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County of Barrhead reeve hoping for a 'four-peat'

Doug Drozd believes the municipality and the region has the potential of becoming the Lethbridge of the North
Doug Drozd cropped1
County of Barrhead reeve Doug Drozd is seeking his fourth term on council. Barry Kerton/BL

Douglas Drozd is hoping Division 1 residents will once again believe he is worthy to represent them once again come Oct. 18's municipal election. 

If they do, it will be his fourth straight term. 

Division 1 is the southeast portion of the County of Barrhead and borders both Lac Ste. Anne and Sturgeon Counties. 

Drozd was first elected to the County of Barrhead council in 2010, serving as reeve since 2016. 

"I have always been interested in politics at every level," he said in an e-mail interview. "I enjoy helping people and I believe everyone should contribute to their community, so it running for council is just an extension of that." 

Drozd said he has been in the region for his entire life, growing up and helping on his family's farm in the Freedom area. In 2000, he and his wife Illie moved to the county after selling their property in Freedom and purchased a quarter section in the Township 57 area. The couple has been married 39 years and they have two adult sons, both schooled in Barrhead. 

In addition to working on the farm, Drozd has worked with the Northern Dairy Pool, Fiber North-America and Pembina West Co-op. He also served as a director of the Co-op from 2015-2019 and is currently a director of EQUS since 2000. EQUS is a Rural Electrification Association (REA), a regulated electricity rate supplier. Drozd also noted that he completed the Elected Officials Education program in 2014. 

Drozd cited many accomplishments over his 11-year councillor career. 

He said he has encouraged his fellow councillors to look for ways to grow economic development. Some of the ways he has done this, he said was for pushing for the creation of a stand-alone economic development committee (EDC).  

For several years the county either did not have an EDC or had one in partnership with the Town of Barrhead. 

Drozd said he was also a large proponent of creating the Kiel Industrial Park. The county bought the quarter section of land located at NE 27-59-3-W5, which is immediately south of the Northplex plant on Range Road 32, for $575,000 from the Kiel family in 2012 for the expressed purpose of creating an industrial park.  

Drozd said he also worked with the council to block the Town of Barrhead's attempt to amalgamate the two municipalities in 2014. The town unilaterally initiated the process after failing to come to what they felt was an acceptable agreement on the amount the county contributed towards the operational costs of the town's main recreational facilities, namely the aquatics centre, ice and curling rinks. 

"I also worked with the council to develop the strategy and position that made the province mandate going into binding arbitration [solving our recreation funding dispute with a 10-year recreation agreement]," he said. 

Drozd added one of the highlights of the current term was helping to develop the Barrhead and Area Regional Crime Coalition (BARCC). The partnership with the Town of Barrhead, Woodlands County, Rural Crime Watch and the RCMP has received national recognition winning several awards. 

Drozd is also hoping his work as part of a Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) committee will help rural not-for-profit organizations receive a more equitable portion of the provincial casino revenues. 

More recently, Drozd said he was part of the council's work to develop its Community Grant Policy and the Non-residential Tax Incentive Bylaw, to encourage the expansion of county businesses and to help attract new investment and companies to relocate to the municipality. 

As for the future, Drozd hopes to continue to work with the council to promote and market Kiel Industrial Park, adding that their efforts are starting to pay off. He noted that a developer recently put down a deposit for a lot and that council and administration are working hard to finalize the sale. Drozd also said that although the county has its own EDC, it is important to work with its municipal neighbours and other organizations, such as GROWTH Alberta, to increase economic activity in the entire region. 

As part of the efforts to attract investment to the region, Drozd said, it is important that council continue to manage the budget so that tax rates remain competitive with neighbouring communities. 

"I envision the County of Barrhead being the Lethbridge of the North, with a cluster of value-added agriculture industries," Drozd said. 

He said the council also needs to continue their work in conjunction with area residents to develop a parks and open spaces or recreation master plan along with lake management plans for La La Nonne and Thunder Lake.

Barry Kerton,

Barry Kerton

About the Author: Barry Kerton

Barry Kerton is the managing editor of the Barrhead Leader, joining the paper in 2014. He covers news, municipal politics and sports.
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