Mayor’s battle with cancer prompts him to not seek re-election

Paul Krauskopf

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – Mayor Paul Krauskopf announced after Tuesday night’s Council meeting that he would not seek re-election in the Oct. 21 General Municipal Election. The mayor made his brief announcement, had a press release circulated to media, and asked that he not be asked any questions after the meeting.

The mayor’s battle with cancer began July 6, 2010 when he was taken to the emergency department with constipation problems. The next day a CT scan revealed he had colon cancer, and surgery the following day removed a 24-centimetre section of his colon. Over the next year, the cancer had spread to two lymph nodes in his pelvis. His oncologist gave him six months to live or an eight per cent chance of living five years if he began chemo treatments.

Over the past three years battling cancer, Krauskopf has continued to serve on Council, taking on the chair of mayor when former Morinville Mayor Lloyd Bertschi stepped down due to work commitments out side the community. However, recent reflection and discussion with family and his doctor prompted Mayor Krauskopf’s decision to retire from municipal service after 15 years.

“After the recent FCM Conference in Vancouver I came to realize that the cancer battles I have lost over the last three years were taking their toll on my body and my health, but [I] believe I have not lost the war yet,” the mayor wrote in a letter distributed to the press June 11. “Upon return and conferring with my wife Linda and my doctor I made the decision. Although my doctor told me that being on Council gave me purpose to carry on, he totally supported my decision, as did Linda. God has spoken and given me direction, and as always I put my life in his hands. I have faith.”

Mayor Krauskopf went on to thank his Council colleagues for their support over the years and for giving him the honour of being Morinville’s mayor for a year. Krauskopf also thanked Chief Administrative Officer Debbie Oyarzun for keeping him on the straight and narrow, and Directors Claude Valcourt, David Schaefer, Kerry Dawson and Greg Hofmann for their ongoing support. The mayor’s letter went on to praise the Town’s staff for being friendly and always making time for him.

Krauskopf also praised the residents of Morinville for 15 years of support and encouragement, and for letting him know “directly about the good and the bad in a respectful and knowledgeable manner and not through negative and nasty comments.”

The closing paragraphs of Mayor Krauskopf’s letter show regret in making the decision as well as hope for the continued growth of the community he has lived in his entire life.

“There are many things happening and many more things to come in the future of Morinville,” the mayor wrote. “It was my wish to be a part of that. [The Highway] 642 plan, Coeur de Morinville, Economic Development, hotel, major commercial, residential growth, Highway 2 corridor, Cardiff interchange (I still have not given up) including Ray Gibbon Drive extension, Regional Recreation Master Plan Parks Plan, affordable housing, and many things I may have forgotten or haven’t been brought forward yet. It is an exciting future for Morinville and residents should be excited about the opportunities that Morinville will experience. Looking at everything in a negative way makes that difficult. Stepping out of the box and looking at the big picture and there it is – the bright future for Morinville.”

The mayor continued his letter saying he believed Council had slowly yet effectively dealt with improvement on the community’s property taxes, and that it was important to remember to continually ensure that there is money going into reserves for the infrastructure needs of the community in the future.

“Financially, Morinville stands in good shape and we need to build on that,” the mayor wrote. “It may have been painful in the beginning, but it will pay off big time in the future. Many municipalities are now trying to play catch up at a higher cost in today’s dollars.”

Krauskopf said he hoped a future Council would consider his 2013 budget motion to allocate a portion of new property tax assessment in each current year to recreation infrastructure.

The mayor closed his letter by saying he didn’t want it to sound like a campaign speech. “It has been fun, exciting, and sometimes difficult, but I do not regret one single moment of the last 15 years,” Krauskopf wrote. “Good luck and best wishes to the new mayor and Council. Thank you, thank you, and thank you.”

Nomination Day for the Alberta General Municipal Election is set for Sept. 23. No incumbent member of Council has yet clearly indicated whether they will run for mayor this fall.

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9 Comments

  1. I’m sad to hear that Paul is not seeking re-election as I believe that you have done an excellent job. However, I understand and respect your reasons for not running and Cliff and I just want to wish you and your wife all the best in the future.

    Thanks for the 15 years you have given this town.

    Linda and Cliff

  2. There is no doubt that you bleed Morinville.

    Any future Mayor or Councillors would be wise to seek your council on important issues.

    You have given so much to your community in SO many ways. An example to all.

    Thank you, does not seem like enough.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  3. While I’m sorry to hear you are leaving, I think you made the right decision – health and family first. Having worked with you on the Library Board and seen your work as a councillor and Mayor, I think that the Town will miss your support and guidance. Your love of the Town and doing work for the people is appreciated and will be missed.

    Brent

  4. Paul will be missed very greatly at Council. We were lucky to have him serve for so long, and for the last period as a very capable Mayor. I wish him all the best for the future and keep up the fight!

  5. You are and have been a model of respect and service to the Town of Morinville and the people.
    We will all miss your words of wisdom during the many meetings you attended at council and elsewhere!

    You are Mr Morinville!

    The Lord will handle you with gentle hands as you have been a faithful servant to all!

    Ron Cust
    Morinville Fire Chief

  6. What can I say, there is no doubt the dedication and commitment you have given to this community over the last 15 years. You leave large shoes to fill. It was an honour for me to serve 6 years on Council with you and I know first hand the respect you have gained from all not just this community but in the greater Edmonton area and beyond. I hope the new Council whomever they will be can step up to the plate and be truly for the betterment of this community and nothing else. You will be greatly missed with your wealth of knowledge and your kind demenour and my hat is off to you. May you find peace and happiness in your next journey in healing yourself and dedicated time to your very supportive family.

  7. Although truly sorry you will not be running in the upcoming election, I am confident that you have made the right decision – your health must come above all else!

    Now you can sit back and watch the fun as your potential successors jockey for position!

    See you at breakfast…

  8. Paul,

    From the beginning of me attending council meetings, you’ve always been a pleasure to listen to and watch. Your love for Morinville and its citizens has been obvious in the comments and decisions that you make. I appreciate, very much, the time that you have given to helping make Morinville an even better place to live.

    Thank you for your service and your encouragement. May you find peace and health in your decision. God bless you and your family during your difficult times.

    Rob Ladouceur

  9. Morinville has been very lucky to have Mayor Krauskopf both as a Councillor and now as a Mayor. I used to work for the Town, and I noted that he was always a voice of reason and wisdom. He deserves full praise for his service and his devotion.

    God Bless and Godspeed, Mr. Mayor!

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