Lorne Young hurried to the Empress on the morning after being elected as Elk Point’s new mayor to buy a round of coffees promised to supporters.
Following a friendly rivalry between long time colleagues, Young edged out incumbent Parrish Tung in town elections on October 16.
A councillor in Elk Point for the past 4 years, Young intends to make the transition into the new term as seamless as possible. He welcomes the new councillors – veterans Debra Lynn McQuinn and Dwayne Yaremkevich, and rookies Sherry Bower-Gagne and Terri Hampson – assured that the team will combine experience with new ideas and new possibilities.
Young plans to continue with work done by the previous council on waterline replacement, loan repayment, review of bylaws, and cooperation with neighbouring municipalities.
Longer term, regional economic growth is a priority. Young says, “I’m not just concerned about the development of Elk Point. Our community is going to thrive with other communities. We are looking at how we are going to move the entire area ahead.” The town has been involved in an intermunicipal development plan with the County of St. Paul, Town of St. Paul and Summer Village of Horseshoe Bay, and Young explains his interest in “a plan that benefits all of us, so that we’re not in competition with each other.” If a business “sees advantages to being in just Elk Point that’s great, if they see advantages to being located in the county, that’s fine, too. We need to see it as a positive either way.”
Young expects cooperative discussions and creative problem solving regarding some form of policing. “It came across loud and clear that people are concerned about safety and crime,” he notes, adding that town council is going to “push to explore the possibility of sharing law enforcement resources with the county” although a county plebiscite to introduce a peace officer was voted down.
As for the issue of seniors’ housing, Young points to two successful 55+ condos in St. Paul, and wonders, “Is there a private developer that would be interested in putting together a seniors’ housing kind of thing? It seems there’s a need.” He will pursue this avenue.
Young continues, “Tied to the seniors is our healthcare system. It’s in all of our best interest to keep this hospital operating as an acute care, full service, 24 hour facility.”
Fully prepared to work with town administration and elected officials, Young sees the orientation of new councillors as “an opportunity for even the seasoned people on the council to refocus on the goal of ‘why are we here; what can we do?’” And he emphasizes, “Whether it’s part of an election, or a round of coffee at a local restaurant, when you make a promise, you gotta follow through.”