St. Albert mayor elected president of Alberta Municipalities

St. Albert Mayor Cathy Heron was elected president of Alberta Municipalities at the newly renamed organization's annual three-day convention in Edmonton last week.

Heron, who previously served as the vice-president for cities with populations up to 500,000, pledged to "bring rural municipalities into the fold," reported St. Albert Today.

"I'm going to make sure that municipal issues are heard loud and clear, so we can get a government that will understand and work with us," Heron said at the convention after being elected to a two-year term.

The organization rebranded from the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) to Alberta Municipalities on the first day of the event, when it also launched a new website and logo. Legal changes to the name will be put to a special resolution at the Municipal Leaders Caucus next March.

According to the Edmonton Journal, interim president Angela Duncan said the association refreshed its name in part because many of its members don't relate to the term "urban" and want to define themselves as municipalities and communities.

A portrait of Cathy Heron, a smiling woman with a rose in her lapel

Mayor Cathy Heron was elected as the president of Alberta Municipalities on Nov. 19, 2021. (Supplied)

While Heron had attended meetings and fulfilled duties in her previous position with the advocacy organization, some local councillors were worried that taking on the president role would result in less time serving St. Albert residents.

But Heron said every president is different, and she wouldn't necessarily aim to lead the same way her predecessor, Barry Morishita, did, reported St. Albert Today. The former mayor of Brooks stepped down earlier this year to take over leadership of the Alberta Party.

"(Morishita) did have more time on his hands, and he did travel around Alberta and go to every municipality in the entire province and meet with people," Heron said. "That will not be something I intend to do."

While some councillors were initially cautious, others thought Heron's position could give St. Albert a strong voice at the provincial level.

Heron was first elected mayor of St. Albert in 2017, and served as a councillor for two terms before that.