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Brian Bahry running for Division 4 again

Former councillor returning to politics after decade-long hiatus
202109 Brian Bahry_WEB
Brian Bahry was councillor for Athabasca County in Division 4 from 2004 to 2010 and has decided to come out of political semi-retirement to help shepherd the municipality forward if successful in the Oct. 18 election.

ATHABASCA — After a break, a former Athabasca County councillor is ready to sit at the table again, provided he is successful in the Oct. 18 election. 

Brian Bahry represented Division 4 for six years; from 2004 to 2010 when he was replaced by outgoing councillor Christi Bilsky and the break has given him time to recharge his batteries while keeping a pulse on what is going on. 

“I chair the subdivision appeal board with (Athabasca) County and Lac La Biche County and sit on the tax assessment review board for Westlock (County) and (Athabasca) County as well,” Bahry said in a Sept. 15 interview.  

He added his decision to run was never based on Bilsky’s performance, but his own desire to contribute to the community. 

“Christi has done a good job,” he said. “I still have some attributes to bring the county and I see a few other candidates talking about economic development and I’m super big on that.” 

Bahry said he was an ardent supporter of pushing to bring high speed Internet to the area, proof things take a long time to happen as the concerns are still relevant. 

“I really pushed hard to get some high-speed Internet and I look back at it nowadays and especially with this COVID thinking, ‘Boy was this ever smart.’ We got into doing something not just relying on big business coming in or having to spend a lot of county money.” 

Bahry was also around to help Alberta Pacific Forest Industries (Al-Pac) unwrap from some red tape preventing them from contributing extra energy back to the electrical grid. 

“I really give (former Fort McMurray-Athabasca MP) Brian Jean credit for meeting with us and Al-Pac and wanting to get this money to Al-Pac,” he said. 

Bahry then got all the players in a room in Leduc to figure out the energy issue and within two months power poles were going up, he said. 

“Sometimes you go above and beyond at what you're supposed to do just to put people's heads together to make things happen,” said Bahry. “I think Al-Pcc has been a great success; that’s why they’re successful now, they’re selling electricity.” 

He also wants to see opportunities for young people to stay or return to Athabasca and hopes with some discussion there can be a resolution to the Keep Athabasca in Athabasca University campaign and sometimes campaigns like this may need the support of other municipalities. 

“You can work with other municipalities and make a big difference and I think this is really important,” he said. “It might not be important to some other municipalities but at conferences, conventions ... it is an opportunity when you can work, socialize, (and) interact and put pressure on our government to make sure that they don't pull the university out of here.” 

Bahry also floated the idea of revamping council like some other municipalities have done and having a reeve elected by the rate payers instead of by fellow council members. 

“I would like to see this county work on or discuss having an elected reeve; a lot of counties do it and redefining our boundary lines,” said Bahry. 

At the end of the day though, Bahry has the experience, he says, and hopes he is given the opportunity to step back into the role.

Bahry will be up against newcomer Keith Plowman in the race to represent Division 4. 

Heather Stocking

About the Author: Heather Stocking

Heather Stocking a reporter at the Athabasca Advocate, a weekly paper in Northern Alberta. Heather covers all aspects of the news in and around Athabasca and Boyle as well as other small communities.
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