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Wetaskiwin county councillors contemplate 2017 municipal election
The County of Wetaskiwin council is guaranteed to see at least one new face after the 2017 municipal election coming up this fall.
Division 5 councillor Larry McKeever has announced to the Pipestone Flyer newspaper he will not be seeking re-election and is retiring from council at the end of this term.
McKeever has decided his 10th year serving on council will be his last.
“It’s been an honour and a privilege to serve and represent the residents and ratepayers of the County of Wetaskiwin. I wish nothing but the best for the incoming council,” said McKeever.
“We are so fortunate that our forefathers provided us the opportunity to have free and fair elections. I am troubled that so many people don’t exercise their right to vote; that some complain about things at the local coffee shop rather than to try and become involved and effect change. If you feel that no one in your division is worthy of your vote then you should run,” he added.
Council members Kathy Rooyakkers, Terry Van de Kraats, Garry Dearing, Keith Johnson and Lyle Seely will be seeking re-election come October.
Division 3 councillor Dearing says he was thinking about retiring from council after 25 years but instead is looking to serve one more term.
“I think I’m going to. I seem to be getting a lot of encouragement from the community,” said Dearing.
Dearing says he still has his health and would like to give another four years to council if re-elected.
“What I’ve heard from the community is they don’t think I’ve been there too long. They value the history I have,” he explained.
For Division 2 councillor Van de Kraats, the end of this term will wrap up his second term on council and he is seeking re-election to continue to serve the residents of the county.
“I believe with the knowledge I’ve obtained over the last couple terms I’ve figured I can serve the residents for another term, and do it well,” said Van de Kraats.
In seeking re-election Division 4 councillor Keith Johnson will be looking to serve his second term as a County of Wetaskiwin councillor.
There are many projects council has been pushing for during the 2013 to 2017 term and Johnson is hoping to continue his involvement as a councillor.
With continuing direction from the provincial government for communities to create inter-municipal development framework, and council’s work on the land-use bylaw, Johnson feels it is important to have councillors with at least one term experience sitting around the table. “I’d like to try and see (those) through.”
Serving reeve and Division 6 councillor Kathy Rooyakkers has a passion for county council and serving the residents of the county, and is seeking re-election for that reason. “I love what I do. I want to make a difference for the ratepayers.”
The end of this term will wrap up Division 7 councillor Lyle Seely’s first term on council. “I am going to run again.”
Seely says there are many projects he would like to stay a part of. “I feel I’ve been making a difference on council.”
The issue regarding RV usage in the county is currently a hot topic and one of the big projects for Seely, and he would like to see the 80 per cent compliance rate increase.
Lower non-residential tax rates and the Buck Lake boat launch are other areas Seely would like to see come through in the next few years.
Division 1 councillor Pearl Hay remains undecided as to whether she will be running again or not.