In one swift move, the people of Fort Macleod voted for change.
Shawn Patience served as mayor for 9 years, but on Monday night he was ousted by Rene Gendre.
Patience wasn’t the only incumbent to lose a seat. Out of the 6 council positions, only one incumbent was re-elected.
The previous council had fought hard with the provincial government to keep a Police Training College in Fort Macleod.
But, when the province scrapped their plans, Patience was outspoken about their decision.
Incumbent Gordon Wolsenholme says, even though councils’ hands were tied, the Police College fallout was definitely on the minds of voters.
“I don’t know there is anything we could have done, but I’m sure somewhere in the back of your mind it’s going to be there, that we were the council that lost it,” says Wolstenholme.
The town had already started running services to the area designated for the college and was planning on building an industrial park, now with a new council the decision could be re-visited.
“The last council had made a decision but that can be changed,” says Wolstenholme.
With nearly all of council and the mayor elect being new to municipal politics, town administration says they’ll do what they can to prepare them for their first term on council.
“We have arranged with the M.D and other municipalities to have a firm come out and teach them about municipal laws and regulations. There’ a lot to learn, and this will help them get familiar with the rules,” says Fort Macleod CAO, David Connauton.
With major projects like the industrial park still up in the air, administration wants to make sure the new council has all of the tools necessary so no decision making gets bogged down by council policy and protocol.
For newly elected council members like Mike Collar, he says there will be some bumps along the way, but all the new faces at the first council meeting will be eager to get down to business.
“There will be a learning curve but we are all eager, and we will all work hard,” says Collar.
Another southern Alberta town to see major changes is the Crowsnest Pass, no incumbents were re-elected.