Wednesday, 03 October 2012 13:33

Swift Current councillors looking for another term

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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Ryan Plewis Ryan Plewis

The upcoming civic elections on Oct. 24 will see all six City of Swift Current councillors standing for re-election.

Tim Bugera and Ryan Plewis waited until the final days of the nomination period, which ended on Sept. 19, before declaring their intentions to run again.
Bugera, who is at the end of his second term, said it took a lot of thought.
“I had to really sit and reflect on what we have done as a council the last six years,” he added. “I really felt after lots of thought that I would like to stay on council and work with the community again.”
His decision to run again was made easier because he felt he served on two great councils with two good mayors.
“You end up learning your first term and then the second term I felt that we were getting things done,” he said. “I was able to focus on things that I thought were priorities in the community.”
Plewis is at the end of his first term on council. He simply decided to wait until the end of the nomination period to declare his position.
“It wasn’t a difficult decision for me,” he said. “I guess I had always known I would run again. It was certainly something that I wanted to do again.”
He wants to stay involved with civic affairs and he noted with satisfaction the different circumstances under which he declared his current candidacy.
“Three years ago we had a significantly different story being told about our community in the media and in the national media even with respect to some rodents,” he recalled.
For Plewis, it is important to talk about the great things that are happening in Swift Current, although it does not mean problems should be ignored.
“It means you deal with those problems and you focus on the positive things,” he said.
His first council term was a good experience, which was the result of a feeling of shared respect and friendship among council members.
“I think in a lot of cities, you can see the dynamic among councillors being a real detriment to doing the work of the city and that’s a shame,” he said. “I’m very glad that’s not the case in the City and even if we have some different faces at the council table this time around I have no  reason to suspect that will change.”
For Plewis the hiring of Susan Motkaluk as the City’s new chief administrative officer was a highlight of his term. That position is the only one that council is basically responsible for hiring.
“It’s a very important hire for the City of Swift Current because it helps to set direction and tone for the things that we want to do,” he said. “It’s given us a way to move forward with some of our disputes in a different way with a different tact and certainly the advice of somebody with a diverse amount of experience and a woman quite frankly was something that was a benefit to all of us on council.”
Plewis, who is a practising lawyer, also noted Swift Current residents continue to have the lowest residential property tax of Saskatchewan cities and a low rate for commercial properties as well.
For Bugera the highlight of his second term has been the 2012 budget approval of funds for the appointment of a RCMP school liaison officer. He feels youth is an important part of the community.
“Through both terms, I ended up working very closely with the Drug Task Force in Swift Current to gather the information and do the homework and the background work to present council with the school liaison program,” he said.
The improved relationship with surrounding rural municipalities is another highlight, which he said was the result of the Swift Current council’s forward thinking approach.
If re-elected, Bugera plans to continue his focus on youth and on ways to keep them in the community.
“I’m finding that if you give them a vested interest in your community that they stay in the community,” he said.
He felt the new Youth Advisory Board, which was a joint initiative between the City, Cypress Health Region and the Chinook School Division, will help to give youth a stake in the community.
“This is going to be youth informing us what they think they need and we can work with that,” he explained. “I’m excited about some of the stuff they may be bringing forward to the mayor and council.”
If his re-election bid is successful, Plewis would like to focus on the City’s relationship with the R.M. of Swift Current. His priority would not only be to ensure the two parties are moving forward, but that the entire region benefits from future developments.
With Swift Current looking ahead to centennial celebrations in 2014, another priority for him will be the city’s downtown core.
“One of the focuses of our council has been to increase the presence of our downtown core, particularly on the weekends, through things like the Market Square,” he noted. “I want to continue to see those sorts of efforts to enhance our downtown core and to enhance the image of our city.”
Both of them agreed a new council will have to continue working in a positive way.
“I don’t think this election is about change,” Bugera said. “This election is about keeping things moving forward and staying positive for our community.”
In addition to the six councillors seeking re-election, there are five first-time candidates standing for council.
Swift Current residents will have an opportunity to learn more about each candidate’s position during the all-candidates forum hosted by the Swift Current and District Chamber of Commerce at the Living Sky Casino Sky Centre Oct. 10. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the event will start at 7 p.m.

Read 1903 times Last modified on Wednesday, 03 October 2012 13:37

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