Airdrie businessman and sports club founder Darell Belyk has announced his plans to run for alderman in the fall municipal election.
“My slogan is ‘pulling for Airdrie’ and that’s what I am doing,” he said.
“I am open to suggestions and I will ask residents what they are thinking before I make a decision. I need your support to be a good leader.”
Belyk is the owner of an Airdrie-based safety consulting business and he founded the Claws of Airdrie, the only arm wrestling club in the city.
Belyk became interested in politics at an early age when he shook hands with Calgary Mayor Rob Sykes in Grade 8. In the mid-1990s, Belyk got to know Mayor Al Duerr and realized his passion for politics.
“It really opened my eyes to my municipal responsibilities,” he said
“I would love to be part of the development of Airdrie and would respect the trust that Airdrie residents put in me. My heart is really in it and I am trustworthy, friendly and approachable.”
Belyk sat on the Airdrie Regional Recreation Board from 2004 until 2006, is a member of Airdrie Citizens on Patrol and is the past president of an Alberta sports association. Belyk has been researching alderman’s responsibilities by attending City council meetings for the past nine months.
“I have been talking with individual council members in a proactive way to learn how council works,” he said.
“(I’ve learned) in complex situations, you must listen to the people you are representing. You are always looking for ways to achieve a win-win situation.”
Belyk says the biggest issue facing Airdrie is managing growth.
“Good growth management needs to have a forward vision,” he said.
“You need to know what the community will look like in three, five, and 10 years and know how you are going to get there.”
He listed other important community issues such as attracting new businesses to Airdrie, reducing taxes, making Airdrie an environmental leader and increasing the number of schools in the city.
“I see a change in the composition of communities in the future,” he said.
“I think we will see less single-family homes and more storefronts with apartments on top. We will see more people working in Airdrie and more walkable communities, which leads to a healthier lifestyle and reduces the environmental footprint.”
Belyk has lived in Airdrie for 10 years, after relocating from Calgary where he was born and raised.
“We wanted to come out to a smaller community where we could contribute,” said Belyk.
He said the only downside to being on council will be juggling his family life and civil responsibilities.
“It will be a delicate balancing act. As much as I love serving my community, I also love spending time with my family,” he said.
“I have always been fairly involved and have balanced everything so far so I’m confident I will be able to do that.”
He said his wife Karlene, seven children and seven grandchildren are supportive of his decision to run for council.
“They know once I’m committed to something, I go at it full-bore,” he said.
“I’m a positive person and about 99 per cent of the time, the things I take on work out.”
For more information on Belyk, visit www.darrellbelyk.com