By Heather Cameron
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
During the Vauxhall Town Council Meeting on October 23, Councillor Margaret Plumtree announced her resignation from Council.
“I resigned from my position on the council after a decade of service for a combination of reasons,” Plumtree stated. “First and foremost, I observed a stagnation of forward thinking in our decision-making processes. While we had achieved remarkable milestones during my tenure, such as the construction of the new pool, the beautiful library, the revival of the once-condemned barbershop, unforgettable centennial celebrations, and the restoration of our beloved mascots Sammy and Samantha, I felt that there was still more that we could do to further the progress of our community. I, however, began to sense a lack of momentum and action on critical matters that could have a significant impact on our community’s future.”
Newly-appointed Mayor Kim Cawley thanked Councillor Plumtree for her service and told her that she was more than just a councillor, that she was definitely a fantastic volunteer and helped in a lot of areas to keep all kinds of things going. On Council’s behalf, Cawley expressed appreciation to Plumtree for the time and effort spent in Vauxhall on Council and as a community member.
“The positive responses I have received from the community and fellow Councillors and partners are a heartwarming reflection of the appreciation and respect earned over your years of dedicated service,” Plumtree said. “It’s clear that the past contributions have made a significant impact, and my decision to step down has touched the hearts of many. The kind words and expressions of gratitude are a testament to the strong bonds built.”
During the time she served on Council, Plumtree said, various initiatives were addressed including the restoration of the recreation facility, which involved painting the exterior and deciding to change the design of the office roof to avoid ongoing maintenance costs associated with a flat roof.
Plumtree states that one of the other projects she was passionate about was the tourism study the Town of Vauxhall Council worked on with regional partners, specifically focusing on recreation tourism.
“Unfortunately, this initiative faltered due to a lack of funds, grants, and decreases in municipal funding from the province,” Plumtree said. “I firmly believe that our community has immense potential for growth and development, particularly in the realm of tourism and economic opportunities. My biggest disappointment during this time has been my inability to garner support for our Legion from either our provincial or federal representatives. Witnessing the struggles and potential closures of these important community institutions has been profoundly disheartening. Our Legion holds a special place in our community, preserving the legacy of our veterans and providing essential services.”
The committees she has been a part of, Plumtree says, have championed causes like improving ambulance services, expanding access to nurse practitioners, securing funding for local casinos, enhancing broadband connectivity, promoting regional economic development alliances, and supporting green energy initiatives.
“What I will miss most about being on the council is the opportunity for advocacy, both at the provincial and federal levels,” Plumtree said. “Over the past seven years, I’ve had the privilege of serving on the Alberta Municipalities Small Communities Committee for five years and then the Economic Strategy Committee for the last two years at Alberta Municipalities (formerly AUMA). These experiences have been deeply rewarding as our team has tirelessly advocated for a wide range of essential initiatives. It’s been a remarkable journey working alongside dedicated individuals who share a passion for the betterment of our community.”
After serving for a decade, Plumtree says, she felt it was an appropriate time to step back, allowing fresh
perspectives and ideas to invigorate the Council’s direction. During her previous terms, Plumtree also served for a long period as mayor of Vauxhall.
“As I step away from my council role, I will continue to carry the torch of advocacy in my heart,” Plumtree said. “I remain committed to exploring avenues for supporting our Legion and ensuring that their vital work continues. Our veterans’ contributions and their legacies deserve the recognition and assistance they rightly deserve.”
As Plumtree transitions away from her role on Council, she says she is excited to continue her journey in various capacities that will allow her to make a positive impact on the community. Currently, Plumtree says, she works at Taber Adult Learning as a Job Developer and Communications specialist.
“This role is incredibly rewarding, as it involves assisting adults in their preparations for employment and collaborating with employers to provide work exposure opportunities for these individuals,” Plumtree said. “I also have the privilege of managing the organization’s Facebook page and am actively involved in developing their website.”
Plumtree says that in addition to her work at Taber Adult Learning, she continues to work as an esthetician part-time at Perfectly Me, where she can connect with clients and provide valuable services.
Looking ahead, Plumtree says she is thrilled to share that starting in November, she will be serving on the Board of Directors for the Taber and District Chamber of Commerce.
“This new role allows me to channel my passion for advocacy into action as I work with the chamber to further our community’s interests and support local businesses and initiatives,” Plumtree said. “I am grateful for the opportunities to continue serving our community in these diverse roles and look forward to making a positive impact in each capacity. My commitment to advocating remains unwavering, and I’m excited about the new avenues for change and growth that lie ahead. As I embark on this new chapter, I wish council all the best.”