Airdrie City council will have two new members once the newly elected are sworn in Oct. 23. Al Jones and Tina Petrow will be joining incumbents Ron Chapman, Kelly Hegg, Darrell Belyk and Candice Kolson, along with incumbent mayor Peter Brown on council.
“I think I stayed true to what I wanted to do (during my campaign),” Petrow said as she explained why she thought she’d garnered enough votes to secure a seat on council. “I didn’t compromise myself in any way. I was just positive and got out and talked to people.
“It’s overwhelming. I feel these guys have a lot more experience than me but I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn from them.”
Jones said he was relieved once the final poll reported in and he learned he was elected.
“This is a big city when you go door-knocking and I was a little concerned I’d not done enough doors and not talked to enough people,” he said. “I’m glad folks got my message and I want to thank everyone who supported me with their vote.”
Chapman earned the most votes – 5,591 – and said he was overwhelmed by the support. He said learning to work with the new councillors would be the first challenge council would face, but then it would be time to get to work on the issues.
“We have growing pains with the city. We have infrastructure needs we need to keep on top of – we’ve got so much work to do,” he said.
Now the longest serving councillor, Hegg said he also believed the new council had a lot of work ahead.
“Growth is always a challenge. We’re just at the five per cent mark now and we always said in the past that if we got to this point, that gave us breathing room. I think we’ve heard what citizens have had to say in terms of things like traffic, the need for possibly another recreation centre – those are the two big focuses right now,” he said.
Kolson and Belyk were elected to serve second terms on council. Belyk said he was honoured to have been voted in for a second term.
“We’ve got a lot of work in front of us and I look forward to being a part of it all,” he said.
Kolson said it was “humbling to know that the community finds value in the work I have done for the last four years on City council.”
Hegg garnered the second most votes – 5,409 – followed by newcomer Jones at 5,343, Kolson at 4,423, Belyk at 3,608 and Petrow at 3,329. The only incumbent not to win his seat was Allan Hunter who placed eighth in the field of 23 with 2,812 votes. Fred Burley – who had been the longest serving councillor on council – decided to take a run at the mayor’s seat but was unsuccessful. (See story on page 2.)
All six of the elected councillors anxiously waited for the results at City Hall Oct. 16. Turnout at the polls was better than in 2013 when a mere 17 per cent of eligible voters cast a vote. According to the City of Airdrie, voter turnout this election was 24.15 per cent or 10,976 out of 45,444 eligible voters.
The results remain unofficial until noon on Oct. 20. The new council will be sworn in Oct. 23 at City hall.