It was a somber day for city council as they returned to the chamber’s with some unfortunate news.
The session started with Mayor Gerald Aalbers informing the public of the death of former Mayor and city councillor Ken Baker. Baker served as a councillor from 1994 to 2000 and was elected Mayor in the fall of 2000. He served in the role for 9 years before stepping away from municipal politics. He returned and was re-elected councillor in a 2014 by-election and again in 2016.
“He expressed his views and was not one to mince words. He laid out his position and was an excellent team player. He taught us an awful lot in these past four years and I’ll miss those guiding pieces,” says Mayor Aalbers, reflecting on their recent time on council.
Under his leadership, the city saw the development of the Servus Sports Centre and the Vic Juba Community Theatre. He also played an important role as a veteran in the local construction industry. Councillor Aaron Buckingham recalled his time as the President of the Lloydminster Chamber of Commerce and the impact Baker had on him during that time.
“I remember thinking ‘This is a giant of community’ who did so much and continues to do so much. I could only aspire to be half as community-minded as Mayor Baker was at the time.”
Baker was recognized by both the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association and the Municipalities of Saskatchewan for his over 20 years of service on municipal council.
“He had no interest in being in front of people and walking across a stage to receive an accolade and that to me was the measure of the man. That to me speaks to everything you need to know about Ken Baker. He did everything he thought was right when he thought was right for the community. Whether he thought it made him look great or bad, it didn’t matter. In his heart he was doing everything he thought was right for no accolade whatsoever.”
All members of city council and city staff expressed their condolences at the meeting.
“To Jean and his family, our deepest condolences. I consider Councillor Baker a good friend and a great mentor. I will deeply miss him,” says Aalbers.
Baker died the morning of November 23rd. The city says his death was a result of natural causes and is not related to COVID-19.