May 19th, 2024

Coaldale mayor Kim Craig not running again this fall


By Tim Kalinowski on May 22, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDtkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

Mayor Kim Craig says the cloud of negativity hanging over Coaldale for much of the past year has not diminished his high hopes for the community as he gets set to retire from municipal politics. Craig confirmed to The Herald earlier this week he would not be running as mayor again this fall.
“I served five terms on council and four consecutive terms as mayor,” he stated. “I have worked diligently and hard for the citizens of Coaldale, and served with the blessing of having many good members of council and a top-notch management team. We have been able to achieve many things this term. I feel I am able to end my career in Coaldale politics on a high note.”
Citing recent accomplishments like securing provincial funding for a new high school in Coaldale and the establishment of a new recreation centre, Craig said he is pleased with the future trajectory of the community.
“A small town, I believe, can only continue to sustain itself by being innovative, creative and collaborative,” he said. “We would not be able to achieve as much as we have without collaboration with the County of Lethbridge, without collaboration with St. Mary’s Irrigation District, without collaboration with Palliser School Trustees, and collaboration with local businesses. And if everything goes the way I think it will keep going, we are going to be amazed at the investment local business people are going to be starting to make within Coaldale– all because they see the promise of what Coaldale is.”
A former president of the Coaldale Chamber of Commerce and a retired investment planner, Craig was first elected to town council in 2004 and won his first term as mayor in 2007. Proving popular in the community, he was acclaimed in his second term in 2010 and won again in 2013. In 2017 Craig narrowly defeated opponent Jack Van Rijn by 59 votes, setting up a rivalry between the two men which was to define much of his last term in office. Craig, a fiscal conservative, also ran as a Progressive Conservative nominee in the riding of Little Bow in 2012, coming in third in the race.
When asked what he was most proud of in his five terms in office, Craig said it was lowering the tax burden on Coaldale residents and attracting new enterprises to the community.
“When I first started office the Town had a very high rate of residential property tax versus non-residential,” said Craig. “Like 92 per cent residential versus eight per cent non-residential. Over time, we have been able to increase that to almost 15 or better per cent non-residential. The reliance on residential property tax payers has eased off quite a bit because of the ability to use innovation and creativity in building the industrial park and attracting the commercial businesses within Coaldale.”
Craig acknowledged the conflicts of the last four years in the community surrounding council’s choices, including the site selection for a new high school and recreation centre, the decision to construct a new civic square, and others, like the successful Citizens for a Better Coaldale petition drive. But, he said, he prefers to dwell on the positive– comparing The Town of Coaldale to a beautiful, abundant and growing apple tree.
“I can keep you on the phone for an hour listing all the great things that are happening in Coaldale,” Craig affirmed. “It is funny when you look at life. Some people can look at an apple tree and say it is beautiful and awesome. And then some people can look at an apple tree and see one little worm in one apple, and think the whole tree is damaged.
“I look at the apple tree and say it is a beautiful tree, and its abundance is outstanding,” he said.

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