The ‘Champion of Rutland’ has died.
Capital News has confirmed that Al Horning died in hospital the evening of March 20.
The City of Kelowna has released the following statement:
Kelowna City Council and staff join with so many people in our community who knew Al Horning in expressing sincere condolences to his family and many friends.
It goes without saying that our community is a better place because of Al Horning. His many years of public service in three levels of government and at the grassroots level produced benefits for generations of Kelowna residents and businesses.
He motivated improvements in Kelowna, helping us grow from humble agricultural beginnings to an increasingly sophisticated economy and diverse society.
In terms of his approach to being a city councillor, he told the Daily Courier in 2019: “I never wanted council to get in the way of people who wanted to do something.”
Al Horning was someone who got things done – whether it was fighting to what we needed to get bigger planes into Kelowna, or getting federal contracts for Kelowna companies like Western Star, or getting ball diamonds built, he always brought dogged determination to his work.
He represents the epitome of community service. To honour that service, the city’s flags will be at half-mast on the day of his service.
Once again, we send our condolences to Al’s family and many friends.
From his focus on recreation and business development in the city to a driving force behind the expansion of YLW, Horning fought to make things better in his community.
He became a city councillor in 1980 and served 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 did not run for re-election in the 2009 provincial campaign. During his time in politics, Horning was instrumental in the runway at Kelowna International Airport being extended twice.
At a ceremony in council chambers on Feb. 6, Mayor Tom Dyas announced that a road connecting the airport and Rutland will be named Al Horning Way in recognition of his countless achievements and contributions to the community.
Horning was a champion snowmobile racer and founding member of the Kelowna Snowmobile Association. He spent many of his summers playing baseball. He and other players built King Stadium with volunteer labour after convincing the city to provide them with the land. In 2021 he was inducted into the Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame for his contribution to sports in the city.
Horning was born in Saskatchewan in 1939 and first visited Kelowna with his family in 1944. The family moved to the Okanagan soon after. He grew up in Rutland, attended Rutland Secondary School and started working at the local sawmill at age 16.
Horning’s many careers included real estate, shipping, business, politics and orchards.