Sun sets on Christie's time as mayor
Steve Christie ended his final term as mayor on Monday. (Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe.)
Outgoing City of Lacombe Mayor Steve Christie can now drop the mayor title from the front of his name.
On Monday, he officially ended a 13-year career in Lacombe, including seven as mayor.
“It’s bittersweet still,” he said in an interview with the Globe last Thursday. “I still love it. I still enjoy it, but that’s how I want it to stay. In four years, I might not love it so much. I want to leave enjoying it.”
Christie’s start in politics stemmed from a desire to do more for the local community. A volunteer firefighter for the Lacombe Fire Dept. in 2004, he was feeling pretty good about his work. While at a volunteer gala, however, he was inspired to do more.
“As I watched kids and younger people going across the stage getting awards for what they did in their community, I kept thinking I don’t do enough,” he said. “I don’t know what hit me that evening, but I thought I could give more back to my community.”
Later that year, he put his name forward for council, and was elected in his first attempt.
He quickly became intrigued and fell in love with the processes involved with decision-making. So when former mayor Judy Gordon stepped down, he chose to run in her stead.
“We became a city in September 2010 and the election was in October so I was the first elected mayor of the city. That’s a cool thing I’ll always remember.”
Over the course of his career, he’s had many highlights, from the completion of the Lacombe Memorial Centre to the Hwy 2A project triggered Lacombe’s transition from town to city. More recently, he’s proud of finally getting the regional wastewater line going, as well as services to the west area.
Now, he is moving on, taking a position with Scott Builders as a business development manager.
“Part of my job description is to create and maintain relationships and I think my life up to this point has trained me for that and I look forward to being with them,” he said.
Still, there’s plenty he’ll miss about being mayor for the last 13 years.
“Mostly the people,” he said. “There’s been those people, many, many councillors, staff, administration that have brought Lacombe to where it is today and the community itself has pitched in and made Lacombe a great place to be.
“To be part of that decision making is a huge thing for me and a great honour.”
While Christie’s tenure has now reached its end, he did leave a few bits of advice for whomever succeeds him as mayor of the City of Lacombe.
For starters, he advised them to grow a thick skin and realize it’s impossible to make absolutely everyone happy with every decision.
Perhaps most importantly, though, was for the next mayor to pull those elected and re-elected to council together quickly.
“Election naturally create animosity, naturally create barriers and some division in people. The tough part is pulling everybody together and have them work together, side by side and sharing ideas,” he said. “That’s a tough thing to do as a leader - it’s something I didn’t realize in 2010 when I first ran for mayor. It’s your job to pull the team together and pull them together quick.
“You have a lot of work to do, and I wish you all the best.”