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Thursday, 06 September 2012 09:10

Retired teacher looking for new challenge on council

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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After many years of not having time during a busy career, retired teacher Ron Toles will be a candidate for council in the upcoming civic elections in Swift Current Oct. 24.


“I don’t want to do something half measure,” he said. “So I’ve been talking about it for 20 years. This is my first chance since retirement and I’ll give it a go.”
After a full-time teaching career in Swift Current from 1969 to 2000, Toles continued to teach part-time at the Great Plains College for the past nine years. He also did contract work for the University of Regina, teaching theatre, and teaching in the SIAST communications and youth care worker programs.
He considers himself to be officially retired now, but he will still do occasional contract work for the university or SIAST. He believes his board experience with various organizations will serve him well if he is elected to council.
He was a member of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation executive council and spent years on the Students Against Drinking and Driving provincial board of directors and board of trustees. He was also a member of the Canadian Youth Against Impaired Driving board of trustees and board of directors.
Toles believes he can play a role on council to ensure the city’s growth and development into the future.
“I don’t see anything pressing right now,” he said. “We’re in a good time right now with the last two or three councils. We’re growing, we’re developing, people seem to be genuinely happy. There’s no real big things, but I want to make sure that continues.”
He feels it is important to look ahead and to plan for the future when the economy might not be as strong as it is now.
“It’s good to be in that boomtime, but what’s our plan for 10 years from now when things may be not so good,” he asked. “I’ve got a seven-year-old granddaughter who lives in Swift Current. I want to make sure we’ve got a place for her that’s as good as my kids had.”
Coming from an educational background, he was happy to see the City’s support for the appointment of a RCMP school liaison officer.
“I’m just really pleased to see that going and I want to make sure it continues,” he said.
While he appreciates the need for the proposed Integrated Facility, he is mindful of the concerns that were expressed over the movement of the public library to a new location.
“It’s been a place where people gather in downtown Swift Current,” he said. “If it has to move then we have to make sure people can get there.”
He is a strong supporter of the Lyric Theatre and he wants to see continued efforts such as Market Square to promote an active downtown area. He will also focus on efforts to improve relationships with surrounding municipalities.
Toles said he is willing the ask the questions that need to be asked and to provide residents with answers.
“I have the commitment, the time and the energy to answer any questions they have,” he said. “If I don’t know the answer, I will find out. I really hope to see a lot more accountability for what we’re doing and a lot more transparency.”
While he does not expect representatives from council to ask residents for their views on every council decision, he felt it would be beneficial to have more public debate on certain matters before a final decision is made.
“I’ve got no issue with the past council, but maybe it’s my issue,” he said. “I’m saying throw them out there, let people chew on it for a while and let people see what happens if we don’t do this.”
He believes his background as a teacher can be useful to help people understand why certain decisions are made.
“I’d like to be part of helping do that,” he said. “I can help to educate them, to say this is what has to be done, to see where we’ll be if we don’t. It’s not so much a case of what happens if we do, it’s a case of what happens if we don’t.”

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