The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo officially has its new mayor and council.
On Tuesday, Don Scott was sworn in as Mayor – along with Ward 1 Councillors Keith McGrath, Verna Murphy, Jeff Peddle, Phil Meagher, Krista Balsom, and Mike Allen, Ward 2 Councillors Claris Voyageur and Bruce Inglis as well as Ward 3 Councillor Sheila Lalonde and Ward 4 Councillor Jane Stroud.
The ceremony was held at Shell Place in front of roughly 200 friends, family, and residents.
Mayor Scott tells Mix News celebrations are over and it’s know time to put “words into actions”.
“I’m going to reach out to Premier Notley and to the Prime Minister – I want to remind them of the importance of this region, we’re going to invite them to have either caucus or cabinet meetings in this region and we think it would fantastic.
“I was talking to all the councillors about what they heard during the campaign because I want to make sure I’m hearing everything, so they were really good about sharing that with me and I’m feeling very optimistic.”
In their short time together, Scott says council seems to have already gelled.
That feeling is being shared by different members of council.
“Everyone’s really eager to get along and be a strong team that works collaboratively and really respectfully so we’re really excited about that and I think it will be a strong, collaborative team,” said Balsom.
When asked about having the title of “Councillor”, she says it’s very humbling and gratifying.
“I really seriously look forward to getting to work and representing everyone.”
As for Councillor Peddle – he was all smiles before, during, and after the swearing-in ceremony.
“I’m absolutely honoured and humbled that people voted me in, so for that, I feel very good but for now I’m like a dog on a chain, I want to get off the chain – I want to start work.”
— MIX 103.7 News (@Mix1037FMNews) October 25, 2017
Before the ceremony was finished, the new mayor and council held their first public meeting – though it lasted under five minutes.
Six councillors were voted unanimously as the municipality’s representative among different organizations and groups.
- Meagher – 2018 Alberta Winter Games Host Society
- Murphy – Advisory Committee on Aging
- Stroud – Wood Buffalo Housing & Development Corporation
- Lalonde – Fort McMurray Airport Authority
- McGrath/ Peddle – Regional Recreation Corporation
Council also voted unanimously on the deputy and acting mayor positions for the first year.
- November 1, 2017 – January 31, 2018 – Allen (Deputy) / McGrath (Acting)
- February 1, 2018 – April 30, 2018 – Peddle (Deputy) / Murphy (Acting)
- May 1, 2018 – July 31, 2018 – Inglis (Deputy) / Balsom (Acting)
- August 1, 2018 – October 31, 2018 – Lalonde (Deputy) / Voyageur (Acting)
Council will also meet on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month with the first meeting in the Council Chambers being scheduled for November 14.