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Friday, 31 August 2012 16:07

Council veteran to stand for re-election in Swift Current

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Swift Current Councillor Gord Budd is standing for re-election in the upcoming local government elections on Oct. 24. Swift Current Councillor Gord Budd is standing for re-election in the upcoming local government elections on Oct. 24. File photo

After serving three terms on council, Gord Budd feels there is still some unfinished business to take care of.

 

He filed his nomination papers last week for the upcoming civic elections in Swift Current on Oct. 24.

According to Budd it was not a difficult decision to take, although he did give it a lot of thought.

“I have never planned on serving more than nine years on council,” he said. “But after thinking about it, there are so many things that we've got on the go right now that I'm involved in that I don't really want to leave them before I see completion of them.”

He was also encouraged by the support from fellow councillors, Mayor Jerrod Schafer and members of the City administration who urged him to stand again.

“I feel somewhat humbled by the backing that was there,” he said.

The new four-year term after the 2012 civic elections is one of the issues he had to consider, because he is 61 years old now.

“I think with my nine years experience and with my age that I do bring a certain perspective,” he said. “We need different points of view when it comes to council matters and that was one of the reasons I decided to run.”

Three years ago a number of new candidates were elected and Budd said it was exciting to be part of the current council.

“Of course every term on council is a little different from the previous one,” he noted. “We've had a great council as far as I'm concerned and some new young faces in there that certainly brought a different perspective to things.”

He considered the efforts to improve cooperation and communication with the R.M. of Swift Current to be a highlight of his current term.

“It doesn't mean we necessarily always agree on everything but at least we're at the table and talking to each other and trying to move the region forward as opposed to looking at our own individual municipalities,” he said.

He was also happy to see the growth in the city's population, but the challenge to attract new businesses to Swift Current is one of the reasons he decided to run for another term.

“It's fine to have the people here, but you have to have good quality jobs for them too,” he emphasized. “So that's going to be one of my emphasis should I get re-elected again.”

Ongoing relations with the R.M. of Swift Current will remain a priority. Other issues he will focus on are the upgrading of Highway #4, and the development of new commercial and residential space, including affordable housing.

Budd believes the issue of affordable housing for seniors in Swift Current will become an even more pressing one. He is sitting on a volunteer committee for the Swift Current Personal Care Homes Initiative, which is looking into affordable housing for low-income seniors.

“That's going to be a big issue in the coming years, not just in Swift Current, but across the country,” he said. “I'm hoping my experience and my connections with council and various forms of government can help that initiative along.”

He appreciates the contribution of a vibrant arts and culture scene to make a community more attractive as a place to live.

“I'm a strong supporter of arts and culture and I wasn't always that way,” he said. “But I've come to see over the last number of years how important that is to a community, how that basically says what the community is and who they are.”

According to Budd the main challenge facing the new council will be to keep the City's momentum going, but to do it in a responsible way. While some people are concerned about the City's debt load, he feels it is all planned and accounted for.

“But we still want to keep a very close eye on what we're spending,” he added. “We've looked at a number of policies and re-examined a number of policies, seeing where we can save money and so on.”

Maintaining the municipal infrastructure is an ongoing challenge. He felt it is important to keep up with improvements to the sewer and water system and he would like to see more funding allocated to the pavement and sidewalk improvement program.

“I'll rather be pro-active than reactive when it comes to that sort of thing,” he said. “I think that's probably going to be one of our bigger challenges too. I'm hoping the public will understand where we're coming from.”

In addition to Mayor Jerrod Schafer, councillors George Bowditch, Dan Martens and Denis Perrault have already decided to stand for re-election. Software developer Joe Collinson and retired teacher Ron Toles have also filed their nomination papers.

Nomination papers may still be filed until nomination day on Sept. 19.

 

 
Read 1624 times Last modified on Friday, 31 August 2012 16:16
Matthew Liebenberg

Reporter/Photographer