Jolene Airth has become the first candidate to file nomination papers for the new Rocky View County Division 3.

The newly-formed division is north and west of Cochrane and east into Bearspaw.

From a family with deep roots in the county, Airth says she is eager to listen to the concerns and ideas of residents and will work to maintain the quality of life offered in the county.

She's been an active volunteer in her community, including serving on the Westbrook School Parent Council, with Alberta 4-H and other organizations. Now she wants to give back to residents as an RVC councillor.

"I feel Rocky View is such an extremely diverse county with many issues. Everyone I talk to has a different story that they are really concerned about or an idea that they want to bring forward. I'm here to listening to everybody and bring forward what concerns and ideas they have."

First and foremost, she says Rocky View County needs councillors who can work together as a team.

"It's extremely disappointing to see what has transpired in these last few years with sanctions and the lawsuits. There's no way a council can be effective and do anything for its residents if they can't work together and respect each other."

She says she's found it a pleasure to work with several groups over the years.

"If you enter those boards with respect, integrity, and honesty, you're going to get the job done. I think first and foremost, that's where it is. We need respect, and we need teamwork, and I'm ready to give that."

There's a wealth of gravel in Rocky View County, and it's particularly noticeably along Hwy. 567 where there are existing aggregate mines and more planned for the future.

She says the question of the safe extraction of gravel is on everybody's mind.

"I believe that there are appropriate areas for gravel pits and inappropriate areas. I'm going to ask all those questions. I'm going to talks to the residents, find out the guts of the story, and what do we need to do here to protect all those important things."

She says she's concerned Rocky View County might be forgotten by the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board and is concerned that may be the same case with other surrounding towns and counties.

"Calgary is a huge and amazing place, but so are we. Rocky View has so much to offer, and our residents deserve better. They deserve to be represented. I just want to make sure that we don't get swallowed up by Calgary. We need strong council members to stand up to Calgary and fight for Rocky View, and I am that person."

Airth says she's neither pro nor con when it comes to development. Her focus is to make sure it takes place in the appropriate place.

"I'm going to ask those tough questions. We're going to get the answers, and we're going make the responsible decision. Sometimes we're going to vote for development, and sometimes we're going to vote against it, but we're going to make the right decision."

The Airth family moved to the Big Hill Springs area about 80 years ago. The children of Jolene and her husband Howard are fifth-generation residents of the county.

"We live on the family ranch, and it's been such an important part of our family. We have started our Big Hill Sheep Farm here, and our children are part of it. They're raising sheep here, they're talking to customers, they're making connections, and it's just so important to our family to be part of agriculture, and to give back to our community through our farm."

Airth will be launching her website soon and looks forward to meeting people in person when COVID-19 restrictions permit.

"I'm going to be spending a lot of time talking to people. The more people I can talk to and hear what is important to them, the more effective I'm going to be in council."