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Commentary: Challenges and opportunities ahead

Newly-elected councillors in this region should be congratulated on their election success
opinion

Municipal councillors elected last week should look forward to the next four years with confidence and determination as they undertake their important role in local government.

Just as MPs and MLAs guide their respective communities, so do town and county councillors. In fact, if anything elected officials at the district level play an even more vital part in guiding things forward.

Overseeing decisions that can and do impact the daily lives of residents of all ages, municipal councillors have a huge responsibility that should never be taken lightly.

And as former Mountain View County reeve and longtime councillor Bruce Beattie said in a recent interview, new councillors should be applauded for their dedication to their fellow residents.

“It’s a big responsibility and a big commitment,” said Beattie, who did not seek re-election in 2021. “It’s a steep learning curve. It’s challenging and can certainly be rewarding.”

The new councils will have many opportunities to make their mark over the next term, including guiding their communities through the pandemic and hopefully beyond.

With things returning to normal in the coming months, there will be many chances for businesses and others to recover, thrive and grow. Local councils can and must play a key role in making that happen.

On the flip side, the new councils may also be confronted with new challenges. For example, facing ongoing public backlash from what some say has been its horrendous mishandling of the deadly pandemic, could the Kenney government decide to deflect the criticism and burden onto local governments?

With more than 500 Albertans having died of COVID since Premier Kenney lifted restrictions in July – a move he said was prudent but his critics say was solely to appease his far-right supporters – is anyone prepared to predict what the UPC may do next in the coming days?

Newly-elected councillors in this region should be congratulated on their election success, with many residents no doubt wishing them all the best in their challenging and vital role going forward.

Dan Singleton is an editor with The Albertan.

 



Dan Singleton

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