County of Wetaskiwin councillor set to retire

McKeever steps down after 10 years on council

After a decade of serving the County of Wetaskiwin and its residents on county council, Coun. Larry McKeever is retiring and will not be seeking re-election for another term in the approaching municipal election.

Prior to running in his first election in 2007 McKeever says the idea had never crossed his mind, and it was on the encouragement from neighbours that he entertained the prospect.

“I wasn’t that keen,” said McKeever.

“It main reason I ran was the incumbent was elected in 1992 … Nobody got to vote for 15 years,” he added.

McKeever says that year on nomination day he waited until five minutes before deadline to hand in his papers, just to see if there was going to be anyone running in Division 5 against the incumbent.

With creating a healthy democratic process in mind McKeever stepped up to the plate. “I just wanted someone to run against him.”

But three terms later McKeever says it is time for him to step aside and make room for a new councillor at the table.

“When I first ran I said I would only run for two terms and I broke that rule, I ran for three. It’s time for some new blood,” said McKeever.

From his first day on council to the end of this first term, to his entirety of time as a councillor, McKeever says it has been a learning process with some steep curves in the beginning.

“My first two terms I wasn’t as successful as I would like,” said McKeever, referring to votes when he majorly sat in a minority position.

McKeever says even when it may have been the unpopular opinion in the room he has always tried to ensure his decisions and votes were best for the ratepayers.

One example McKeever gives is from January 2008. “Council voted itself a 30 per cent raise; 6-1 vote. That was wrong, totally wrong.”

“It’s been very challenging. I haven’t won as much as I’d like. But the few things I have won I take a lot of pride and satisfaction in,” he added.

McKeever says throughout his time on council it has been his strategy to plant ideas, seeds, and nurture them until they sprout for the county. For him, allowing quads and snowmobiles to ride in county ditches was a priority from day one. Six years later it took effect.

“Ice and water rescue is another. It took eight years,” said McKeever.

“I was actively involved when the school board tired to shut 75 per cent of our rural schools down. That would have decimated the community,” he added.

McKeever is a veteran of the banking industry, and prior to settling along Wizard Lake often travelled and moved around for his work.

McKeever and his wife cottaged on their land from 1991 to 1998. “I built our house in ‘98.

He has family in the Pigeon Lake area and searched for years for land around that lake before happening upon the land at Wizard Lake. “I just wanted to live at a lake.”

With his impending retirement, McKeever says he will miss the challenges that come with serving on council. “I enjoy a challenge and I’ve always enjoyed the interaction.”

With the new election he would like to see more people get involved and get excited. “I think that makes for a healthier democracy.”

For any new councillors and the new council, McKeever says one main piece of advice, “Keep an open mind and be respectful of others’ opinions.”

amelia.naismith@pipestoneflyer.ca

Just Posted

Let the Games begin!

Team Alberta takes home gold and silver in speed skating on day one

WATCH: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

Athletes’ medals unveiled at the official kick-off of 2019 Canada Winter Games

Medals depict Central Alberta landscape and pay tribute to First Nations

Alix resident captures beams of light near Lacombe

Lacombe, Blackfalds, Red Deer photos have since gone viral around the world

WATCH: Canada Winter Games are finally here

Final leg of torch relay kicked off at Fort Normandeau

‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’: Seven children die in Halifax house fire

A man and woman remained in hospital Tuesday afternoon, the man with life-threatening injuries

Payless to close 248 Canadian stores, saying it’s ‘ill-equipped’ for market

The company will begin closing stores at the end of March

Make sure measles shots up to date, Public Health Agency says

Measles causes high fever, coughing, sneezing and a widespread painful rash

Team Alberta takes exciting victory in wheelchair basketball, remains undefeated

After three games in the tournament, Alberta is sitting in first place of its pool

UPDATED: ‘Violent’ B.C. man back in custody after Alberta arrest

Prince George man with ties to Vernon was being sought by police

After a week away, SNC-Lavalin questions await MPs returning to Parliament

Two have resigned already: Jody Wilson-Raybould was veterans affairs minister and Gerald Butts was Trudeau’s principal secretary

Chanel: Iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld has died

He spent virtually his entire career at luxury labels catering to the very wealthy

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Body found after apparent house explosion in Calgary, police investigating

Sgt. Dwayne Lepchuk declined to say whose remains were found

Most Read