By Steve Hubrecht
It’s a familiar face in a new role: longtime Radium resident, Kent Kebe, is the village’s new bylaw officer.
Kebe became Radium’s bylaw officer earlier this fall, after completing virtual studies (in security, bylaw enforcement, and the B.C. Community Charter) through the Vancouver-based Justice Institute of B.C.
“It just goes to show you’re never to old to learn new tricks,” Kebe told the Pioneer.
Kebe is already very well known to a great many Radium residents. He was born in Invermere, has lived in Radium for more than 35 years, and has filled a number of prominent roles in the village during his time there. He was director of Tourism Radium for many years, has worked with the provincial Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) to track and help Radium’s resident bighorn sheep for three decades (see story on page 3) and was a compulsory game inspector for the provincial government for 15 years.
Kebe also worked as a meat cutter at the old Radium Foods grocery store (which his family owned), and at the old Keith’s Pub (now the Horsethief Pub). So well-known is Kebe, particularly when it comes to the bighorns, that there are in fact people in Radium who know him simply as “the sheep man”.
This familiarity is an advantage in his new role, he said.
“I know the town well, and it does help to have that background and that history,” said Kebe. “When people know you, when they like you, then it makes things that much easier. There’s nothing that can’t be fixed. You just have to have the energy to deal with people.”
Some parts of the bylaw officer role — particularly those involving animal control or dealing with Radium’s bighorn sheep (especially issues arising from unleashed dogs) — come naturally to Kebe, given his wildlife experience. But other aspects of the job are new to him, and he’s loving those too.
“The job has really been a positive experience so far. I’ve gone on many calls. Every day is busy,” he said. Aside from the bighorns and off-leash dogs, other big issues landing on Kebe’s plate include parking, residents putting out their garbage too early and attracting bears, and dealing with short term rental (STR) operator applications. (This past summer Radium became the first municipality in the Columbia Valley to adopt an STR bylaw).
“I’m very approachable. If you need to talk to me, I’m here,” said Kebe.