After two terms on Rocky View County council, Division 5 Councillor Earl Solberg will seek a third term in this fall’s election.
“I guess what I like the best is the continuous variety of challenges,” said Solberg. “There is always overlap in the challenges, you can never get one solved before the next one comes along. It is a lot of satisfaction when something comes to a successful conclusion.”
Solberg is most proud of the adoption of the Growth Management Strategy (GMS), of which he played a large role, chairing the committee for about two years.
“We had the best planners and financial advisors who helped with the research and provided a lot of advice,” said Solberg. “We understand it is a living document and there will be need and ability to change it as time goes on.”
He said the document also helped the County maintain its autonomy in the region.
“(Councillor) Gordon Branson and I both knew it was absolutely necessary to put a GMS in place politically,” said Solberg. “Without our own plan, I have no doubt in my mind that the Province would have forced us into the Calgary Metropolitan Plan. I am proud that we were able to maintain our independence.”
Solberg is also pleased the County was further able to diversify its tax base, enabling residents’ taxes to remain static.
He would like to see further diversification through more commercial and industrial development in appropriate areas in Rocky View.
“All of the conventional analysis done in Canada and the States says that metro-rural municipalities such as we are should be 40 per cent (non-residential tax base), and we are at about 18 or 19 per cent.”
Solberg has lived on an acreage in the Conrich area for 31 years, and has raised two children in the county.
He thinks the future of his division is bright.
Conrich has been identified as a growth node in the GMS, and a number of large projects, such as the area Community Development Strategy and the Canadian National Railway yard, are planned for the area.
“It is in such a significant location that some type of diverse growth will take place,” said Solberg. “I want to make sure that the residents get good representation. I think the people in my division are very tolerant and understanding of what it takes to make the county viable.”
With a diverse background, which includes agriculture, banking, business and sales, Solberg has a quick grasp of numbers and a keen ability to retain facts.
He also has a passion for conservation and recycling of water and would like to see Provincial regulations brought into place to promote water conservation.
“I am very much dedicated to trying to influence every level of government that is necessary to get involved in reuse and recycling of water.”
According to Solberg, it hasn’t always been easy to be on council.
“The only thing that has really made it difficult is the name calling that has occurred by some residents that are making it personal,” said Solberg. “Every councillor there is trying to do their level best to first of all do the best for the residents.”