Five new mayors bring fresh leadership to Edmonton-area municipalities

· The Pulse
By Nathan Fung
in the Regional Roundup
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Five communities in the Edmonton region will be welcoming new mayors — including some political newcomers — following the Oct. 18 municipal election.

Mayors from Edmonton and the 12 largest municipalities in the area make up the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board (EMRB), one of the major mechanisms for regional collaboration.

In addition to Edmonton's new mayor Amarjeet Sohi, here's a look at some of the new faces that will soon join the board and what they've said about regional relations.

Beaumont: City councillor Bill Daneluik beat incumbent John Stewart by 1,299 votes. He told Postmedia his focus would be to attract new residents, business opportunities and investment to Beaumont while maintaining its small-town identity.

Devon: Former mayor and councillor Jeff Craddock was victorious over incumbent Ray Ralph by 346 votes. Craddock's campaign focused on fiscal responsibility and criticized some of the town's recent spending decisions.

"During this past term there have been great things accomplished at great cost and some questionable planning," he wrote in a Facebook post.

Morinville: Businessman and home builder Simon Boersma defeated incumbent mayor Barry Turner by more than 900 votes. Boersma is a political newcomer, but previously served as president of the Morinville Chamber of Commerce, and works with the Rotary Club of Morinville.

Boersma told the St. Albert Gazette that, if elected, he would look into amalgamation with Sturgeon County, an issue that he'd brought up in 2020 with Morinville council. He proposed a specialized municipality to be made up of Bon Accord, Gibbons, Legal, Morinville, and Redwater, arguing it would reduce administrative costs and improve the town's residential and non-residential tax split.

He said he'd also look at pursuing city status for Morinville.

The municipal election was held Oct. 18. Among the new mayors selected by voters were some first-time politicians. (Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash)

Parkland County: Political newcomer Allan Gamble won the mayoral race with 2,889 votes. He will succeed Rod Shaigec, who is stepping away after more than a decade in the role.

Gamble's campaign focused on fiscal diligence, strategic development, agriculture, the environment, rural servicing, and public safety. He also pitched himself as a "team player at the regional table."

Spruce Grove: Jeff Acker won the mayoral race with 4,245 votes, replacing Stuart Houston who did not seek a second term. Acker spent almost 10 years on council, having served as an alderman from 2007 to 2013 where he sat on various Capital Region Board subcommittees. He returned to council in a 2019 byelection.

As a councillor, Acker sometimes took on the role of a devil's advocate. More recently, he voted against a bylaw banning conversion therapy in February 2020, saying the issue fell into the provincial government's purview.

On his website, Acker said one of his goals is to have "open, transparent, and inclusive collaboration" with various groups, including regional municipalities.

The mayors in these Edmonton-region municipalities were re-elected:

  • Gale Katchur in Fort Saskatchewan
  • Bob Young in Leduc
  • Cathy Heron in St. Albert
  • William Choy in Stony Plain
  • Rod Frank in Strathcona County
  • Alanna Hnatiw in Sturgeon County

The next EMRB meeting is scheduled for Dec. 9.