“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” Nelson Mandela
OKOTOKS, AB: It is with great sadness that the Town of Okotoks announces the passing of Mayor Bill Robertson on July 7 after a brave battle with cancer.
“On behalf of Town Council we extend our deepest condolences to his wife Elaine, their children Michael, Jeffery and Bradley and all members of his family,” said Deputy Mayor Florence Christophers. “Bill will be profoundly missed, both as a great leader in our community and as a mentor and a friend.”
Mayor Robertson was first elected to Council in 1995 and served continuously for more than a quarter of a century. He served five terms as a councillor before being elected mayor in 2010, and re-elected for two more terms in 2013 and 2017. During his tenure, Okotoks grew from a small town of less than 10,000 to almost 30,000 people and experienced significant changes.
Some major milestones during his time on Council included the construction of Drake Landing, which was the first solar community in North America, the opening of the Dawgs stadium, the expansion of the Pason Arenas, regional partnerships with Foothills County including the shared Regional Fieldhouse, Champion Park and, most recently, the long-awaited supplemental water solution through the regional water pipeline agreement.
He was always ready to participate in activities to support the community include braving freezing temperatures for the annual United Way Roof Top Rescue fundraiser, participating in annual events such as the parade and Light Up Okotoks, and sharing his passion for the community with visitors from around the world.
As a retired teacher, his passion for teaching transferred to his life of public service with his commitment to supporting youth and engaging them as important members of the Okotoks community. He enthusiastically volunteered to visit classrooms or host groups of students who visited the Municipal Centre, always with a pocketful of Okotoks pencils and pins to share.
“He was a tireless advocate for our community and contributed greatly to the success Okotoks and the region over the years,” said CAO Elaine Vincent “His leadership, warmth, respect and compassion were felt by all who had the opportunity to interact with him.”
Flags have been lowered to half-mast in honour of the mayor, and a memorial has been created at the Municipal Centre with a book of condolences that residents are invited to sign. The book will be open to the public during regular office hours Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. or residents can go online to sign it virtually.