Two county councillors have officially signed up for this fall’s electoral race.
Sturgeon County councillors Wayne Bokenfohr and Jerry Kaup told the Gazette this week that they would run in this fall’s municipal election to keep their seats.
Bokenfohr, councillor for Division 3, said he decided to run again last weekend after consulting with his wife and two adult children. If re-elected, it will be his second consecutive term on council.
Bokenfohr, 55, touted his 20 years in land development as one of his biggest assets, as it taught him how to run a business and be fiscally responsible. He was proud that he helped turn around the finances of the Northern Lights Library System last term so that it no longer had to hike fees in the county, and of Calahoo residents for building a new community hall with the help of $400,000 in gravel money.
“The rest of the close to $2 million budget came from the community, and I think that is a very strong testimony to say how strongly we still view family values in Division 3,” Bokenfohr said.
Economic development would be one of Bokenfohr’s top priorities if re-elected.
“Right now there’s no fire flow capability within Villeneuve Airport so it’s hard for businesses to expand beyond 6,000 square feet,” he said.
Bokenfohr said he would work with St. Albert to create a joint water line to the airport, one that’s more likely now that the city has an annexation on the table. He also planned to work with Edmonton Airports to promote Villeneuve Airport and to push for roadside business development.
Bokenfohr vowed to champion the rebuild of Meadowview Drive if re-elected.
“There’s so much shortcutting going through county roads now,” he said, and this project has been on the books for years.
While this project could cost $12 to $26 million, this road was crumbling under the weight of thousands of cars a day, Bokenfohr said. The county should use the cash it will get from the Sturgeon Refinery to help fix this road and other legacy issues before it spends it on “luxuries” like a county campus.
Bokenfohr is the only declared candidate running for council in Division 3, which covers Villeneuve, Calahoo and Pine Sands.
Kaup, councillor for Division 4 (Riviere Qui Barre to Alcomdale), said last April that he was likely to run again this fall and confirmed he would this week.
Kaup, 71, is married with four kids and eight grandkids and has lived all but eight months of his life in the county. He is the longest-serving member on council, having been on council for 25 years.
“I feel like a dinosaur when it comes to some of the new ones on council,” he joked, but his peers say they value his experience.
Kaup says he’s had many people ask him to run again, and had the time to do so as he was getting out of farming.
“I think I’ve got a pretty good reputation,” he said, and he enjoyed meeting with residents down at the coffee shop in Morinville each day.
Kaup said Sturgeon County was the envy of Canada and Alberta right now with its industrial development, and he wanted to stay on to ensure the benefits of that growth were used wisely to build reserves and pave more township roads.
Kaup cited the Alcomdale water line as one of his big accomplishments last term. The line was set to start construction next month, and should resolve the community’s long-running water issues and attract new investment. He also helped get crosswalk, curb and gutter improvements for RiviÈre Qui Barre (set to go in later this year) and fixed the community’s ongoing sewer problems.
Kaup said regional collaboration would be a big issue for him next term, particularly when it came to the Morinville regional rec-centre.
“We have to get along with our neighbours or it will be done for us.”
Chiropractor Neal Comeau is running against Kaup.
The Gazette will profile other county candidates in the coming weeks.