Wednesday, 23 November 2016 14:11

Swift Current council eases into term; work lies ahead

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Swift Current city council members have now been sworn in and they have already been at numerous city events such as the grand opening of The Meadows and Dorie’s House, (of which the City played a key role).

What’s more, the largest tenant of the Credit Union iplex — the Swift Current Broncos — are a good team and worth watching, it’s Christmas season/community tree-lighting time, etc.
Yes, this is definitely a honeymoon period for this current group of councillors. There is much optimism heading into the next number of years.
The City of Swift Current is also basking in the glow of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business ranking which recently came out that put Swift Current number one in both Saskatchewan and nationally amongst mid-size cities and a extremely respectable 26th overall for all Canadian cities for “top places to start and grow a business.” Nicely done.
There appears to be some semblance they understand and are organized in regards to the importance of growth in the their Swift Current Business Retention and Expansion (Final Summary Report) which can be found at:
However the new council has some challenges. The provincial/national economy is in a state of flux with the lingering bad feelings of the real estate neighbourhood development near Elmwood, which looks great, but has undoubtedly angered some people.
There is also the growing concern of debt and the (unwarranted or not) feelings there is a delay in dealing with it and possible future ramifications for the City.  This is especially pertinent in light of the recent council meeting announcement of the $2.5 million pricetag to fix the concrete floor of the iplex.
While Dorie’s House is completed and an outstanding addition to the city, there is a silent group in Swift Current who need help from social agencies. The recent mindboggling $100,000 collected by the local United Way, which supports such agencies, seems to indicate locals realize there are those who need assistance.
The other negatives which seem to need addressing are the election itself which took on a life of its own. With 19 people combined running for mayor and council, and with social media being what it is these days, there were definitely — if not heated — pointed debates.
Any subsequent negative feelings need addressing.
This council needs to ensure everyone knows what direction they are taking with issues and they need to try to get everyone on board. Anyone who believes there is going to be 100 per cent consensus on almost anything realistic is fooling themselves. It just doesn’t happen, whether it’s because someone wants to be difficult, personality conflicts exist or there are just other ideas. The best this council can do is make sure everyone in the community is as informed as possible.
Voters have made their choices. If the numbers are any indication they liked what the previous administration was doing and have added Bruce Deg and Chris Martens to the mix. It’s all about trying to develop a consensus amongst the community. Mayor Denis Perrault is and has been an enthusiastic promoter of different causes and unabashed supporter of the city of Swift Current. Outwardly gregarious, he has dealt with a lot of different groups in Swift Current so there are a lot of foundations he has laid already with hopefully even more to come.
There is  a good mixture of people to draw knowledge from within council and aforementioned partners outside.
If anything, this election has awoken much of the city and has created interest in City politics. Hopefully this will ensure more citizen participation and willingness for people to speak when they feel issues need to be addressed.
Engaged citizens make for a healthier community overall.
Ryan Dahlman is managing editor with the Prairie Post. Contact him with your comments about this opinion piece at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor