Airdrie welcomes two new council members
Airdrie residents voted on Oct. 21, to select the six aldermen to represent them for the next four years.
It was a clean sweep for the four incumbents, Kelly Hegg, Fred Burley, Ron Chapman and Allan Hunter as they were the top vote earners respectfully.
Adding to the mix, are two new faces joining council with Candice Kolson –manager of Airdrie Farmers Market - who received 2,423 votes and Darrell Belyk rounded out the top six with 2,315 votes.
The victory was especially sweet for Belyk, who missed out on an alderman seat by just seven votes in 2010.
“I felt like it was before an arm-wrestling competition, I was nervous and pacing around burning a hole in the carpet,” said Belyk, who is a former national arm wrestling champion.
“I was pretty confident going in though, I got out in the community more this year, I used more social media and I think it helped that I was one of the few candidates who had a platform based on youth strategies and helping the youth in our community.”
Belyk and Kolson replace Murray Buchanan and Glenda Alexander who chose not to run for re-election after a combined total of 30 years on City council.
Mayor Peter Brown says he is excited to work with the two new aldermen and added it’s a great credit to the work of the incumbents over the past three years to have them all re-elected.
“I know both Darrell (Belyk) and Candice (Kolson) personally and I think they will both be great aldermen,” said Brown.
“Darrell is a very well known member of this community and Candice is really reflective of this city’s demographic. We have a great mix of fresh blood and seasoned veterans on council and I’m looking forward to working with them.”
Kolson was not on hand at council chambers on Oct. 21, She chose to spend the evening at a smaller venue where Allan Hunter held his own supporter appreciation event, with family and friends.
She said she was overwhelmed by the results and spoke about the whirlwind of her campaign leading up to election day.
“I was the last candidate to submit my name so it was a bit of a struggle to catch up and let people know I was running,” said Kolson who is 31 years of age and the youngest member of council.
“It’s very humbling to be elected, especially as the lone female and the youngest member of council. People didn’t believe me when I told them that the majority of Airdrie is people under 40, so I’m happy that I am able to be a representative for that demographic.”
Local radio personality Rob Jamieson was another candidate running this year, Jamieson came up just shy, finishing seventh in voting with 2,016 votes, just 300 votes short of winning a seat.
“It’s a little bit disappointing, I was right in the thick of it up until the end,” said Jamieson.
“This was an awesome experience for me though and I had a lot of fun doing it; I’m happy with the council that has been chosen and I think they’ll do a fantastic job.”
The four incumbent winners said they were pleased with the results, to not only be re-elected but to be atop the voting numbers.
“It’s great to have the citizens’ support and to see all four incumbents at the top of the board,” said Burley, who received 3,446 votes.
“It shows that the citizens are pleased with the job we’ve been doing this past three years and they have confidence in us going forward.”
Chapman finished third in voting with 3,368 votes and said he was sweating this election more than he was in 2010 when he was first elected to council.
“The pressure this year was tenfold compared to last election because I had something to hold onto this time around, last time I was the new guy coming in,” said Chapman.
Veteran Alderman, Kelly Hegg received the highest number of votes with 3,833 and will be returning for his fourth term.
He was calm and collected after the final results were tallied and said he is already looking forward to working with the new team.
“I think having the four of us (incumbents) re-elected is a vote of confidence in the work we’ve been doing,” said Hegg. “We have a solid team here with two new voices who have proven themselves. We’ll get back to work with our organizational meeting and put our committees together by looking at where everyone’s talents and strengths can be utilized.”
Council will be back to work on Nov. 4 for their organizational meeting and their first City council meeting will be the following day on Nov. 5.
Rounding out the voting was Jane Anderson with 1,735 votes, Angela Pitt with 1,702, Mike De Bokx with 1,326, Kevin Hughes with 1,283, Kevin Galley with 970, Ken Maines with 524, Mohamed Benini with 343 and Richard Douglas Herdman with 256. The results of the election are not official until noon Oct. 25.
Brown acknowledged the hard work of all candidates and sent out a message of congratulations.
“I want to congratulate all of the trustee and alderman candidates who all had the best interest of Airdrie at heart,” said Brown. “It takes a lot to put your name out there and I commend everyone for their efforts.”