Stol stepping down as Blackfalds mayor
Town of Blackfalds Mayor Melodie Stol will not seek re-election this fall. Stol served on council for 19 years - nine years as councillor, and ten as mayor. (Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe)
The upcoming municipal election will see a changing of the guard as the current Town of Blackfalds mayor relinquishes her role at the helm of Alberta’s fastest growing municipality.
Melodie Stol, who has served on council for 19 years – nine as councillor and the last 10 as mayor – will not be seeking re-election in October.
It’s been on her mind for the about the last four months, but it was made official with an emotional announcement prior to Tuesday night’s council meeting.
“It’s never an easy choice. It was hard,” she said. “I really had to weigh another four-year term versus pursuing career opportunities again. When you look at a 19-year political career and moving to a different career, it’s very overwhelming, but the time is right.”
Stol, then a stay-at-home mother of two, was first elected to council in 1998, looking for ways to become more engaged in the community. During her first year, good night phone calls from her kids during council meetings became somewhat of a tradition.
In 2007, she took over as mayor from Wayne Tutty, and has worked with several different councils to foster a sense of community – and community growth – in a town she’s incredibly proud of.
“Blackfalds is a smashing success,” she said. “It could never have been a success without us all working together. We’ve been successful because egos were put away and people worked together.”
In fact, many of the highlights of her career have involved projects the community and various levels of government came together to make possible.
While she says it’s hard to pick out projects she’s most proud of in a career as long as hers, the Abbey Centre, regional sewer line, the opening of two schools were just a few she said came to mind.
“I’m particularly proud of bring the RCMP to Blackfalds,” she said. “It was a 10-year commitment to go through the process to get them here. That was huge. It’s such a successful operation and to know they’re here and members now want to be transferred here and are buying homes in Blackfalds is very exciting.”
She’s also excited for the grand opening of the Parent Link Centre next week, which will now serve as one of her final engagements as mayor.
“To have a Parent Link Centre in Blackfalds is exciting. It's such a focal point for young families,” she said. “It’s a sweet note to end my career on.”
Now, Stol will be moving on to accept another position, with details to be released later.
As for her biggest regret? Not running in an election where council will not get in by acclamation.
“Hey, I’d have to win, but how exciting is it people in Blackfalds have said Blackfalds matters to me and I want to make a difference,” Stol said, noting she’s encouraged by the attitude of all the candidates stepping into the race.
“I’m seeing people who are sincerely committed to trying to make Blackfalds a better place… This isn’t about winners or losers, it’s about wanting Blackfalds to succeed.”
Over the course of the next few weeks, Stol is making herself available to talk to future candidates about the commitment of being an elected official, questions and concerns. As well, she and the current council will work to ensure the success of the future council.
“I’ll miss it terribly,” she said. “But we’ll have some fun in the next few weeks and I wish everyone luck.”