Michelle Chuhaniuk in Division 2, Bas Froese-Kooijenga in Division 6 and Wendy Trask in Division 8 were all re-elected by acclamation to Corman Park Council after nominations for even-numbered divisions officially closed on Thursday, September 20.
But nominations were extended to Wednesday, October 3 for Division 4 because no candidates were nominated by the deadline. Randy Rooke, who represented Division 4 over the past four years, chose not to stand for re-election.
FAIRNESS A PRIORITY
In an interview on September 21, Trask said she appreciates the vote of confidence from ratepayers in her division.
“I love being a councillor,” said Trask, a 12-year veteran at the council table of the largest RM in the province. “It’s a never-ending learning experience. I’ve always had an open door and encourage ratepayers to contact me with their questions and concerns. I’ll continue to do my best for ratepayers in my division and the RM as a whole.”
Trask said while the RM has experienced “ups and downs” over the past several years, she’s happy to be part of the current council. “We have an excellent reeve, and a very good staff,” said Trask. “There’s always room for improvement, but overall I’d say we’re at a very good point. The RM is in good financial shape, and we’ve made substantial progress when it comes to development. I think a lot of that is because of improved regional coordination of planning and services.”
Trask said regional planning through the Partnership for Growth (P4G) process has challenges, and she sympathizes with ratepayers who face restrictions because their properties fall inside or outside a boundary, but regional cooperation is “very important because we accomplish so much more by working together.”
She said one of her priorities in the coming term is ensuring businesses and home-based businesses that are currently operating without proper permits “be brought in line” so there is fairness for all ratepayers.
Froese-Kooijenga is entering his second term after being elected by acclamation. In an interview on September 21, he said the uncontested election is likely a signal that most people are relatively happy with the way things are going in the RM.
“I’m sure if the ratepayers were upset, someone would have challenged me,” said Froese-Kooijenga. “I have done my best to keep the lines of communication open with ratepayers in my division, and I always encourage people to share their thoughts on things that concern them.”
Froese-Kooijenga said because his division bumps up against Saskatoon, Warman, Martensville and Osler, the P4G discussions have been a big part of his council responsibility. While he stepped down from the P4G Regional Oversight Committee (ROC) earlier this year, he said regional issues will continue to be high on his list of priorities.
“Drainage is a huge issue in Division 6,” said Froese-Kooijenga. “Another big one is the need to continually improve roads as traffic loads increase. We’ve seen some roads that were summer roads a few years ago now carrying a lot of commuter traffic.
“I’d like to see Township Road 384 between Martensville and Warman improved with pavement,” he added. “It’s a high-maintenance road. It’s a major connector between those cities that a lot of commuters use, so it makes sense to try and have a partnership and work on these types of projects as a group.”
He said he’s committed to working hard over the next four years at the council table.
“We’re really doing our best to make the right decisions for the RM and for ratepayers,” he said.
Chuhaniuk, who is also entering her second term on council, said she feels the work is “just beginning” in Division 2.
“I’m looking forward to the next four years,” said Chuhaniuk in an interview September 21. “I feel my previous career as an administrator has prepared me for the tough and crucial conversations we’ll have in the future, and I’m ready to tackle any issue.”
Chuhaniuk said council’s role is to “encourage development, but not at the expense of ratepayers” in Corman Park, particularly Division 2.
“This division has a lot of country residential developments, and it’s more densely-populated than other parts of the RM,” said Chuhaniuk. “That means we have more paved roads and other services, but it also means we need a substantial tax base to help pay for those things.”
She noted that becuase Division 2 falls largely outside the P4G planning area, the RM is the body most responsible for the type of country residential developments, as well as their locations.
“We have a responsibility as council to encourage growth, and prepare for growth, but it has to be responsible development that doesn’t deprive other ratepayers of their quality of life or enjoyment of their property. It has to be responsible development and aesthetically pleasing development
“It’s a balancing act, and there are challenges.”