Board Member Profile: Cathy Heron

This week's Board member profile shines the spotlight on President Cathy Heron. Cathy has been involved with Alberta Municipalities since 2015. She has served continuously on St. Albert City Council since 2010, when she was first elected as a councillor. Cathy was elected Mayor in 2017, and was re-elected in 2021.

What attracted you to join the ABmunis board?

Former President Lisa Holmes encouraged me to run for the board in 2015. I was nervous and intimidated by the quality of people I’d seen on the board during my five years on city council. At the same time, I was excited to get involved. I’m a firm believer in the adage, “The more you put into something, the more you get out of it.”

I’d always enjoyed Alberta Municipalities’ Convention and the work done by the board, so I was enthusiastic to learn more about the association and myself. I also saw it as an opportunity to showcase my own community and make myself a better member of council. Local government is such a passion for me. I love the proximity to the residents and their everyday life, so the opportunity to understand the issues of big and small communities was enticing.

What are you most proud of in your time in municipal politics?

From a St. Albert perspective, that’s difficult to answer. After 13 years on council, I see small parts of my decisions everywhere. I love driving down St. Albert Trail and seeing all the mature trees in the median – the result of one of my motions. It’s a great feeling. I’m also proud of much of the regional work I’ve done.

It was a great and humbling day in October 2017 when, after a hard race, St. Albert’s residents selected me to be their mayor. As Mayor, I’m proud of the collaboration and consensus building we’ve done. Pushing the agenda on many of St. Albert’s evolving social issues will probably be the most impactful part of my time on council.

From an Alberta Municipalities’ perspective, it has been an honour to serve as President. I continue to try to break down the urban-rural divide as I believe we cannot thrive without the support of our neighbours. I had a blast taking part in ABmunis’ rebranding, as I believed it was vitally important to ensure all members could relate to our new name and brand. Over the past few years, our Board of Directors has been focused on member engagement. Watching Board members report back with so much excitement on a visit really makes me smile.

Which of Alberta Municipalities’ products & services has your municipality taken advantage of? Why? What value have you received from them?

St. Albert takes advantage of ABmunis’ Benefits program and Power+. St. Albert decided to procure some of our electricity from green sources through Power+.

What would you like your colleagues in other municipalities to know about ABmunis?

I'd like them to understand how hard the staff and Board work for the members. Everything we do is focused, making it easier for councils and municipalities to succeed. No matter the size of your community, the issues tend to overlap and are remarkably similar. The Association constantly tries to find the right solution for ALL municipalities. This isn’t always easy, but it’s our most important consideration.

What excites you about the future of municipalities in Alberta?

I’m excited by everyone’s involvement! I’ve met so many phenomenal elected representatives and municipal staff. Their passion is infectious. Everyone cares so much. When it comes to finding solutions to the complex challenges Albertans face, I’m certain that local government will continue to have a loud and influential voice in those conversations.

The faces around the table are changing. They are younger and more diverse than before, and that’s exciting. The province of Alberta is in good hands. I deeply appreciate all that our members do for local government.