Council Biographies

Council Biographies

Roger Morrill


Phone: 780-675-2063


Roger Morrill first entered the arena of municipal politics in November, 2009, after winning a by-election to fill a vacant seat on Town Council. The 2013-2017 term is his second term serving as Mayor.

 A dentist by profession, Roger has many years of experience serving the Athabasca community and listening to the cares of local and area residents. He began his dental practice in Athabasca 34 years ago where he continues to provide dentistry services.

Originally a resident of the Rochester area where his family farmed, Roger attended Rochester School before attending Edwin Parr Composite School in Athabasca to complete his last two years. From there, he went on to the University of Alberta.

Roger has been a resident of the Town Of Athabasca since 2006. He enjoys cycling and cross country skiing and is an active member of the Wa-no Kaze Kai Karate Club where he is working towards his third degree black belt.

As Mayor for the 2013-2017 term Roger’s goal is to provide effective leadership for the councillor team and to continue contributing to the decision-making process in a meaningful way for the benefit of all residents.


Shelly Gurba


Home: 780-675-3516

Cell: 780-689-9775



Shelly Gurba has worked in Athabasca since 1986 and is currently teaching at Edwin Parr Composite School.

She brings to her role as an Athabasca Town Councillor several years of experience with local government, having served six years in the Summer Village of Island Lake South. She feels that this experience will help with any challenges she may face serving on Town Council.

She acknowledges that the Town of Athabasca operates on a bigger scale than the SV of Island Lake South and the responsibilities of Town Council may be more demanding, but she is ready to take on the task.

Shelly believes that local government needs to be accountable to the people of Athabasca and wants to maintain open communication lines to the concerns of all residents. It is her desire to promote and support community growth and development that is sustainable.

Town Councillors are required to sit on and participate in a variety of committees in the community. The committees that Shelly has chosen to be on are ones she feels strongly about and she is determined to work diligently and do her best to make a difference during her term of office.

In her spare time, Shelly enjoys golf and likes to garden. She is also very active in her Alberta Teachers’ Association local and is currently treasurer and past president.



Joanne Peckham


Work: 780-675-1154

Home: 780-675-1110


Joanne Peckham was born in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario. She moved to Alberta in 1970 and was raised in Edmonton. In the early 1990s she moved to Athabasca to raise her children in a better environment. The setting reminded her of the Ottawa Valley. It felt like home and she fell in love with the community.

Involvement in the community has always been important to Joanne. Since coming to Athabasca, she has been an enthusiastic volunteer for many programs and events. She is a co-founder of the Magnificent River Rats Festival and for over a decade served as one of the event organizers.

Involvement in the business community is also a focus. Joanne was the last Athabasca Chamber of Commerce Manager (1996-2000) and continued with the Chamber until 2011. She has organized many Moonlight Madness events and pancake breakfasts as well as the Athabasca Welcome Neighbor program.

After being a sales manager and then station manager for NewCap radio for nearly a decade, Joanne is currently employed as the manager of the Whiskey Store. A few notable achievements include being a Certified Radio Marketer, holding a Diploma with Highest Honors in Child Psychology, earning a Service Best Certificate and being a Recognized Manager with 30 years of service in various careers.

Joanne credits her passion for politics to her father. She first served as a Town Councillor in 2001 and has been a member of the Riverfront Design Review Committee and the Emergency Services committee.

Joanne believes in open and transparent government and her aim on Town Council is to be honest, approachable and available to listen to concerns.




Steven Schafer

Cell: 780-676-0696


Steve Schafer is a resident of Athabasca, having made this community his home since 1980.

He is married to Carol, who grew up in Athabasca. They have two grown children, Alison and Carson.

Steve is a graduate of Athabasca University (BGS) and the University of Alberta (MLS). He retired after more than 28 years of service to Athabasca University, where he served as the Director of Library Services. He has been active in regional, national, and international associations and organizations, especially as these pertain to library services and higher education.

Steve affirms that Athabasca is a good place to call home and an exciting place to serve. He believes that the area can attract growth and can become a destination for business, culture, and tourism. He is committed to working toward the betterment and growth of Athabasca for the benefit of all who live here.




Tanu Tyszka-Evans



Phone: 780-213-2529







Timothy Verhaeghe


Phone: 780-675-2534 

Tim Verhaeghe brings to council both legal knowledge and business experience. His training and experience allow him to be an effective Councillor in that he is able to make quick and accurate decisions. He can review facts, identify the issues, interpret the rules, analyze the scenario, and reach a conclusion.


Tim has lived in Athabasca since 2003 and continues to live here with his wife and daughter. His family is the most important thing to him and as such, he wants this to be a town for his family and other families to enjoy for many generations to come.


Born and raised on a cattle ranch near Plamondon, Alberta, Tim developed a love for nature. This led him to pursue an education in Forestry. He completed the NAIT Forest Technology Program and then attended the University of Alberta and completed a Bachelor of Science Degree in Forest Management.


He was then hired by the Province of Alberta's Sustainable Resource Department as a Forest Officer and worked in that profession until attending the College of Law at the University of Saskatchewan. Tim completed his Bachelor of Laws at the University of Alberta. While a student in law school, he would return every summer to the provincial Alberta Helitack Forest Fighting Program as a Helitack Leader. His teams would be the initial attack force on forest fires in Alberta and would also be exported to problem fires in other provinces and the U.S.A.


Tim sat on the Athabasca Recreation Board, and was a member of the Athabasca Advocacy Group and for this he received the Order of Athabasca University.


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