Raft of 12 candidates vying for six council seats


A surprising number of candidates are throwing their hats in the ring in hopes of becoming local councillors – or just to hang on to the seats they hold.

Twelve applicants have sent in their completed papers, says the Municipality of Killarney-Turtle Mountain, and those persons are now duly nominated candidates for the six positions to be elected next month.

“These are exciting times,” said Mayor Rick Pauls, who will retain his uncontested mayoral seat by acclamation. “Why are there so many applicants for councillor? Usually we get a lot of people running for two reasons. One, they are totally dissatisfied with what the council has done in the last term. Two, they are excited with the direction the community is going. We haven’t heard that they are against anything in particular. But there could be a lot of reasons why they are running, and I look forward to hearing them.”

Hustling to keep their existing seats will be five sitting councillors: Connie Blixhavn, Randy Hodge, Joan Kemp, Ron Opperman, and Janice Smith.

New candidates seeking to take their place at the council table will include Greg Ericson, Jack Ewatski, Gary King, Lyall McFarlane, Barry Reimer, Matt Reimer, and Reinie Weenink.

And a number of these new candidates are coming from the rural areas, said the mayor.

“There’s a big push from the agricultural community to get involved,” he said.

But the mayor added that it takes time to learn the ropes as a new councillor.

He said he hoped those seeking a position in the chamber would consider sitting in on the next two council meetings there, where they might get a taste of the bi-monthly event.

“We are a very highly functioning council. We work well together,” said Pauls. “We need to make sure if there is a new council that we maintain that good team dynamic. We are hoping these potential candidates will attend the next few meetings – Wednesday, September 26, and Wednesday, October 10, from 9 a.m. to around noon – to see how council operates. I think it would be advantageous for them to see how things run.”

Pauls himself is looking forward to another term serving as mayor for the Municipality of Killarney-Turtle Mountain.

“I’m very honoured for the privilege of being mayor again,” he said. “I love the direction the community is going. There’s good momentum in the development and growth of the community. Growth is very good for us.

A community that is growing – that means it is a healthy community.”

Pauls served as a councillor from 2002 to 2005, he said, and was later elected as mayor, in the spring of 2007, when sitting mayor Brian Moore stepped down from the position.

He has held onto the top seat in council chambers since that time.

Pauls said he made a presentation last week in Brandon to the Provincial Electoral Commission, and was told afterwards that the Municipality of Killarney-Turtle Mountain is expected to continue expanding.

“Based on the last census information, they have estimated an eight per cent growth in the Killarney-Turtle Mountain area,” he said. “Growth is also great when it comes to lobbying government, and in keeping taxes under control.”

And it’s not only Killarney that is seeing a spike in electoral interest this year.

Boissevain is also reporting a full flight, with 11 candidates chasing after what are now just six red-hot seats on their council.

“We will have a new mayor by acclamation,” said Boissevain Recorder newspaper editor Lorraine Houston. “Councillor Judy Swanson will be moving up and taking that seat, leaving the seven remaining councillors running. And we have four new candidates applying for what will now be just six seats on council. We did have eight seats, but council was reduced to six members when we lost our ward system, and the R.M. and the town were forced into amalgamation a few years ago.”

In addition, all six rural wards of Prairie Lakes, plus the LUD of Ninette, are holding elections this year.

The LUD of Belmont has two committee members declared elected by acclamation.

The municipal elections take place on Wednesday, October 24, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Voters in the Municipality of Killarney-Turtle Mountain will be casting their ballots at the Shamrock Centre, in the Killarney Foundation Hall.

To place your vote, you need to bring one piece of government issued photo ID, such as your driver’s licence, or a passport, or at least two other documents to provide proof of identity.

For full election coverage, see next week’s wide circulation edition of the Killarney Guide.