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County has new and returning faces on council

Electorates have spoken in the municipal election and unofficial results reveal that Rocky View County (RVC) will swear in five incumbents and a couple new members to council.

Unofficial results reveal that Rocky View County (RVC) will swear in five incumbents and a couple new members to council.

Elected are:

Kevin Robert Hanson in Division 1

Don Kochan in Division 2

Crystal Kissel in Division 3

Samanntha Wright in Division 4

Greg Boehlke in Division 5

Sunny Samra in Division 6  

Al Schule in Division 7

New to the table are Samra, beating incumbent councillor Jerry Gautreau and Kochan who edged out incumbent councillor Kim McKylor. 

Kochan brings with him many years of experience in municipal government. He formerly served as Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Canmore and believes his experience as a CAO will be valuable to Rocky View.

"I certainly have a good feel as far as what it takes for a council to work together and the types of things that should be considered when councillors are making decisions," he said.

From his experience visiting close to 2,000 homes, Kochan said the consistent message he was hearing from residents was that they want their input to be taken seriously in this term and felt like it had not been in the past. 

"As a councillor we're elected by the rest of the residents and that is our main stakeholder that we have to consider and look after. That is what I'm going to be looking forward to is ensuring that I understand where residents are coming from and ensuring that I may be able to relay their message to the rest of council."

Kochan said that he plans to ensure the new council can start working together for Rocky View in a more healthy and respectful manner, after the problems during the last term.

"I think that with this new council in place, the message is very clear that the citizens want this council to work together," Kochan said. "We are going to make a great effort to do that and I think will be quite successful in doing so."

Kissel said the new council members will be important to achieving harmony on council.

"We have some really good new council members coming in," Kissel said. "These are people with strong backgrounds that will, I believe, give us a different look and a different conversation at the table."

In her second term as councillor, Kissel is serving under the newly formed Division 3 which includes a large portion of western RVC including Bearspaw and Cochrane Lake.

"With everything that's happened in the past three-and-a-half years, I think I'm most excited that residents just got out to vote," she said. "The numbers at the polls were high and that's good news for Rocky View County. That means people are now paying attention to what's happening in our county."

Kissel said that she believes RVC has become too focused on development and has lost the voice of residents, something that she is hopeful will change based on this vote. 

"I really think it's time for a change," she said. "There are so many changes in the world right now and people have a higher expectation of how their tax money is being looked after. I think they've made that quite clear with the choices that have come out at the end."

Kissel said the creation of a voters list for the county is a top priority.

"When you cannot identify where someone lives. And they come in with no identification and they can't tell you where they live - we've got a problem. The people coming to vote felt the process was very slow and cumbersome and a voters list would have cleaned that up."

Hanson, who took the Division 1 seat, said that finding a new CAO should be one council's biggest priorities. Kent Robinson has been temporarily occupying the role since April.

"I’ve always told people our overall priority is to get a really good CAO in, with the talent to rebuild administration," he said. "There has been a fair amount of turnover. Also, to be able to deal in a more collaborative manner with the region and our municipal partners, all of them, not just a select few. My top priority is to get a good administration in place. Otherwise, council won’t be able to do anything. I see that as job one before we go ahead with tackling some of the other priorities councillors may have.” 

The polls were busy in Rocky View County with 10,719 votes tallied in the end.

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