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‘Champion of Rutland’ honoured by Kelowna council

Road connecting YLW and Rutland to be named after Al Horning
Former city councillor, and Okanagan MLA and MP, Al Horning honoured by Kelowna council. (Photo/Gary Barnes)

Long-time Rutland champion, former city councillor, Kelowna-Lake Country MLA and Okanagan MP AL Horning has been honoured by the city.

At a ceremony in council chambers on Feb. 6, Kelowna Mayor Tom Dyas announced a road connecting the airport (YLW) and Rutland will be named after Horning.

“He set the course for the airport to become one of the top 10 busiest airports in Canada,” said Dyas. “When the runway was extended by 2,000 feet in 1990 it became the longest in the interior and was instrumental in bringing air carriers such as WestJet to YLW.”

Horning said he was grateful and surprised by the honour.

“As far as Al Horning Way is concerned, I thought they only named roads after hockey players,” he joked.

Horning was born in 1939 in Saskatchewan, and his family first came to Kelowna on vacation in 1944.

He grew up in Rutland and started working at the Rutland sawmill at age 16.

Horning became a city councillor in 1980, serving four, two-year terms. In 1988, he was elected MP for Okanagan Centre under the Progressive Conservative banner.

After losses in the 1993 and 1997 federal elections, he returned to city council in 2002. Horning was then elected MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country in 2005, representing the BC Liberals.

He continued working on YLW expansion and a focus on recreation and business development in Kelowna, touching many parts of the city during his career. He retired from politics in 2009, but not from serving his community.

Horning was a champion snowmobile racer and founding member of the Kelowna Snowmobile Association. His summers were usually spent on the ball diamonds. He and other baseball players built King Stadium with volunteer labour after convincing the city to provide them with the land.

For these and other contributions to sport in Kelowna, Horning was inducted into the Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame in 2021. He credited his late wife of nearly 60 years, Donna, for supporting his work in business, politics and sport throughout their lives together, including raising their children Robert, Bradley and Sandra.

“Al Horning is the epitome of a community builder,” added Dyas. “Serving his community in many ways – from Parliament Hill to the ball diamonds of Rutland – Al has spent his entire life working to improve his neighbourhood and his city.”

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Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Recently joined Kelowna Capital News and WestK News as a multimedia journalist in January 2022. With almost 30 years of experience in news reporting and radio broadcasting...
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