The first meeting of Elk Point’s newly elected council, held Monday, October 23, set a tone of business and cooperation. Mayor Lorne Young welcomed the new and the old, and CAO Ken Gwozdz provided on-the-spot training by explaining procedures and translating acronyms.
Each councillor came to the table with wishes and dreams that they would like to work towards in the coming term. To achieve these goals, councillors chose committees to sit on, balancing each member’s interest with their experience.
Excited to begin his fifth term Yaremkevich was chosen as the Deputy Mayor, a rotating position that each councillor will hold for one year of the term.
Yaremkevich brings a depth of knowledge about business and politics in Elk Point, and wishes to pass on the following message: “I would like to thank Parrish and Bernice for their hard work in the previous councils. I would like to congratulate Terri and Sherry on their election win. I’m looking forward to working with Lorne, Debbie, Terri and Sherry. It’s back to work Monday night!”
Yaremkevich is the most experienced member of the board, and is continuing his role on many of these committees: Chamber of Commerce, Community Policing Committee, Elk Point Golf Club, M.D. of St. Paul Foundation Board, Muni Corr, Regional Water Commission, and Regional Emergency Committee. He is an alternate for Evergreen Regional Waste Management Committee.
McQuinn is beginning her second term on council. She says, “I’d like to continue with the plans we have in motion. We have 5, 10, and 25 year plans to maintain and grow Elk Point. We need to address the community crime situation. It’s vital that our hospital stays viable, and possibly that means adding service at the health centre. Senior housing development is important with our aging population. At the same time, we want to keep our kids busy and keyed into the community, which means creating more awareness of what we offer that kids can get involved in. We’ll work to keep the town on a tight budget. We did well in helping reduce the debt load and consolidating debt with locked in rates, while recognizing that we will have to borrow to maintain capital projects and address the town’s aging infrastructure.” McQuinn has been appointed to the following boards: Allied Arts Society, Canada Day Committee, Community Futures, Evergreen Regional Waste Management Committee, Fire Board, Lakeland DMO, Municipal Airport Authority, Municipal Library Board, Northern Lights Library System Board, and Recreation Committee. She is an alternate member for the Agricultural Society, Elk Point Further Education Council, and Muni Corr.
Bower-Gagne is learning the ropes of municipal politics, but is ready for the challenge. She says, “I am grateful for everybody voting. It was humbling to have so much support. That was awesome!” She is “excited to work with community partners.”
Bower-Gagne’s attention is focussed on safety and health. She says, “If I could wave a magic wand, I would bring more RCMP officers in. The safety of the community is a priority. Also, we really have to pay attention and see why we’re losing very important staff at the hospital. If we don’t have enough staff to manage the hospital, we’re not going to be able to keep the hospital. That falls under the safety of the community as well, and it encompasses the needs of our seniors. There are areas in town where the sidewalks need to be repaired or where bylaws need to be enforced to ensure safe mobility for the seniors. And, we need safe places for the kids to go.” Bower-Gagne is already a member of the Community Policing Committee, and has been appointed to the Elk Point Further Education Council,
F.C.S.S. Board, Lakeland Doctor Recruitment Board, Regional Water Commission, and Regional Emergency Committee.
Hampson, also new to the position, is committed to “staying true to the platform I ran on,” that being her 3Cs – communication, commitment, and common sense – and explains her goals:
“Communication: If we can come away in 4 years with the community having a better understanding and learnings about how council works and the role it plays alongside administration responsibilities, that’s a positive. If the community and surrounding area partners see a clear vision and positive workings from the council, that’s an important win. I have a dedicated Facebook page to allow a forum for discussion, provide factual information and direction for our community.
“Commitment: Seeing the council work together for the whole of Elk Point and continuing to improve partnerships with the County and business owners. Bringing the required people to the table to discuss real solutions to reduce crime, increase community pride and encourage economic growth will be a great success.
“Common Sense: Having local focus to support the business and the crucial volunteers (individuals and groups) that hold Elk Point together. Ensure we have a clear, transparent plan for our current financial concerns and see accountability and communication of that plan by year four – that can’t be a hope; that must be a goal.”
To accomplish her vision, Hampson will be sitting on Alberta Care, Canada Day Committee, Development Appeal Board, Municipal Health and Safety Committee, Municipal Library Board, Northeast Alberta Information Hub, Recreation Committee, and Regional Health and Safety Committee.
Mayor Lorne Young
Young wants the council to continue the work from the last term on waterline replacement, loan repayment, review of bylaws, and cooperation with neighbouring municipalities. (See Elk Point’s New Mayor: Lorne Young for his goals.) He expects the new council to work cohesively in their responsibilities as representatives of the town. At the same time, he welcomes open expression of individual opinions at council meetings.
As mayor, Young is ex officio member of all boards and committees to which council has a right to appoint members, pursuant to the municipal government act. As well, he is the town representative to the Agricultural Society, Fire Board, Interagency Health Committee, M.D. of St. Paul Foundation Board, Municipal Airport Authority, Regional Water Commission, and Regional Emergency Committee.
The entire council, as well as Gwozdz, will be attending a Munis 101 course in Vermilion in late November to learn about the duties and responsibilities of public officials. Before that, Gwozdz will guide the whole group through an orientation. The result will be well trained, dedicated board members, ready to serve the people of Elk Point.