BOYLE — Boyle will have a bigger reach for at least a year now that one it her councillors is on a provincial board.
Coun. Shelby Kiteley put her name in for a provincial committee at the recent Alberta Municipalities (AM) convention and is looking forward to bringing the voice of Boyle to the table.
“AM supports all the municipalities, no matter the size,” said Kiteley. “(They) identify key issues which get voted on by way of resolution at the annual convention then they lobby the governments to try to make positive changes, whether that's policy or funding or whatever.”
The specific committee she was appointed to is Safe and Healthy Communities she said in a Dec. 23 interview.
"They consider the issues relating to emergency medical responses and health, policing, recreation. culture, senior support. So, it's a pretty broad community committee.”
The appointment is for one year but any of the current 10 members can reapply and extend their term and it suits Kiteley who is already a highly active volunteer ensuring the residents of Boyle are supported whether it is through fundraising for the school or Angels in Motion or making decision on council.
"A lot of the things that I stand for are helping, making sure people are taken care of in a fair manner,” said Kiteley. “So, I thought out of all the committees this one might be the best fit for me.”
The AM convention was held Nov. 17 to 19 so as the days went by and she did not hear anything, Kiteley thought she wasn’t chosen, then the e-mail came Dec. 21 so now she will have a minimum of four meetings in the coming year with other appointees from places like Edmonton, Gibbons, Whitecourt, Wetaskiwin, Airdrie, Stony Plain, and Cochrane.
"I'm looking forward to it. It's just so important that somebody from a not only a small municipality, but a small rural municipality get their voice heard there,” she said. “Because social issues just look so much different from Edmonton and the surrounding areas or Calgary and surrounding areas. Sometimes we get glossed over just because we don't have the same population and what works there isn't going to work here.”
Kiteley notes larger centres have public transit, homeless shelters and other key social supports where in rural settings those things can be dozens of kilometres apart leaving people separated and stranded.
"We could have the same resources in a neighbouring community, but when you're travelling 50 to 60 kilometres to get there, that's not always a luxury people have,” said Kiteley. “When it comes to seniors housing – you live in a city, your mom might be across the city, but she's still in the same city.”
So, Kiteley is willing to do the work and be the voice at the table not just for Boyle but the greater Athabasca region.
“I think that being on those committees, you're going to be privy to what might be coming down the pipe, what we need to make our area aware of in terms of changes to any policies or funding or what grants might be available to provide better services in the community,” she said.
"So, I’m trying to get my foot in the door and if I can get Boyle's voice heard and put on the map and looked at in these sorts of situations, then maybe that'll create a little bit more pull for the entire area.”