I first met Lee-Anne Walker on a deep powder day, in the winter of 1993, on the top of an untracked Easter Bowl. That was in the old days, before there was lift access to Curry Bowl, when people climbed to the top before dropping in, because it was considered a skier’s sacrilege to shorten the climb and ski a run from the middle.
Lee-Anne greeted us with a broad, welcoming smile and unbridled joy. Oh, and by the way, she was 6 ½ months pregnant. And that’s how I will always remember her, happy just because she is perennially happy, but also overjoyed to be playing in the great outdoors, to be starting her family here, and to be welcoming Chris and me, newcomers to the community that is so important to her and such a vital component of the Elk Valley lifestyle and experience.
Now, nearly 30 years later, with her daughter, Chalice a young mental health care professional, and her trusty sidekick Gary, still at her side, Lee-Anne Walker is running for RDEK Area A Director. If elected, she will work tirelessly for the community to maintain all of it values and support all of its citizens and the lifestyle that brought us or kept us here.
Lee-Anne asks, “What do we want our Elk Valley future to look like 20, 50, 100 years from now when our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren live or visit here? I want them to be able to paddle the Elk River and the water to be clean, meandering by healthy riverbanks. Hunting and fishing will continue to be active pursuits. People will make a decent living in sustainable jobs and be able to support their families and live in affordable housing in the Elk Valley.”
Lee-Anne’s roots in rural Canada lie deep. Her great grandparents migrated to western and northern Alberta and homesteaded their small farms. She grew up in Springbank, west of Calgary. Her father was a land surveyor for the oil and gas industry, and as a teenager she flew around the prairies with her dad in their light aircraft, to stake out well-sites and right-of-ways for roads and pipelines. In those days before GPS and laser rangefinders, she tells me she was the “rod broad” holding the measuring sticks for her father’s transit.
“When we moved to Springbank our neighbours were farmers and ranchers, and we were all joined together within a cooperative community. We didn’t always agree on every issue, but we always listened to one another respectively and held the welfare of the community in our hearts.” Now the rural region has turned into subdivisions for multimillionaires, and her original neighbours have sold out and moved away. Lee-Anne laments that the spirit of that rural lifestyle vaporized.
As RDEK Director, Lee-Anne Walker is dedicated to preserving community values and the rural character in Area A. People need good paying jobs; they need an affordable place to live; and they came here, and stay here, to enjoy the wonders of an intact and unspoiled natural environment. Above all, Lee-Anne is dedicated to open dialogue, from everyone; those who agree and those who disagree. Community, after all, is fundamentally based on openness and honesty. Reach out to Lee-Anne now, and again after she is elected, with your issues and ideas. She will greet you with her embracing signature smile, and willingness to listen and engage. If we are going to start an open dialogue, and join together as a community, the time to start is NOW.
Above all be sure to vote on October 5, 13 and 15, 2022. It’s a small community and every supporter is essential!
By Jon Turk; www.jonturk.net