think if you don't have a plan, then you leave yourself wide open to disaster."

Turnbull says the new city council will face a large learning curve once sworn in, and likened the running of a city to running a large company.

"All I will say is look, they ran, they put their names up, I admire anyone who does that," said Turnbull. "They ran good campaigns, they got elected and yes, enjoy that victory, I think that's great, but come Nov. 1, the hard work begins."

"I know most of the ladies on there, they're very, very bright and I don't see them having a problem," said Turnbull. "For me, gender is a non-issue. I don't care whether you're male or female, I just care about what you bring to the table."

Turnbull and his wife look forward to visiting their four kids and grandchildren more often. He said they'll also be able to travel more often since he won't be tied up in meetings or research.

"It'll just give me time to do the things that I like to do," said Turnbull. "In the summertime, gardening and golf, and in the wintertime, we look for the fun."

Turnbull served as councillor from 2010 to 2013 before finishing second to Ted Clugston in the 2013 mayoral race. Turnbull was elected once again as councillor in 2017 with the third highest number of votes.

LAUREN THOMSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News

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