INNISFAIL - Danny Rieberger left town in late summer for a two-week break in British Columbia to be with family.
The two-term town councillor had big things on his mind. But he already made his decision on one important issue. He was leaving civic politics. It was time to shift his focus.
“My original plan was to do two terms, and I’ve done that, and there’s nothing to say I might not want to do it again in the future. Nothing says I am going to either but I am not going to say it couldn’t happen,” said Rieberger. “I leave that open as a possibility.”
Rieberger, 61, said he’s reached a point in life where he wants to spend more time with family. His recent holiday in Mission, British Columbia was to spend some quality time with his in-laws. He also wants to travel, and spend extra time following a nephew who is on the cusp of playing in the National Hockey League.
“He’s in the Tampa Bay prospects tournament this weekend, so he will be either be playing there or in Syracuse in the American Hockey League,” he said proudly. “I wouldn’t mind following him around a bit. It’s a good excuse to travel.”
The past eight years have been productive for Rieberger and the town. He has been a quiet but steady and respected influence on council.
In 2019, he earned Innisfail’s Citizen of the Year Award for his lifelong commitment to the community, as both a supporter and builder. A significant part of his volunteer commitment has been devoted to the Innisfail Royal Canadian Legion where he still is an active member as chairperson of the executive.
Rieberger is also still devoted to the annual Boob Tour, which raises money and cancer awareness for Alberta Cancer Foundation for the Red Deer Cancer Centre.
"I don’t have any intention on cutting back on volunteer work with the legion, nor any of the other organizations I’ve helped, like the historical village,” said Rieberger. “Those are great ways to kill time when you don’t have a full-time job, right?”
As for his service on council he’s proud of the many accomplishments made by both councils over the past eight years.
“We had two very productive terms and there is a bunch of good candidates coming up and we will have some new ideas, and that is all good,” said Rieberger. “I think we have moved forward. I think we have a very positive image now. We’ve worked hard at getting rid of some of the negative stereotypes of Innisfail."
“I think we are starting to see some of the results with the new housing starts and we are starting to see some vibrancy downtown,” he added. “Those to me are signs that we are getting the message out.”
Most of all, Rieberger wants to assure the community he is “not going away” and that he will at any time make himself available as a “sounding board” for any new council member who needs background, insight or just want to “pick his brain” on any issue.
“I certainly won’t influence any decisions but I would give any background or knowledge that I have, and share it freely,” said Rieberger, adding his time on council was a good experience.
“Overall, I would say I did enjoy it. Of course, we had our moments. Some times weren’t as enjoyable as others but overall, it was a very positive experience.
“I would recommend it to anybody who wants to further their volunteerism or love for the community. It’s a great way to do it,” said Rieberger, adding he’s optimistic for the town’s future. “We have a very strong administration team in place, and I’m confident we’ll have a good carryover from the current council.
“And the new one coming in? The more different opinions you can get on a topic, the better the outcome is going to be.”