CANMORE – Sean Krausert was elected the mayor of the Town of Canmore.
Residents of the mountain town selected Krausert, a former two-term councillor, as the next head of council. Krausert secured 3,125 votes on his path to victory compared to Vi Sandford’s 1,346 and 259 for Jeff Laidlaw.
Krausert, originally from Edmonton but a Canmore resident since 1996, has been a staple in the community from his time as a councillor, working as a local lawyer and well known as the co-founder in groups such as Canmore Food and Friends and the resident emergency shelter temporary program.
“It’s surreal. I’ve been thinking about this for years. I’ve literally had this date in my calendar for years,” Krausert said shortly after learning of his election win. “Now that it has come true, I’m more than ready to work with the new council and do the work to make Canmore the best place possible.”
In a speech to a crowd of about 30 people at Sage Bistro, Krausert thanked them for their support and told a story of talking with outgoing Mayor John Borrowman from 2017 – after Krausert decided not to run for re-election as a councillor – on one day taking the mayor’s seat.
He called Borrowman a “great friend and mentor.”
“He was a very good mayor for Canmore and I look forward to now taking the baton and going further,” Krausert said.
Borrowman was first elected as mayor in 2012 and chose not to run in this election.
Though Krausert chose not to run for public office in 2017 due to personal reasons, he maintained a presence in local government as the chair of the subdivision and development appeal board and a member of the assessment review board from 2017 until announcing his candidacy for mayor. He has also been a part of the tourism task force since it was created in 2020.
As a councillor, he was on several boards and committees such as the Canmore Community Housing Corporation board of directors, the human use management review, the budget committee, the Downtown Canmore business revitalization zone board of directors and a longtime chair of the Bow Valley Regional Transit Services Commission.
Krausert said a focus on the campaign trail he heard was affordability, traffic congestion, cycling, land planning and that “everything we do has to be seen through the lens of climate change and making sure we’re good stewards of the lands.”
Rounding out the rest of the council is Joanna McCallum, Tanya Foubert, Karen Marra, Jeff Hilstad, Wade Graham and Jeff Mah.
McCallum, Marra, Hilstad return as incumbent councillors. McCallum will enter her fourth term, Marra and Hilstad were each re-elected to their second terms. Rob Seeley – who was a two-term councillor – was not re-elected.
Foubert, Graham and Mah were all voted in as first-time councillors.
Rounding out the vote for council was Vijay Domingo with 1,988, Jyn San Miguel at 1,915 and two-term councillor Rob Seeley with 1,891. Hans Helder, a previous councillor, had 1,215 and Christoph Braier finished with 951 votes.
While the previous Town council was known for their quietness, it’s unlikely to be a repeat with many councillors known for having strong opinions on the community and how to best reach the goals for a Town.
“I’m looking forward to working with this council. There are some strong opinions, but that’s good,” Krausert said. “There’s varied perspectives and that’s good. The job of council is to make good decisions and if you have a variety of perspective and speaking to them with passion you’re going to make better decisions.”
Cheryl Hyde, the Town of Canmore’s municipal clerk, said Elections Alberta tabulated 12,005 local registered voters. The advance polls had 1,712 people participate and 4,838 people – 40 per cent of those eligible to vote – cast their ballot.
The numbers were slightly down from when 41 per cent – or 4,500 of 11,000 eligible voters – participated in the election in 2017. It was, however, an increase from when 38 per cent – 3,350 of 8,900 eligible voters – voted in 2013.
The first meeting of the new council will be its annual organizational meeting of council Oct. 26. The meeting approves the council schedule for the coming year, the deputy mayor rotation and appointments for boards, commissions and committees.
Their first committee of the whole meeting will be Nov. 16.
“It’s an incredible privilege,” Krausert said. “I feel honoured. It’s a big responsibility and I’m feeling like I want to get to work.”
Brian Callaghan and Carol Picard were voted in as the two representatives for the Mount Rundle ward for the Canadian Rockies Public Schools trustee board.
Callaghan, a former longtime superintendent for the school division, received 2,072 votes while Picard, who has been on the board since 2010 and the chair for the last nine years, received 1,837. Trish Bartley had 1,400 and Lonnie Tipler received 481 votes. They join Luke Sunderland, Arlene Rheaume and Dale Craig on the board after they were acclaimed prior to the election.
In the MD of Bighorn, Rick Tuza earned the ward 4 spot after he received 59 votes compared to 26 for Chris Cousine. In ward 1, Jen Smith, a two-term school board trustee with CRPS, had 156 votes cast for her and Joss Elford got 116. Paul Ryan, who has been on the MD of Bighorn council since 2002, had 105 votes and John Rick Sirman received three. Paul Clarke and Lisa Rosvold were each acclaimed.