Another High River council hopeful wants to kick start the business community.

David Moretta and his wife Danielle Smith operate the Whistle Stop Cafe in the train car next to the Museum of the Highwood and says its success shows what can be done.

"For the last four years Danielle and I have been restoring, rebuilding and relaunching that business and I'm really optimistic and really happy about doing business in downtown High River," he says. "We've just had the busiest summer that we've ever had at the train and I see as a business owner downtown there's a huge amount of potential down there and this is the absolute right moment to be able to take advantage of that."

If there's a silver lining to COVID at all it's that a lot of people from the city are not able to travel so they're looking at doing small day trips into the smaller towns around the area and High River, and the Whistle Stop are benefiting from that, according to Moretta.

He'd like the business community to get organized and promote the town the way they see is the best to draw in business and customers.

Moretta says that would bring in more visitors, more interesting businesses, more residents and a larger tax base which will help the town do more.

He credits the last two councils for their work to get the town back on track after the flood with mitigation and infrastructure work and says now is the time to switch focus into economic development in the downtown core.

"I think that we need to accept that we need to be more visitor oriented and we can move in that direction but it has to be lead by businesses, they have to be the ones that say 'this is what we need to do and we need to commit to being able to do that', Moretta says. "The weekends at the train are our busiest days and yet most other businesses in the downtown are closed, we all need to accept that if it is going to be visitor oriented those things need to change."

As for the swimming pool referendum, he's willing to listen to voters wishes as they are expressed at the ballot box.

"I think it is an important thing for attracting young families and new residents to town so I would not be opposed to the expansion, but I will listen to what the public has to say on that."

Moretta spent 25 years in broadcast media including as managing editor of Global News Calgary, overseeing multi-million dollar budgets with a large unionized workforce.

He's also a Reserve Officer with the Royal Canadian Air Force and with the 187 Cadet Squadron at the High River Airport providing leadership and citizenship training.

In the community Moretta's been on the board of the Museum of the Highwood, a member of the Rotary Club and the Legion.


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