Mayor awarded enviable Diamond Jubilee Medal

For 21 years of service to the Town of Ponoka, Mayor Larry Henkelman has received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Mayor Larry Henkelman was just awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his service to the community.

Mayor Larry Henkelman was just awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his service to the community.

For 21 years of service to the Town of Ponoka, Mayor Larry Henkelman has received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Henkelman is now among one of 60,000 Canadians who have received the medal; in his case the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) nominated Henkelman for his contributions.

“I was surprised, especially that it came from FCM,” he stated.

The organization advocates for most municipalities across the country and Henkelman is grateful for the acknowledgement.

Looking back over the years, Henkelman has been able to develop some strong relationships with other municipalities and the provincial government. “I’ve built up some really good relationships with provincial powers.”

For Ponoka he is proud of keeping the town’s infrastructure maintained for future growth. Other communities are facing an aging system that is need of repair, which will require funding and planning.

“I believe we’ve set our town out financially for the future,” he stated.

The mayor also feels Ponoka has a strong reputation of being a friendly and welcoming place to stay. “It’s a great place to thrive…You couldn’t ask for a better community.”

One of the biggest challenges he feels the town had was in annexation of land for future commercial development. He remembers times when there was no industrial land for sale, which made growth difficult. “That was a major project for the Town of Ponoka.”

Being a politician can have its and ups and downs but Henkelman feels the greatest part about representing residents is the chance to see and talk with residents and councillors across the province and country.

“It’s the social contact that you have with people,” he said.

He credits past and present councillors for their ability to support a council’s decision and has enjoyed the camaraderie with those councils.

“We’ve always had great councils in that respect; if they (councillors) voted against something, they would still support the democratic decision,” explained Henkelman.

The mayor started as a councillor in October 1980 until 1989 when he took a break from public service. Henkelman became a councillor again October 2001 and was elected mayor in 2004.

There are more than 2,000 communities across Canada who have membership with FCM. The organization deals with the federal government on different issues faced by municipalities such as roads, housing, policing and even green innovation.