Provincially appointed KID councillors Kateri Cowley, left, and Dave Rodney. Submitted Photo and Rocky Mountain Outlook File Photo

Kananaskis Improvement District (KID) council is nearly back to a full table, with two new provincial appointees and a byelection at the end of the month.

Joining council after former Couns. Erum Afsar and Darren Enns’ terms ended in October 2023 are Rafter Six Ranch’s Kateri Cowley and former MLA Dave Rodney.

“I know that tourism is a big part of Kananaskis, especially the upcoming years with the government. I’ve been in tourism my whole life and lived in Kananaskis my whole life, so it was a natural fit,” said Cowley of being selected by Alberta’s parks and forestry minister for the role.

“There’s all kinds of interesting things happening in Kananaskis … we know that there’s lots of stuff with tourism and that’s probably my most interested area.”

Cowley grew up on her family-owned guest ranch east of Exshaw. She’s worked as a tourism operator in the area on the ranch for most of her career, but also obtained her equine science diploma from Olds College, has worked as a horse trainer and been involved with the Calgary Stampede in competition and as an event judge.

Asked about her specific interests in tourism in Kananaskis and whether she was for or against expanding the industry and thoughts on environmental sustainability in the sector, she said, “I think one of the best parts of Kananaskis is the natural tourism, which is both sustainable and welcoming at the same time.”

Cowley said she believes she was selected by the minister for her experience in the sector, but she had also expressed interest in the role.

As part of KID council, Cowley was recently appointed to the Bow Valley Regional Housing committee. She said she looks forward to the learning curve in all aspects of the job, having no prior experience in municipal politics.

“It’s all very exciting and there’s lots of opportunities to get involved,” she said.

Rodney, a former Calgary MLA under the Progressive Conservative party and later, the UCP, called it an honour to be selected for his newest position in politics with KID council.

“I am happy to share what I have learned through decades of professional experiences in the mountains, across Alberta, and beyond,” he said in a statement to the Outlook. “I trust that our decisions and efforts will benefit others both now and well into the future.”

Rodney was first elected as an MLA in the 2004 provincial election for the Calgary-Lougheed constituency. He was re-elected three times and resigned Nov. 1, 2017, to open a seat for then new UCP leader Jason Kenney.

Rodney, a resident of Canmore, was also the first Canadian to ascend the summit of Mount Everest twice.

Rodney expressed interest in joining the Tourism Canmore Kananaskis board, which has a spot for one representative from KID council, although that role is already filled. Instead, he offered his help to the telecommunications committee, which had a vacancy after Afsar completed her term on council last year.

Cowley and Rodney were both appointed to represent Alberta citizens-at-large on KID council, positions formerly held by Afsar and Enns. Shortly after their extended four-year terms ended, former Coun. Anita Szuster was forced to resign due to no longer being eligible to represent non-commercial residents and ratepayers in KID, having left a management role at a Kananaskis hostel and her accommodations there.

KID has a need-to-reside policy which states all residents must work at least 30 hours per week within Kananaskis to qualify and Szuster was unable to immediately find other employment and housing.

KID council is comprised of six councillors, led by an elected chair and vice-chair. Four members are elected to represent residents and ratepayers, including small and large businesses, and two are provincially appointed by the Ministry of Forestry and Parks as Alberta citizens at-large.

Provincial appointments are made by ministerial order through Sections 588 and 599 of the Municipal Government Act.

Also part of council are chair Melanie Gnyp, representing Lower Kananaskis Lake cabin owners, Coun. Darren Robinson, representing large business with Kananaskis Country Golf Course and Coun. Claude Faerden, who is vice chair of KID council and represents small businesses with his operation at Barrier Lake, Kananaskis Outfitters.

KID’s procedural order ensured quorum remained with three councillors, despite losing half of council late last year.

A byelection is planned for March 28 to fill the councillor role for the non-commercial residents and ratepayers ward. According to KID CAO and returning elections officer Kieran Dowling, two candidates have successfully put their names forward – Ken Hoover and Cody English.

Nominations for the byelection closed Feb. 29 and voting will take place March 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with polls set up at the Kananaskis Emergency Service Centre. Advanced voting is scheduled for March 26 and polls will be open from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Kananaskis Village Centre, near the post office.

More voting information can be found at: https://kananaskisid.ca/p/2024-by-election.

By Jessica Lee, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 15, 2024 at 12:45

This item reprinted with permission from   Rocky Mountain Outlook   Canmore, Alberta

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