Speaking over the phone this week, the owner of the popular local craft beer company explained his reasons for wanting to run in the October 21 elections. Last year, Amber’s Brewing was forced to find a new location because of a sharp rise in rent at its former location in the Ritchie neighbourhood in south central Edmonton. Mr. Gibbon looked for a new location in Edmonton and enlisted the help of Ward 8 City Councillor Ben Henderson, who he described as being a great help.
But after meeting with city staff, who proved to be less helpful in responding to his requests to rezone a potential new location for the brewery, which could have included Petrolia Mall, he decided to look outside Edmonton. According to Mr. Gibbon, city staff told him it would take 18 months to properly rezone a new location, which was an unrealistic time frame for the local business to wait to find a new home. After inquiring with the City of Calgary, who told him they could quickly rezone a space for his brewery if he moved south, Mr. Gibbon told me he looked north to the City of St. Albert, where Amber’s is now brewed in a brewery owned by the Hog’s Head Brewing Company.
“We chase business out,” said Mr. Gibbon, who wants to make the city more friendly and flexible to local entrepreneurs who want to lay down roots in Edmonton.
Not just a simple beer man, Mr. Gibbon is a director of Edmonton’s Heritage Festival and holds a Masters in Business Administration, Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Sciences from the University of Alberta. Mr. Gibbon is the nephew
grandson of Ray Gibbon, who served as mayor of St. Albert from 1968 to 1974 and as interim mayor in 1989.
In Ward 5, Mr. Gibbon faces five other declared candidates: former Catholic school trustee Rudy Arcilla, past provincial Liberal Party candidate Arif Khan, former city council executive assistant Terry Demers, Dan St. Pierre, and Michael Oshry. Ward 5 is currently represented by Councillor Karen Leibovici, who is running for mayor.