Sherwood Park 50 years
January 17, 2007
First County Council Meetings Held in Edmonton
In 1953, John Hook Campbell received approval (by a vote of 9-6) from the Municipal District of Strathcona to proceed with the housing development that was to become Sherwood Park. The new community was represented on the Municipal District Council by area farmer, Andy Adamson and the School Board representative was Wes Hosford, also a local farmer.
The Municipal District was declared the County of Strathcona in 1962. As a result, the roles of County Councillor and School Board Trustee were combined. Based on population, Sherwood Park was allocated one elected position. The issues of the time were the lack of mail delivery and recreation facilities. The first Sherwood Park Councillor was Bob Wegren. Meetings were held at the county offices on 81 Avenue and 104 Street in Edmonton!
By 1965, the population of Sherwood Park was approximately 6,000 and increased representation was a key election issue. An election rally was held at the new Community Hall and discussion centred around incorporation with the City of Edmonton, recreation facilities and fluoridation of the water supply. Sherwood Park voters elected the first woman to sit on council, Sally Stewart. Women were rare in rural government. Sherwood Park's 25th Anniversary book notes that at meetings of municipal districts and counties, speakers would address the audience, "Gentlemen and Mrs. Stewart".
Following the 1971 election, which still saw only one representative for the 16,000 residents of Sherwood Park, a 5,000-name petition was presented to the Alberta Legislature. In the spring of 1972, Sherwood Park's representation was increased to 3 councillors.
During the late 1960s and through the 1970s government services increased along with the population in both urban and rural Strathcona County. The first permanent RCMP detachment opened in 1967 in the rear of the fire hall. Bus service entered the public sector in 1977. Family and Community Services began its programming in the late 1970s and the first recreation director in Sherwood Park started in 1967. In 1976, the County Building was opened, housing administrative offices, provincial government offices and the public library.
By 1977, there were 4 representatives for Sherwood Park on County Council and three additional members-at-large were elected for the School Board. In 1987, a plebiscite was held to determine whether a single government should continue to be responsible for both Sherwood Park and rural Strathcona County. Eighty-nine per cent voted in favour of maintaining a single government.
In 1994, the School Board and Municipal Government decided to operate as separate entities. The schools now operate under the banner of Elk Island Public Schools.
A small name change to Strathcona County in 1995 was followed in 1996 by a change in legal status to a "Specialized Municipality". This designation treats the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as the equivalent to a "city" for the purposes of Provincial programs and grants, and rural Strathcona County is considered equivalent to a municipal district.