BOYLE - Colin Derko lives and breathes the Village of Boyle, and he has no qualms in letting everyone know about it.
The 51-year-old lifelong Boyle resident is a busy man, to say the least, splitting his time between his family, his business, and his compulsion to serve the community where he grew up and raised his own family.
What a lot of people may not know about Derko, is that after he graduated from Boyle School in 1988, he wanted to be a teacher, and attended university in Edmonton in the hopes of meeting that goal. His focus was math and the sciences. As life would have it though, Derko cut his post-secondary education short and came back to Boyle when his mother was diagnosed with cancer, and ended up working in the family business — bulk petroleum sales — before opening Grassland Trailer Sales, which he still operates today.
Politics wasn’t necessarily on the radar for Derko early on, but his people-loving personality and drive to make the community a better place to live for everyone propelled him in that direction in 2016 when he ran in a byelection, won, and then ran again in 2017 and was elected mayor by the rest of council — a role he has enjoyed thoroughly, despite a few extra responsibilities.
“I got involved a couple terms ago and just really enjoyed it right, just because I think if you're on council in Boyle, it is 100 per cent not for the money,” Derko said in a Sept. 12 interview. “You're amongst hardcore volunteers and people that care about the community and it's just fun working with people like that and I've had a blast with all the councillors I've worked with. It doesn't mean we always agree, but it means we're always united and on the same front, trying to do the right thing for our community, so I always enjoy that.”
It may be cliché, he says, but working as a team to make things better for the community, is truly the most gratifying part of being a part of council.
“I guess it's just the thrill of making things better, and getting after it like I like to. I don't like to sit around,” he said.
One of the projects Derko is particularly proud of is the recently completed downtown streets and sidewalks, along with the accompanying work on the village’s water system. Aging infrastructure needs to be replaced, and he said he’s never been afraid to spend a little money to invest in the village, but assures voters, he will always do so responsibly.
“We got a lot done for a very good price on everything and we got really creative and took care of what we needed to get done in town. And you know what? There's a lot more that I want to do.”
He recalled the 2017 election forum when he made the same pledge to voters.
“Everybody was saying how they wanted to save money and keep taxes low, and I said that I'm a little different than the rest of them, and I'm going to spend money, but don't be alarmed, I'm going to spend responsibly. I'm going to spend responsibly I'm going to shoot to keep taxes reasonable and try to get some stuff done,” he said.
The upkeep and maintenance of infrastructure is but one aspect of serving on council though he said, adding he is also focused on making sure Boyle’s medical community and hospital continue to be held in high regard, along with the school, and the rest of the services offered.
It’s going to take a lot of cooperation with neighbouring communities and the provincial government, but that’s something Derko is confident about heading into the future.