WESTLOCK – Clem Fagnan’s 21 years as a Town of Westlock councillor has been lauded by the association that represents the province’s cities, towns, villages, summer villages and specialized municipalities.
During the Alberta Municipalities (formerly Alberta Urban Municipalities Association) convention and trade show Nov. 18 in Edmonton, Fagnan was one of 21 men and women to officially receive a ‘Distinguished Service Award.’ Fagnan, whose council career was spread across five decades, had been nominated by council back in the summer for the award that “recognizes elected officials of Alberta urban municipalities who have served 20 or more years in an Alberta municipality.”
Fagnan, 80, served as a town councillor from 1983-1986, 1989-1990, 1998-2004 and 2010-2021 and narrowly missed out on a seat in 1995 when he finished 13 votes behind the sixth-place vote getter. He also let his name stand twice for mayor, losing bids in 1986 and 2004.
Now serving as an Evergreen Catholic School Division trustee representing Westlock, a position he won in the Oct. 18 municipal election, Fagnan again thanked the past councillors, mayors and administration team members he worked with.
“It was nice to receive the award and nice to be able to receive it in person. The work I’m doing now with the school board is similar in that it’s governance, but it’s also a bit different and certainly interesting,” said Fagnan, who joked that since he’s retired from council he’s not missing getting calls from residents about when their streets will be cleared of snow.
The award nomination package notes his volunteerism began 50 years ago as a member of the Westlock volunteer fire department and extended to all levels of sport and service clubs like the Knights of Columbus and the Westlock Rotary Club. Fagnan, who moved to town in 1969 from Vimy, first ran for council to be an advocate for the fire department, while his career highlights range from sewer system upgrades, the formation of the water commission, seniors housing, the formation of Homeland Housing to the improved regional collaboration between municipalities and partners within the region.
“I’m a community-minded person, so whatever needs to be done, if I can help out, I do. That's how I’ve always approached things, whether on council, or just being a volunteer,” said Fagnan in a past interview. “I’ve always been about making Westlock a better place.”
“Councillor Fagnan's career has reinforced our infrastructure, supported our residents and exemplified the spirit of community and service,” notes the nomination package filled out by CAO Simone Wiley.
At town council’s Nov. 22 meeting, mayor Ralph Leriger said he’ll always have a soft spot for Fagnan, who he served alongside for eight years and has known for decades. It was a sentiment shared by Coun. Murtaza Jamaly, who spent six years at the council table with Fagnan.
“I just can’t say enough about how much I’ve enjoyed working with Clem over the years. My favourite part of the conference was being there to see him get his award,” said Leriger.
“It’s been a joy working with Clem and he definitely got the recognition he deserved,” added Jamaly.