Helen Posti. (Submitted photo)

Helen Posti. (Submitted photo)

Mayor for three decades will continue to serve as volunteer

Helen Posti was mayor of Eckville from 1991 to 2021

After half a lifetime of mayoral and council service, Helen Posti will now be spending the extra hours on hand as a community volunteer. Posti describes her time on Eckville town council as memorable and cherished moments of her life.

Posti said, “I do a lot of volunteering, so I will still keep busy. I’m chair of Family and Community Support Services (FCSS), and Eckville Community Center Board, member of 100th Anniversary Committee, Eckville Lions Club, Gilby Kalmu Cemetery Board, and Eckville and District Historical Society. That’s where my energies will be centered now.” She added, “I’m 74 years of age, and life is ever-changing, so I’m going to enjoy and cherish the moments.”

Posti has watched the town grow over the years. She has seen the transition from typewriters and fax machines to going paper-free and meeting virtually. “Thank you to everyone who has helped me through my personal losses and political challenges. It’s been a honour and a privilege to serve for three decades as the mayor of the Town of Eckville.”

Posti stepped into the world of local politics with a passion to introduce Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) to the town. “I ran for council in the by-election of January 1986 and again in the regular election in October of the same year to achieve this goal. By then I was hooked on politics. I served under three mayors until October 1991, becoming Eckville’s second woman mayor in 1991. The first was Marg Andrew.”

Being a trendsetter and breaking the norm, Posti had to navigate being the only woman on council for four years. “I have served with 40 people and each person has brought something unique to the council, of that 11 of us were women.” She added, “I have never felt that I didn’t have the respect of my peers because I am a woman.”

“I have operated under three different Municipal Government Acts (MGA) and am amazed to see it continually changing with some things reverting back. I’ve had the opportunity to meet four Prime Ministers and all of Alberta’s Premiers since I’ve been elected. But the most amazing people I have met and worked with have been in my own community and in central Alberta,” said Posti. “Having had good administration, office staff, public works and a continued good working relationship with Lacombe County made the job so much easier,” she added.

Posti recognizes some of her career highlights with the creation of three new subdivisions, a new firehall with ambulance personal quarters, remodeling of the town office, upgrades to the community center, solar street lights and solar panels on the arena, walking trails, off-leash dog park, completion of paving the town and the new water treatment plant.

“Some of the heartwarming memories are the opening of a cord blood bank at University of Alberta Hospital in memory of young Tanya Smale, showing what a committed family and community can do when they fundraise. Eckville’s 75th anniversary (1996), which truly celebrated the early settlers that built the community to that point…being a part of achieving the Ambulatory Care Center at Sylvan Lake…and most recently the Truth and Reconciliation sidewalk tribute at both schools,” said Posti, adding, “Most of these events in my time as mayor wouldn’t have happened without the support of all the volunteers who operate the facilities and fundraise for our community.”

Posti has been recognized with the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals, the Alberta Centennial Medal, 20 years Distinguished Service Award, and most recently the Award of Excellence for outstanding civic leadership.

Posti wishes new mayor and council the very best for the future. “All the best and good luck for the next four years. These last four years have been the most challenging both in my personal life and my career. The pandemic has changed so much for communities. Not just how we do business but how we are able to connect with people. Getting your message out to people only gets tougher when opinions and values are so divided even within families. But above all, always remember we serve those who are with us and those that are against us,” she concluded.