By Miriam Ostermann, Associate Editor
At 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 4 it was all over. The final council meeting of the current sitting council came to a close after only an hour and a half, a couple topics of discussion, and a few words of appreciation by two council members who are not seeking re-election.
Mayor Michael Ell and Councillor Brad Walls decided against seeking a spot on council for another term.
Although Strathmore’s youngest councillor’s aspirations of taking his political career to the provincial level were well known, Councillor Walls made the painstaking decision with health and personal life at the forefront.
“My decision to not seek re-election has not come easy,” he said. “However, I know you’ll be in good hands. We are a very vibrant town with lots going on and I’ve very excited to see what’s going to happen over the next years. I’d really like to thank council for all your support and help in the past four years. As you know it’s been a bit of a difficult one, and I really appreciate everything you’ve done for me.”
Walls also took a moment to thank current chief administrative officer James Thackray and his administrative team, and the citizens of Strathmore, stating it was an honour to serve the community the past four years. Walls was born and raised on a farm just north of Strathmore and attended school in town. He’s been volunteering since a young age and worked in farming, as an insurance professional, instructor and 911 operator and dispatcher.
Yet Walls wasn’t the only one saying his goodbyes at last week’s council meeting. After one term in office, Mayor Michael Ell concluded it was time to spend more time with his wife and family, and enjoy his retirement. Ell ran for mayor in 2010 and again in 2013 when he was elected to his current position. For over 35 years the former businessman and public service member has called Strathmore home where, together with his wife Ellen, they raised their son.
“I want to take a moment to express my deep gratitude to the citizens of Strathmore, and to tell you I was honoured and privileged to have served you for the past four years is an understatement,” he said. “The support you expressed to me will be felt in my heart for all time. You are why people from inside and outside our town say to me, ‘Strathmore is a friendly caring community.’ Provincial and federal representatives of different stripes I have met with and discussed things, and I want to express my deep appreciation for their mentorship, guidance, advice and unwavering support from all the different people I’ve come in contact with. Working with all these people has made our town stronger.
“I encourage each and every one of us to keep working together. Strathmore is headed into a positive direction and I see a new and exciting time for us.”
Ell also singled out council, praising them for their work ethic and dedication over the years, as well as town staff and administration for their commitment to the town.