Councillor Stacey Hryciuk Named County Reeve
Reeve Stacey Hryciuk. Photo Dawn Riley
Third-term County of Vermilion River Councillor Stacey Hryciuk has been elected by her peers to be the Reeve for the County for the next year. The annual position adds a few tasks to Hryciuk’s role as the Councillor for Division Three, including chairing council meetings, and acting as the public spokesperson for the council. She also has the role of being the closest contact with the County’s Chief Administrative Officer, Harold Northcott.
For those that don’t know, the council is responsible for municipal activities within the County of Vermilion River (CVR), this includes, municipal planning and zoning by-laws, land development, property taxes, bylaw enforcement, fire protection, agriculture services, recreation programs and facilities, building standards, transportation, storm sewer, sidewalk, road maintenance and improvement, water and sewage, and the disposal of garbage within the county. County council is responsible for making the decisions required for these services to operate in the best interests of the county residents. Vermilion River is divided into seven divisions, and while each councillor represents the division they live and were elected in, they do serve the entire county in their positions. The council’s governance power is regulated through the provincial Municipal Government Act.
When Hryciuk was elected eight years ago, she did experience a couple of surprises, both of which provided motivation to continue to expand her knowledge base and be the most efficient councillor she could be. First, Hryciuk knowing there would be rules to comply with, but she had no idea the depth of the policies, bylaws, and legislation that encompassed how a municipality should operate. The amount of knowledge that a councillor needs to access and learn was almost overwhelming, but Hryciuk was more than eager to expand her knowledge base and educate herself on good governance.
She has also found that she enjoys meeting county residents, “the people are my favourite part of the job” she states, “having interesting intelligent conversations and hearing their perspectives” is a daily highlight for Hryciuk.
Councillor Hryciuk has a few goals for her third four-year term, but the continued improvement of the roads is at the top of her list. The Road Network requires a considerable chunk of the county’s budget, and is the largest service that the council provides, so Hryciuk believes focus on the maintenance, improvement and rehab of the roads needs to continue. They have made significant headway on road quality in the past couple of years, along with culvert replacements, bridge maintenance, dust control and Hryciuk would like to see that momentum continue.
She does see some challenges too, the current circumstances of the world both with the pandemic and economic downturn in the energy sector, combined with additional costs imposed by the province and shrinking grants and revenues are going to have a significant effect on the delivery of high standards of service she feels the County strives to achieve.
“We have a lot going for us by way of industry, individuals and talent. If we can stay competitive on a broader scale and improve rural internet service we can create opportunities for Rural Alberta to stay vibrant,” she states.
The federal and world focus on energy away from fossil fuels are issues she is watching closely. The County has a world-class natural gas utility, that with some commitment at higher levels of government, has the ability to redirect vented gas and capture it for use.
“The solutions are there, says Hryciuk, “but unfortunately there is no desire at higher levels as they charge forth on their efforts to eliminate fossil fuel usage, with no real, workable solutions on how people will transport goods or heat their homes during the Alberta winter months.”
Despite the challenges, Hryciuk is optimistic, and she will continue to serve the people, and advocate for the County of Vermilion River, the Region and Rural Alberta along with other leaders, and government levels for what is best for County residents regarding those concerns.