The Heron Era of Alberta Municipalities is drawing to a close, setting the stage for a pivotal election as municipal leaders from across the province prepare to gather in Edmonton for their annual Trade and Convention Show.
Cathy Heron, the Mayor of St. Albert, has presided over the Municipal organization in Alberta for the past two years. Her tenure followed in the footsteps of Barry Morishita, who vacated the role in 2020 to become the Leader of the Alberta Party.
With Cathy Heron's two-year term set to conclude next week, the spotlight is now on the contenders who have emerged as potential successors to lead Alberta's municipal affairs.
Three candidates have thrown their hats into the ring for the coveted role of President of Alberta Municipalities. They include Andre Chabot - City of Calgary Councillor, Tyler Gandam - Mayor of Wetaskiwin, and Trina Jones - Mayor of Legal.
Gandam currently serves as the Director - Cities up to 500,000 on the Alberta Municipalities Board, while Jones represents Towns East. Notably, Chabot previously contested the Alberta Municipalities President position against Heron in 2021.
Director Elections Heat Up
The elections for Directors in various categories are generating considerable interest and competition. A crowded field of candidates vies for two positions of Director of Cities up to 500,000. Candidates include Councillor Dylan Bressey - City of Grande Prairie, Councillor Lawrence Lee - City of Red Deer, Councillor Belinda Crowson - City of Lethbridge, Councillor Erin Stevenson - City of Spruce Grove, and Councillor Tina Petrow - City of Airdrie.
The competition for Director of Towns East comes down to two leaders. Mayor Karl Hauch - Town of Bruderheim, and Mayor Trina Jones - Town of Legal.
For the Director position representing Villages South, municipal leaders from across the province will select between Deputy Mayor Deborah Reid-Mickles - Village of Duchess, and Mayor Bruce McLeod - Village of Acme.
Two positions were acclaimed. Mayor Tara Elwood from the Village of Alberta Beach will serve as Director - Villages West. The role of Director Villages West was needed due to a vacancy on the board. Mayor Ren Giesbrecht of the Summer Village of West Cove will take on the role of Director - Summer Villages.
The positions of Vice-Presidents will be determined based on the results of the Directors and Presidential Elections. The vote for Vice-President Villages and Summer Villages comes down to two candidates current Vice President Mayor Bruce McLeod of the Village of Acme, is being challenged by Deputy Mayor Deborah Reid-Mickler of the Village of Duchess.
Running for the position of Vice President Towns are Incumbent Vice President Mayor Trina Jones from the Town of Legal, and challenger Councillor Krista Gardene from the Town of Calmar.
Subject to the outcome of the Director of Cities up to 500,000, Vice President of Cities up to 500,000 is being contested by only one candidate - Councillor Dylan Bressey - City of Grande Prairie.
As the Heron Era comes to a close, the election represents an opportunity for change and a fresh vision for Alberta's municipalities.