Town appoints acting CAO following motorcycle fatality
Four months after taking over the job as the Town of Sundre’s chief administrative officer, Verne Balding has died in a motorcycle crash in southeastern Alberta.
At about 5:15 p.m. on June 29 Balding’s motorcycle left Highway 500 and crashed into the ditch just outside Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park, said Milk River RCMP Const. Rob Zintel.
“Emergency services from Milk River attended and the occupant of the motorcycle was pronounced dead at the scene,” he said.
“It happened on Highway 500 and if you are familiar with that area it changes to a gravel road and it is at that point where this took place,” he said.
Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the crash, he said, adding that police do not yet know whether speed was a factor.
The RCMP investigation into the crash is ongoing, he said.
Balding, 58, who came to Sundre from Jasper, where he had worked as that town’s Director of Corporate and Legislative Services, was an avid outdoorsman and sportsman.
“I look forward to making a difference in what I see as a progressive and dynamic community,” Balding said when he became Sundre’s CAO in March.
Councillors held a moment of silence for Balding at the start of last week’s council meeting.
Mayor Annette Clews said although Balding was only with the town for a short time, he was very active in a number of areas, including working on development issues with Mountain View County.
Deputy Mayor Chris Vardas said he will be missed.
“Verne was only here for a short time, but he did have an impact on our community,” said Vardas.
Councillors also passed a motion appointing Dave Dubauskas, with Traditional Solutions, as the town’s acting CAO subject to contract negotiations.
Dubauskas served as acting CAO before Balding took over the job as permanent CAO in March.
The search for a new permanent CAO will get underway soon, says Mayor Clews.
Councillors passed a second motion to have $250 donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association and $250 donated to the Canadian Association of Disabled Skiing in memory of Balding. Balding’s family recommended the two charities.
Deputy Mayor Vardas said the donations are a fitting tribute to Balding’s memory.
The Sundre and District Chamber of Commerce issued the following statement on Balding’s passing: “The Sundre Chamber of Commerce, while only having a short time to work with him, was impressed with his knowledge, passion and skill. Our thoughts are with his family at this time.” A Facebook page has been set up for people to pass on their condolences to his family. A funeral was scheduled to be held in Jasper last Saturday.