Lacombe County Councillor Barb Shepherd is running for another term to represent Division 3.
Shepherd first ran in the 2013 election after having had an interest in municipal politics for some time – but full-time work up to that point had presented something of a challenge in terms of balancing both responsibilities.
She ultimately retired, and felt the time was right to run in the election – and was ultimately successful. Shepherd was able to bring a number of skills to the table as well, including extensive financial experience from nearly 40 years in the banking business, too.
“When Cliff Soper announced he wasn’t going to run again, I thought this was an opportunity for me to try something that I had wanted to for a long time.
“So I decided I was going to run – I campaigned hard and managed to be successful in my bid.”
Shepherd said the first while on council was something of a learning curve, but that it wasn’t long before she found her footing and it’s been a fulfilling and meaningful experience over the past few years in engaging with constituents and representing them at the Lacombe County council table.
“Also, if I believe in something, I won’t let it die. I realize I have to respect that fact that there are six other councillors on council; we all have an opinion and we don’t all necessarily support everyone’s ideas,” she said. “So if there is something I believe it – for example the Central Alberta Rowing Club needed access to Lacombe Lake.”
They needed to be able to have their boathouse moved, and Shepherd worked with them to help get a spot on Lacombe Lake that was on Lacombe County property for them to put their boathouse and to have access to the Lake for their rowing activities.
“Not everyone agreed with me on that – I had to be a little bit stubborn I suppose, but then I managed to get enough support to get that project completed.”
Shepherd said that if she believes in something, and a ratepayer comes to her with something that makes sense and that council should be looking at, she’ll explore it.
In the meantime, she said under the new municipal government act, there are changes that require a municipality to have agreements with all municipalities within a given boundary – Shepherd described them as collaborative framework boundaries with the municipalities that touch Lacombe County.
“Of course, the environment is always an important thing as well,” she said, referring to the need for a comprehensive ag-plastics recycling program.
“We just had a meeting here a week ago with the Recycling Council of Alberta, and there are municipalities out there who have taken the bull by the horns and who are doing initiatives on recycling ag plastics – mostly grain bags at the moment. I think it’s something that Lacombe County needs to do or could be doing in that area as well, because we have a lot of producers that use grain bags. And we have a lot of dairy farms that probably use silage bags.
“We need to get our proverbial work together and get everybody on the same page and start to do this recycling,” she said. “That’s definitely going to be a focus that I am going to be looking at this term because I believe we have to keep this stuff out of the landfill and find a productive use for it – recycle it somehow,” she said.
As to the coming weeks, Shepherd is looking forward to the time leading up to voting day.
“I’ve sort of felt all along that I’ve been campaigning for four years,” she added, pointing out that she sends out emails to her constituents about particular issues that might be affecting them besides also keeping up with local organizations that the ratepayers she represents may be involved with as well. There’s also the door-knocking and face-to-face chats with residents that take place, too.
“The other thing that I’ve done every years is that I have a ratepayer meeting every spring, typically in April,” she said.
“If I didn’t feel like I could make a difference, I wouldn’t be doing this. But I do believe I have more to offer – I still have the passion to do this.
“I feel like there are other things that we can do to become even better than we are. I love Lacombe County – I think we are a great County – but like I often say to my fellow councillors, just because we are good doesn’t mean we can’t be better.”