There will be a new mayor in Lacombe this fall.
Current mayor Steve Christie made the surprising announcement at Tuesday’s city council meeting that he will not be seeking a third term.
“We all have a shelf-life in elected office,” Christie said Wednesday. “I set some goals when I was first elected as a Councillor, then as mayor I set some new goals and a lot of those goals have come to fruition.”
A Lacombe resident for more than 20 years, Christie served on Lacombe town/city council for two terms before being elected to the mayor’s chair in 2010. He won a second term in 2013. Christie took a brief leave from office when he ran as the PC candidate for the Lacombe – Ponoka riding in the 2012 provincial election.
Christie says he always wanted to go out when things were good in Lacombe.
“2016 was the best year for commercial growth, for commercial building permits, both new buildings and renovations,” he points out. “Businesses are expanding and growing, and a lot of that is due to our business community. We’re just lucky enough that businesses in Lacombe are building Lacombe’s brand. Businesses are moving to Lacombe because of the good atmosphere.”
One of the final things Christie wanted to see happen during his time as mayor was the North Red Deer Regional Wastewater System. Work on the $71 million project connecting Lacombe and Blackfalds to Red Deer is now underway.
“That’s one that I’ve been working on for over five years now. I took a little drive yesterday along the route of the line and saw things happening,” he says. “It was a great feeling, a little emotional. There was a lot of work that went into that and I’m quite proud of it.”
Christie is also proud of the recreation inventory Lacombe has built up during his time in office, including a new skate park and MEGlobal Athletic Park, along with arena expansion and enhancements at the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex. Infrastructure projects like the Highway 2A redevelopment and ongoing Main Street Project are also high on his list of highlights.
So what’s next for Christie now that he is leaving public office after 13 years?
“I’ve learned recently that retirement requires money, so I’m going to have to get a job,” the 51-year-old jokes.
Christie says he’ll continue on with his day job as an insurance broker following his retirement from public office. He also plans to spend a lot more time with family, namely his wife Cheryl, their daughters and grandchildren.
“They have given up a lot of time. They’ve supported me for a number of years, so it’s time for me to support them.”
Voters across the province will head to the polls for the 2017 Municipal Election on October 16.