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Thursday, 06 September 2012 09:06

Martens wants to continue positive experience with a second term

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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After a positive experience during his first term as a City of Swift Current councillor, it was an easy decision for Dan Martens to stand for a second term in the upcoming Oct. 24 civic elections.

“It just feels like the last three years have gone very quickly,” he said. “It just seems like a natural fit to carry on a few more projects, but of course it’s up to the electorate.”
He described it as an honour to serve on council and it was also a great learning experience.
“Especially when you come to budget times and you’re handed like a two-inch binder,” he laughed. “At first, you think ‘what did I get myself into?’ but eventually you understand how that works and the time and effort that’s gone into it.”
With time he felt more comfortable in his position and he gained a better understanding of how the local administration works.
“It’s always easy when you’re looking in from the outside to say ‘Why did they do things that way, why did they do that?’” he said. “I think it’s a good experience for anyone to be on council because you understand the rules and regulations and there are certain reasons why we do things the way we do.”
Three years ago the importance of being a strong team player was a key part of his election platform. His experience on council has confirmed that view.
“I believe that even more so now,” he said. “There’s definitely a great degree of satisfaction when you can work alongside fellow councillors and a good administration.”
That co-operative spirit resulted in a number of highlights during his first term. According to Martens, it was good to see an improved relationship with surrounding rural municipalities, which resulted in a rural water pipeline agreement and a complementary resolution with the R.M. of Swift Current for the annexation of residential land into the city.
“We tried to work hard on improving relationships there and there’s some really positive things that have come out of that,” he said. “I think the dialogue is probably getting better as time goes on. It’s just something that we definitely need to work on and it’s very important from the regional perspective.”
He enjoyed his involvement in discussions about the proposed Highway 4 commercial port trade corridor, which included meetings with the province and attending a Ports-to-Plains Trade Corridor Coalition meeting in Billings, Montana.
“It’s good to work with our partners and to see how we can not only benefit the region, but basically an entire province,” he said.
He was also encouraged by the improvements in the downtown area, including the Market Square initiative and the rehabilitation project for the Lyric Theatre.
Martens believes there is still work to do, which is why he decided to stand for a second term.
Initially, he was a bit concerned about the additional time commitment required from the new four-year term, but he realized it can be to council's advantage.
“It does give council a little longer to work on some of their long-term plans,” he said.
“It certainly gives continuity and of course overall there’s a bit of a tax saving for the ratepayers.”
He felt it is important for council to have a regional perspective when it looks at various initiatives and to continue to attract new businesses to Swift Current in a more aggressive way.
“We’re seeing a lot of growth in business and in residential, but we need to see that to carry through,” he said.
He emphasized the importance of strengthening the City’s relationships with the federal and provincial governments.
“Certainly there are some things that are not in our control, that work at different levels of government,” he said. “We’ve had really good success, but we need to continue to explore those things and to work even harder.”
Mayor Jerrod Schafer along with councillors George Bowditch, Gord Budd and Denis Perrault have already decided to stand for re-election. They have been joined by Joe Collinson and Ron Toles in their first attempts at being elected to council. Nomination papers may still be filed until nomination day on Sept. 19.

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