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Cooperation was key to success, says out-going MVC reeve

“I’ve been privileged to be in this position,” Bruce Beattie concluded
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Bruce Beattie File photo/MVP Staff

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - After 11 years as a Mountain View County councillor – including the past 10 as reeve – Bruce Beattie says he has enjoyed helping the county move ahead and is confident the municipality is in good hands going forward.

First elected in Division 4 in 2010, Beattie was elected reeve by his fellow councillors in 2011, a position he held until this week after deciding not to seek re-election.

In an Albertan interview, Beattie recalled some of the key milestones and challenges of his time with the county.

“The highlights for me have been the people I have met and worked with over the period of time that I’ve been on council and as reeve,” said Beattie. “When I first got on council there was a lot of controversy about where the county was going. 

“As a new council, we wanted to make sure that we went back to that agricultural base and recognize that we are an agricultural county and one of our goals from the start was how do we keep agricultural land in agriculture production. Growing food is pretty important so that was a goal we set.”

The major updating of the municipal development plan, including 14 months of public consultation, in 2012 was an important step, he said.

“We wanted to achieve a sense of predictability, to make sure that we created predictably and stability, and I think we did that,” he said. “We made some significant changes at that time.”

Work on the governance and operation of the county’s two airports (Olds-Didsbury and Sundre) in recent years was also a highlight, he said.

“The airports are growing and they have been well managed,” he said.

Dealing with the county’s large road and bridge infrastructure over the years has been a big job and challenge, he said. 

“We’ve tried to move to a much more bottom-up approach, relying more on our staff,” he said. “We really wanted to get a handle on our road system and the 260 bridge structures in the county. Getting a good handle on that was very important.”

The recent construction of the county’s new agriculture service shop was an important project, he said. 

“That is one of things I’m most proud of,” he said. “We’ve built it in such a way that it can be added on to, and we have land there where a new operations shop could be put up. That was a big step.”

The creation of the Legacy Land Trust in recent years by the county in conjunction with stakeholder partners was an important and worthwhile project, he said.

“Legacy for me was a great thing to accomplish,” he said. “It’s great to see something like that.” 

Beattie was involved with Mountain View Seniors' Housing, including as chairman, during his entire time on council. He called the organization an outstanding example of multi-stakeholder effort.

“We’ve gone through this pandemic and we’ve never lost any of our residents. That shows the type of organization that we have and the quality of people who work with us,” he said.

Coun. Al Kemmere, who was the only interim councillor re-elected in 2010, proved to be very helpful over the years, he said. 

“He had been the reeve in the previous council so we were very fortunate to have Al support us and certainly he gave me some of that experience to operate the organization,” he said. “That was a big plus for our council.

“The councillors I have had the privilege to be involved with, you couldn’t ask for a better group. They all put the interest of the county and our ratepayers first.”

The county staff has also been very helpful over the years, he said.

“CAO Tony Martens (from 2011 to 2017) was a tremendous help for us,” he said. “That was great working with Tony. I think our staff is terrific, with many of them having come up through the organization, including (current) CAO Jeff Holmes. He has made a lot of changes that have resulted in an efficient and lean operation.”

Looking ahead, Beattie says the staff now in place at the county is top rate and should do a great job helping the new council get things done.

“I’ve been privileged to be in this position,” Beattie concluded. “It’s been great and I’m going to miss it, I don’t deny that. I go back to the people I’ve had the privilege to work with and to me that was the best part of the whole time for sure.”

Dan Singleton

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