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Four run for Division 6 in Sturgeon County

Berry, Derouin, Hughson, Start compete for council seat
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DIVISION 6 CANDIDATES — (L-R) Jason Berry, Marty Derouin, and Ron Start have filed to run for county councillor in the Division 6 Sturgeon County byelection. Candidate Chris Hughson did not provide a photo by deadline. Voters head to the polls Dec. 13, 2021.

Four Sturgeon County residents have stepped up to run in this December’s byelection in Division 6.

Sturgeon County residents Jason Berry, Marty Derouin, Chris Hughson, and Ron Start have filed to run in the Division 6 byelection as of the close of nominations on Nov. 15.

Ronald Shaw was elected Division 6 councillor in the Oct. 18 municipal election, but resigned the day before he was set to be sworn in. County council scheduled a byelection on Oct. 28.

Berry, who placed second to Shaw in the election, was the first to step up to run in the byelection, officially filing his papers Nov. 3. The Gazette profiled him Oct. 30.

Three other runners

Marty Derouin filed his nomination on Nov. 10. At 67, Marty is a lifelong resident of Division 6 and brother of Sturgeon County Coun. Dan Derouin, who ran in the 2017 municipal election, during which he came in second to Karen Shaw. He served on the Heartland Residents Task Force in 2018-2019 along with Ronald Shaw.

Marty said he helped Ronald put up campaign signs in the last election and would have run for office himself had Ronald not stepped forward.

“Our division has gotten basically no attention for the last number of years,” Marty said, and he hopes to keep area residents informed about council’s actions, if elected.

Marty was a founding director for the Alberta Liquor Store Association and previously served as a director with the Coronado Gas Co-Op and the Bon Accord-Gibbons Rural Electrification Association. He has founded restaurants throughout Sturgeon County, worked in real estate, traveled to about 30 nations, and sold typewriters.

Marty said he hopes to meet with every Division 6 resident, if elected, to determine their specific concerns around roads, heavy haul traffic, and Internet access. He said the creativity he used as a businessman could bring a fresh approach to the county’s problems.

Marty said he would stay in office for just one term if elected, as he does not think people should view politics as a career.

“If I can’t pass on my knowledge and feelings in four years, I’m not doing my job.”

An oil and gas process operator, Hughson, 47, said he has lived basically his whole life in Sturgeon County and has deep family roots in Division 6. He said former area councillor Karen Shaw showed him the importance of effective council representation and did much to support him over the years.

“Now that Karen has stepped down, I thought maybe I can offer the same strong voice, work ethic, and dedication she did, because she was absolutely amazing.”

Hughson said he did not run in the last election as he was concerned at the time that his kids might have to learn from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said he is now confident that he will have more than enough time to manage council business.

Hughson said residents flagged roads, drainage, and budgets as their top concerns in this division.

“We’re in a division with all these industrial plants paying a lot of taxes. Why does it seem like the majority of services are going to other divisions?”

Hughson said he has sat on various work-related committees and served as the fire incident commander at what is now the Nutrien fertilizer plant. He was also a volunteer with the Coronado United Church.

Start, 68, is a retired Telus employee, a past president of the Casa Vista Country Club, and a 21-year resident of Division 6. He said he decided to take the plunge on Nov. 8 after Ronald resigned, having spent many years pondering a run for office.

“I want to see if I can make a difference,” he said.

Start said he is a good listener with a lot of people experience from his time with Telus, as well as a quick learner with plenty of free time to work on council.

“Vote for me because I’m going to listen to your concerns,” he said.

Start said Division 6 residents ranked roads and security as their top concerns, which he will do his best to ensure are addressed in the county’s budget.

Byelection details

Division 6 residents will pick one of these candidates as their council representative Dec. 13. Any Canadian citizen who is 18 or older and lives in Division 6 on Dec. 13 can vote in the byelection. Anyone who can’t make it to the polls Dec. 13 due to physical disability, absence from the county, or being a poll worker can request a mail-in ballot.

In an email, returning officer Jesse Sopko said advance polls will be held from 3 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 2 at the Gibbons Legion (5027 50 Street, Gibbons) and during those same hours on Dec. 9 at the Redwater Pioneer Club (4916 50 Street, Redwater). Election day polls will be open at Coronado Hall (23108 Twp. Rd. 570), the Gibbons Legion, and the Redwater Pioneer Club from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 13.

Questions on the byelection should go to Sopko at [email protected] or 780-939-4321.

Division 6 residents should direct any council-related concerns to councillors Neal Comeau and Dan Derouin prior to the byelection.

Kevin Ma

About the Author: Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.
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