Village of Beiseker's council facing impending changes
The Village of Beiseker will soon see changes to its council. A by-election will be held July 23 to fill a councillor position.
The position became vacant when former mayor Bruce Rowe became MLA for Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills in April’s provincial election.
Ray Courtman, who has been on council for more than 20 years, was voted by council to step into the role of mayor on May 14.
“Bruce and I worked very closely together. It’s been a very smooth transition.(Previous councillor) Brenda (Hnybida) moved out of town. Now we have Bruce - he’s moved on. We’re all very proud of that.”
“I’ve heard nothing negative. It’s good to get some new voices, a new view on things,” Courtman said.
There was a by-election in November to fill Hnybida’s seat after she moved, and Karen Ursu won by acclamation.
Courtman said Ursu has fit in, but is glad the new council member will be voted in by local residents.
“It would be cheaper to have somebody acclaimed, but it gets the issues out there,” he said.
There are three candidates who have put their names forward for the position.
Beiseker residents Warren Wise, Ken Nicholas and Melanie McCullough will vie for votes.
All three are fresh to the political world and agreed they have much to learn starting out.
“There’s a lot of skills and experience in council already,” said McCullough, Beiseker resident of eight years and receptionist at Optimum Wellness.
“At this point, it’s all about learning. When I go for something, I go all the way.”
She said she appreciates the home her family has made in Beiseker and that she supports local business.
“If the businesses succeed, it helps every single person living here. As a resident, we are shooting ourselves in the foot by shopping in Airdrie,” she said.
Nicholas, Beiseker resident of eight years and partner at John Beal Insurance in Calgary, has always had an interest in pursuing politics. He wanted to wait until his kids were older before putting his name forward.
“My kids had to be older. They had to understand why I was leaving my house in the evenings,” Nicholas said.
He has been out in the community, knocking on doors and talking to residents, and he said communication would be at the top of his priorities if elected as councillor.
“It’s nice to hear what they have to say. You put three people in a room and ask them the same question you’ll get three different answers.”
Wise, Beiseker resident of six years, put his name in for the councillor seat after being approached by several members of the community.
He has been involved in the community as president of the Beiseker Fire Fighters Association and with Stage East Dinner Theatre.
He said he wants “to see and have things done more efficiently.”
“I’m not a young person, so I have interest in seeing that seniors get treated properly,” he said. “We have some issues with the fire department, we would like to see that rectified and taken care of.”
All three candidates agreed the firehall was an important issue that needed attention in Beiseker.
“We have some issues with the fire department, we would like to see that rectified and taken care of,” Wise said.
“The fire department is an essential service,” McCullough said. “Right now we’re without a firehall. We want the firehall back, period,” Nicholas said.
“I haven’t made up my mind yet,” Courtman said as to who he favours in the election. “I would like to hear what everybody has to say then I will make up my mind and vote in the election like everybody else.”
The forum was held July 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the community hall (after press time).
Visit www.rockyviewweekly.com to find out more about the forum. Pick up a copy of next week’s edition of Rocky View Weekly for candidate profiles.