Lacombe County Councillor Rod McDermand in the running

Voters head to the polls on Oct. 16th

Lacombe County Councillor Rod McDermand is seeking another term at the council table.

Voters head to the polls on Oct. 16th.

McDermand was first elected to Lacombe County back in 2001, so his municipal experience is extensive.

That’s also reflected in his work on a number of organizations and committees over the years as well including serving as president of the Alberta Hospitals Association, board chair for Alberta Blue Cross, serving on a regulatory board for credit unions in Alberta. “The last provincial one I was on was the Management Employees Pension Board,” he said.

As for his long service, McDermand describes a main motivation as coming from serving as a conduit between municipal government and the public at large.

“We are really a service provider for our residents,” he said, adding that the main role of council is to work to facilitate the need of the owners, which is the term he believes best suits the ratepayers in general.

“We need to recognize the owners because they are the ones who will elect us or not elect us,” he said. “I firmly believe that I only represent them collectively.

“I don’t represent myself – I don’t represent necessarily the County of Lacombe. It’s more of a directorship on a corporation. And we’re a pretty big corporation, with $65 million worth of budgets. It’s not to be taken lightly because there’s a lot of things that can go on with a command of that kind of budget as well,” adding the council is also supported by great County employees and administration.

“It’s not about me – it’s about helping other people,” he said. “It’s also about capacity and qualifications – you need to have some capacity which comes from time, but you also have to have some experiences that will help the corporation serve its owners – being the ratepayers.”

In the meantime, upcoming issues for the future council also include adjusting to working more directly with several surrounding municipalities.

“The structure we have as far as the taxation and the development and the commercial spaces, that was done on a voluntary basis by Lacombe County,” he said, referring working with such municipalities as Blackfalds and Lacombe.

He said there can be a struggle with how to partner on an equal, equitable basis for other areas that also may not be areas of significant growth.

“It’s really a struggle for us, because those areas aren’t necessarily growing at the same pace. Our job is not to engage other municipalities to make them grow; our job is to partner with them when they do grow. It’s significantly different than us being the driver,” he said. “It’s not fair for us to go into a community and say this is a great idea, we think you should do this. Our job is to facilitate something in a partnership.”

The provincial government has introduced a concept that McDermand describes as the formation of a collaborative framework.

“This is going to be one of the biggest steps that we go through. As we are hearing it, we are going to be signing agreements with over 21 different municipalities.” This inevitably brings together planning aspects and capital budget aspects.

Meanwhile, McDermand is looking forward to the next several weeks as the campaign trail heats up.

“I always look forward to it, because lots of times we kind of work in a vacuum,” he said. “And what comes into the County Council Chamber isn’t necessarily what people are thinking about.

“So when you are knocking on doors and talking to people, I really like to be engaged with that. I think that is a privilege that we shouldn’t walk away from. I also spend a lot of time at the coffee shops and places like that – three or four times a week. That’s where people are talking, and they are always talking about issues.

“If you are nervous about being in the coffee shop and being visible, you sure shouldn’t be in this business. I’m fairly comfortable with people. And like I say, I’m a conduit – but sometimes conduits catch it from both ends – you’ve got to careful that you respect that right. People often look at you with a certain degree of ownership; when a person steps up and votes for you, they actually get a little piece of you. I accept that.

“I’ve always said that when I vote for someone at the federal or provincial level, I feel like I have a right to phone them up and give them my views,” he said.

“So don’t put your name on the ballot and then just go away and hide. That isn’t going to happen – they will search you out,” he added with a smile.

At the end of the day, it’s a fulfilling job. “In my area, there’s a little school house where I went to school. We struggle for the community’s sake to keep that going. Last year, at Christmas, there were 43 little kids running around (at an event there) from our community. So there’s a rejuvenation going on.

“That gives vitality to things, and I look at that with optimism.”

Lacombe Votes

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Photo Submitted by the Gord Bamford Foundation)
Lacombe’s Gord Bamford to perform a virtual concert for a good cause

The concert aims to raise awareness for Operation Santa Clause

Alberta Health Services' central zone jumped from 162 active COVID-19 cases to 178 on Friday. Five additional deaths were reported provincewide, bringing the toll to 323. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
622 new COVID-19 cases set another daily high Friday

Province confirmed 622 additional cases Friday

The Under $100 Art Market is asking artists interested in selling their art to fill out and submit the online form. Photo courtesy Maureen MacKenzie.
Lacombe’s Under $100 Art Market returns for the second year

The market will be held during this year’s Light Up the Night festival

Alberta children whose only symptom of COVID-19 is a runny nose or a sore throat will no longer require mandatory isolation, starting Monday.
477 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Alberta on Thursday

Changes being made to the COVID-19 symptom list for school-age children

Alisha Bryan holds a handful of poppy sticks at the poppy laying ceremony on Oct. 28. (Alannah Page/Lacombe Express)
Remembrance Day will look a little different this year for Lacombe

The Lacombe Legion is taking COVID-19 precautions for people who want to pay their respects.

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

A man runs across the Carcross Dunes in Carcross, Yukon, on July 2, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘No manual or checklist:’ Yukon ditching fall time change this year

The territory decided to adopt year-round daylight time in March

Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains makes an announcement regarding vaccine procurement, in Toronto, on Wednesday, Aug., 5, 2020. Despite its status as an artificial intelligence hub, Canada has yet to develop a regulatory regime to deal with issues of privacy, discrimination and accountability to which AI systems are prone, prompting calls for regulation from businesses and experts. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov
Canada crawling toward AI regulatory regime, but experts say reform is urgent

5 million images of shoppers collected without consent at Canadian malls

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie "The Name of the Rose" at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

He died peacefully in his sleep overnight in the Bahamas

(Photo submitted)
Rimbey resident avid author despite Parkinson’s

Wins more accolades for her writing

(Photo Submitted by the Gord Bamford Foundation)
Lacombe’s Gord Bamford to perform a virtual concert for a good cause

The concert aims to raise awareness for Operation Santa Clause

City of Wetaskiwin Mayor presenting the AUMA Above & Beyond Award to John Maude and Susan Quinn. Ren Goode/ City of Wetaskiwin.
Wetaskiwin County residents win the AUMA Above & Beyond Award

John Maude and Susan Quinn are being recognized for their role in Wetaskiwin’s sustainability.

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

(Pixabay photo)
Spoooky, scaaaary: The ultimate Halloween-in-quarantine playlist

All the costumes, trick-or-treating and spooky-season fun is essentialy off the table due to COVID-19

Most Read