Candidates for Councillor Speak Out

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With four candidates running for mayor and another 11 running for council seats, residents face some big choices. To help make the selection process a little easier, The Citizen has reached out to every nominated individuals and asked them about their candidacy.

Ward 1 (Île-des-Chênes)

Ernie Dumaine (Incumbent)

Q: Why have you decided to run for council? 
A: I never quit. I was acclaimed [won the seat uncontested] two and a half years ago and I would like to finish off my term.

Q: If elected, what do you feel you can bring to the table?
A: Honesty and fairness to the people of Ritchot. I will continue to follow the rules and by-laws of the RM of Ritchot.

Q: What are the most important things you would like to get done? 
A: I will work hard to improve the four-way stop at Dumaine Road and the Old Highway 59. We need to pave Meadowlark and Quest Boulevard, as well as redo Bay Notre Dame West and the sidewalks throughout town.

Q: What previous jobs or experiences have you had that qualify you for public office?
A: I worked for the municipality as a Public Works heavy equipment operator for more than 17 years. I know the municipality inside and out—all the ditches, culverts, bridges, roads, and water flow (drainage). I have also been through the Flood of ‘97. I’ve been a councillor for six and a half years and enjoy meeting and working with people.

Q: Are there any other details about yourself that you’d like voters to know about?
A: I care very much for the people of the RM of Ritchot and would like to finish my term because I did not resign. I am honest and this re-election is not any of my doing.

Phil McDonald

Q: Why have you decided to run for council? 
A: I have the opportunity now, which I never had before, to dedicate the time necessary to serve the people of Ward 1. Honestly, I am disappointed with the performance of the previous councils and think that I could provide more time and effort to produce more positive results.

Q: If elected, what do you feel you can bring to the table?
A:  What I bring to the table is time. I am retired from my previous career and I have time to invest in the concerns of constituents, and the energy and commitment to find solutions that will properly serve our community.

Q: What are the most important things you would like to get done? 
A: Investment in infrastructure. I think paving Meadowlark Road would provide a better environment for the businesses that have invested in our community. We have to look at how our roads are used and reroute and restrict access to heavy vehicles in order to protect our infrastructure. For example, Leclaire Road is being ruined by heavy truck traffic.
I have concerns about making sure we have community-based programs that prevent crime and encourage a healthy and prosperous community. We need planned development so that we build a community that people enjoy living in and feel safe living in. How am I going to do this? By making sure we develop community living space, a good RCMP presence, and an active community crime watch program.

Q: What previous jobs or experiences have you had that qualify you for public office?
A: I have been a member of this community for 39 years. I have built several homes, so I know the challenges the average person in this community faces trying to build a home and raise a family.

Q: Are there any other details about yourself that you’d like voters to know about?
A: Île-des-Chênes has been good to me. I have spent 39 years investing and raising a family in this community. I have reached a point in my life where I would like to give back. I have time to listen to people’s concerns and figure out solutions to issues for the betterment of our community. Whereas for others this is a part-time commitment, for me it is a full-time challenge that I can give back.

Larry Niebel

Q: Why have you decided to run for council? 
A: It has been something I have thought about for a while. Owning a business (LDN Auto Service) in Île-des-Chênes gave me a chance to meet a lot of people in my community and to see how friendly and supportive they are to the local businesses. When we moved here ten years ago, it was easy to fit right in, so I just want to give back to my community.

Q: If elected, what do you feel you can bring to the table?
A:  I feel that my business experience is one of the biggest assets I can bring to the table. As a business owner, you are constantly dealing with different issues and need to figure them out. Dealing with customers on a daily basis also helps give you that experience you will need as a councillor.

Q: What are the most important things you would like to get done? 
A: Every day I look across Main Street from my shop, I see the vacant lot where the medical center for Île-des-Chênes is to be built—and it is still tied up with red tape from the RM. The previous councillor for this area was against it from day one, even though the whole community wants to see it built. This would be one of the first things I would like to get rolling if elected.
Other projects I would like to see in Île-des-Chênes is the revitalization of Main Street and the Old 59, as well as sidewalks and bike paths for school kids, the expansion of parks and recreation facilities, the addition of retirement and assisted living spaces/homes on Main Street, and better dust control and road sealing. 

Q: What previous jobs or experiences have you had that qualify you for public office?
A: I have been a business owner almost all my life. I owned a garage in Winnipeg for ten years, owned and managed Victory Lane Speedway (by St. Adolphe) for nine years, and worked with the City of Winnipeg Public Works as a subcontractor. Currently, I am the President of the Ritchot Regional Chamber of Commerce, and I have worked with the RM on economic development, the Main Street revitalization project, and recreation development. 

Q: Are there any other details about yourself that you’d like voters to know about?
A: I’m an easygoing person who can deal with people and come up with solutions. I work hard to get the job done, but I like to look at all the options before I make a decision. I believe the best way to get things done is to work as a team, make your decision, and get on with the project. I believe in keeping taxes down and not wasting tax dollars. If I’m elected, I will do my best to serve my community.
In closing, I just want to thank all the candidates for stepping up to the plate to run in this great country we live in and wish them all the best. 

Shane Pelletier

Q: Why have you decided to run for council? 
 A: I’ve been involved with the RM for many years now and I believe it’s time for a new type of councillor—one who realizes they are part of a team put together to do great things for the region. We live in one of the fastest growing municipalities in Canada and its leaders should be able to keep up with that growth.

Q: If elected, what do you feel you can bring to the table?
A: I’ve got a good history of dealing with the last three councils, as well as a range of experiences with 
community-led organizations and working for the betterment of 
communities. I’m always open to new ideas and new ways to accomplish goals. I’m very passionate about our diverse municipality 
and believe it’s time that council shows its constituents what a great place we live, work, and play in.

Q: What are the most important things you would like to get done? 
A: The timing on the dissolution of council was, unfortunately, untimely. The first thing we will need to get done is to pass the budget so we can get the RM working again. Then my goal would be to take care of any other outstanding resolutions that require our attention. One of the items I would consider important would be the municipality’s Main Street revitalization project that has been started, because I would hate to see it lose any momentum.

Q: What previous jobs or experiences have you had that qualify you for public office?
A: My strength would fall on the recreation side. I’ve held various positions on volunteer boards in the RM, including the Île-des-Chênes Arena (six years as Club President, 12 years total), the TransCanada Centre (one year as President, five total), the RM Recreational Steering Committee (five years), and the Ritchot Community Development Corporation (one year as board member).
With that being said, I am also familiar with finances. The arena’s operating budget is around $250,000 annually. Last year, we had a capital project that added another $97,000.

Q: Are there any other details about yourself that you’d like voters to know about?
A: I’ve spent most of my life in Île-des-Chênes, although the first house I remember was our little house on Hince Road in Grande Pointe. On my mom’s side of the family, we had a lot of relatives in Grande Pointe. (We even have a street named after us: Berard Bay!) We moved to Île-des-Chênes when I was about four, and I attended school at Ecole Île-des-Chênes School until Grade Nine, and then I graduated from College Regional Gabrielle-Roy.
I stayed in Île-des-Chênes until my late twenties when I moved to Winnipeg. After a couple of years, I met an amazing woman from Steinbach, whom I married, and we made our way back to rural Manitoba where we’ve lived ever since. We have two wonderful children.
I’ve been heavily involved in the community since returning and I am passionate and committed to giving back.

Ward 2 (St. Adolphe)

Jeff Egan

Q: Why have you decided to run for council? 
A: I am running for council to become more involved in our communities.

Q: If elected, what do you feel you can bring to the table?
A: If elected, I will bring hard work, leadership, teamwork, transparency, and an open line of communication to council for the residents of Ritchot.

Q: What are the most important things you would like to get done? 
A: The most important thing I would like to do for our communities is to work together with the residents and council. All of our communities continue to grow, so we must have strong leadership and the ability to work cohesively as a team. This is important for our current residents and businesses, including to attract business to our communities and new residents who will call Ritchot home.

Q: What previous jobs or experiences have you had that qualify you for public office?
A: I have volunteered for a number of years in the community, holding different roles and portfolios with minor hockey and minor baseball. I can think on my feet, make correct decisions under stressful situations, and I am not one to shy away from hard work. I work in an industry that is customer-service-driven and have the ability to help people while they are at their worst.

Q: Are there any other details about yourself that you’d like voters to know about?
A: I am passionate about the communities we live in. I want to bring a strong work ethic to council and the residents of Ritchot, as well as lead by example. 

Robert Doiron

Q: Why have you decided to run for council? 
A: I think it is time for a change! It is time to bring back business expertise, fiscal responsibility, and integrity to the position of councillor for Ward 2. There are many important decisions to be made in the next year, including the review and approval of the 2017 budget. We cannot afford to have another dysfunctional council with the inability to work together and the lack of expertise and experience to complete the essential work ahead.
I want to represent the citizens in Ward 2 as councillor so that I can contribute my considerable business experience and communication skills to make our council work, and work effectively, for their benefit.
I have lived and raised a family in St. Adolphe, and I would like to give back to the community I have enjoyed so much for the last 32 years. We have a great place to live, and I want to make it even better.

Q: If elected, what do you feel you can bring to the table?
A:  I bring financial knowledge and management expertise to the position. My time on the Optician Association of Manitoba Council, and my extensive business background, gives me the experience necessary to effectively perform the work of a councillor.
I believe in government transparency. Citizens have the right to know how and where their hard-earned tax money is spent. I will actively seek the taxpayers’ advice, listen to their concerns, and keep them informed about our council through social media, email, or direct mail.
I will not quit—I will just work harder. If issues become contentious, I will find a way to work with the mayor and others on council using the communications skills I have acquired through my years in business.

Q: What are the most important things you would like to get done? 
A: The very first thing is to change the acrimonious and dysfunctional atmosphere of the last council to one of cooperation, professionalism, and respectful dialogue. There is important work to be done, and time should not be wasted with partisan politics. Without that change, very little will be accomplished.
Immediately after the election, the council must deal with a number of important issues, none more important than the review and approval of the 2017 operating budget. The budget needs to be carefully reviewed, as property tax bills will be calculated using this budget.
In Ward 2, there are a number of issues that citizens have put forward to me. Our recreational facilities need to be upgraded and improved throughout the ward. In many areas, the roads are in very poor condition. There is a great deal of concern about the speed of motorists approaching the intersection of Highway 200 and Highway 210. Some drainage ditches have to be completed, and the overall condition of our boulevards and parks has deteriorated.
I would really like to see our community spirit improve. Council can lead by sponsoring events that get the entire ward involved. Look for more information about my positions and ideas on my Facebook page. 

Q: What previous jobs or experiences have you had that qualify you for public office?
A: I am a retired licensed optician and optical industry executive. Early in my career, I was elected to the Opticians of Manitoba Council as treasurer, and then as president. In that capacity, I worked with the provincial government concerning our Optician Association of Manitoba Act.
For the last 20 years of my working life, I was a regional manager of retail optical stores in Western Canada. I was responsible for the complete operation of the stores. My territory consistently exceeded sales and profit expectations. I am very experienced in reading and evaluating operating budgets.
I also have the expertise to evaluate projects and their potential for success. In the opening and constructing of new stores, I negotiated with suppliers, trades, and developers.
In retirement, I actively manage my investment portfolio. This requires that I keep up with the latest in technology and innovation as I research companies to invest in.

Q: Are there any other details about yourself that you’d like voters to know about?
A: I have two great sons, a wonderful daughter-in-law, and two beautiful grandchildren. I also have a terrific extended family and many good friends. To me, family and friends are the really important things in life!

Karen Jorgenson

Q: Why have you decided to run for council? 
A: I want to serve my community. That is the most important reason I am running for council. I have lived in this friendly-community of St. Adolphe for 20 years and have watched this town and municipality grow by leaps and bounds.

Q: If elected, what do you feel you can bring to the table?
A: There are many outstanding issues that still need to be addressed and brought to council. I will bring my strong work ethics and passion when given a task or project. I will stay on top of it until I can see the end results and I am satisfied that those results will benefit everyone.

Q: What are the most important things you would like to get done? 
A: Seniors in our communities are a top priority to me. We must find a way to keep our seniors close to home, as so many were born and raised here. For example, a shuttle service needs to addressed for their appointments or shopping needs in the city. Many don’t drive or are unable to drive due to their health or poor road conditions (specifically during the winter). I also would like to see a much larger seniors facility to accommodate their activities and programs.
Safety is another major concern of mine. We need to address the speeding through St. Adolphe. I have witnessed this on many occasions on my daily walks. We need to work closely with the local RCMP detachment and work towards a heightened police presence. Also the speed limit needs to be addressed on Highway 210. I believe it has to be reduced back to its original speed of 60 kilometres per hour due to the growing population—before someone seriously gets injured.

Q: What previous jobs or experiences have you had that qualify you for public office?
A: I have been in the marketing/advertising field for more than 20 years and enjoy meeting and talking with people. I am a very outgoing, honest person who will tell it to you in black and white.

Q: Are there any other details about yourself that you’d like voters to know about?
A: My final word to the voters of this community is this: we must work together in order to grow together.

Ronald Mamchuk (Incumbent)

Q: Why have you decided to run for council? 
A: I want to finish all the projects and business that I did not get a chance to complete in my two-and-a-half-year term.

Q: If elected, what do you feel you can bring to the table?
A: I want to try and get more commercial business in St. Adolphe. The Tourond Estates development has to be done, seniors housing is important, and daycare is a big issue. Also, with the recent changes at Manitoba Health, we hopefully would like to have a satellite medical office in our community. Some of these are projects I’ve already started working on.
Q: What are the most important things you would like to get done? 
A: The number one thing is that daycare is an issue in St. Adolphe, and the entire RM of Ritchot. Hopefully we can built a nice facility for seniors similar to the one in Niverville.

Q: What previous jobs or experiences have you had that qualify you for public office?
A: I’ve been here for 41 years. I was involved with the St. Adolphe park and arena. I’ve been involved with the church and coaching sports. I want to give back to the community. The community has been good to me and my family.

Q: Are there any other details about yourself that you’d like voters to know about?
A:  We have three children, and out of the three, two of them live in St. Adolphe. It just shows that the roots are here, and I think many other families can say the same. It shows that the RM of Ritchot is a good place to raise families. We have a very good potential to expand, not only St. Adolphe but the whole municipality.
My favourite quote applies to communities and councils alike: “Our family is like the branches of a tree. We may grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one.”

Ward 3 (Ste. Agathe)

Jeannot Robert (Incumbent)

By virtue of being the only candidate in the running for Ward 3, Jeannot Robert will win his seat by acclamation. 

Ward 4 (Grande Pointe)

Janine Boulanger

Q: Why have you decided to run for council? 
A: I am running so that I can provide a voice to council for Ward 4 and ensure equality within the four different wards.

Q: If elected, what do you feel you can bring to the table?
A: I would see to it that the residents’ wishes are heard at council and that they have a fair chance of being carried through.

Q: What are the most important things you would like to get done? 
A: As the Grande Pointe area expands, the need for a safe bike and walking path should be a priority. However, Bernat Road is stilled owned by the Department of Highways and therefore nothing can be done until it is turned over to the municipality. The process was started 12 years ago, and my goal is to finish this task. Once we have control of this road, we will be able to start planning and developing as required.

Q: What previous jobs or experiences have you had that qualify you for public office?
A: I have been President of the Grande Pointe Homeowners Association (GPHA) for the past seven years, during which time I have gained a tremendous amount of community awareness and an understanding of the residents’ desires and wishes. I have attended many council meetings to carry out requests brought forward by the GPHA. I have also held the position of secretary for the former Aerials Elite Gymnastics Club.

Q: Are there any other details about yourself that you’d like voters to know about?
A: I have been an architectural designer for the past 33 years. I also helped coach my daughter’s soccer team for several years. I have lived in Grande Pointe for 15 years with my husband and two daughters.

Elmer Hywarren

Q: Why have you decided to run for council? 
A: In 1979, I became resident and landowner in Grande Pointe. Over those past 38 years, there have been some very questionable decision made by the RM of Ritchot’s council—most notably, the recent decision by some members of council to resign and leave the municipality without a financial plan for 2017, handcuffing local government from moving forward on new projects. Their decision did a disservice those who elected them and restricted all residents of Ritchot from getting access to all facets of municipal services.
All municipal councils needs to be reminded—whether it’s a councillor, mayor, or reeve—that regulation and legislation must be the bedrock of all of their decisions. Those elected are to serve the whole municipality and not regional parochialism. 

Q: If elected, what do you feel you can bring to the table?
A: My past experiences will bring a higher level of maturity, civility, and of course stability. Although I do not have a complete knowledge of all governing legislation, I do have a solid understanding of the Provincial, Municipal, and Planning Acts, the Macdonald Ritchot Planning District, and the municipality’s development plan and zoning by-law. It is important to understand and apply these legislated instruments. But most important, council’s only employee, the Chief Executive Officer (CAO), is essential for guidance in all aspects of municipal governance. 

Q: What are the most important things you would like to get done? 
A: I previously served as councillor for Ritchot from 2010 to 2014. This entailed membership on a myriad of committees and boards. Further, and most important, in the past I have been a conduit between all Ritchot constituents and the council.
I was a school board trustee from 1998 to 2002. Trusteeship provides insight into school board governance and the interaction of the parents, their children, school teachers, administration, and the board. School boards are intermunicipal, and as a trustee we worked with those local governments within the school division.
In the early 1990s, I helped organize community support to oppose LADCO, owners of Borland Construction, in their attempt to move their Lagimodiere Blvd. contractors yard to Grande Pointe. The site would have potentially included an asphalt plant, concrete batch plant, and all of their heavy construction equipment and ancillary building material. The Macdonald-Ritchot Planning District Board supported our concerns; they did not approve the amendment to the development plan, thereby denying the application.
After the 1997 flood, through the efforts of faceless volunteers, my home was saved from the floodwaters. This allowed me to spend more time working for our community. I was a member of the North Ritchot Restoration Committee. In the early 2000s, the role of this committee had diminished and was disbanded. We used surplus resources from this committee to start the Grande Pointe Homeowners Association.
I served as the RM of Ritchot’s Grande Pointe representative on the Provincial Water Resources “Dykes South of the Floodway” committee. Through these efforts, and especially those of our local government, Grande Pointe now has a community dyke. Further, this resulted in the flood-proofing caveats being removed from most properties within the Grande Pointe community dyke.
In October 2006, I organized community opposition to the application of the Newalta Corporation, an industrial waste collection facility, to build a facility at 580 Bernat Road. Our community won and Newalta withdrew their application. 

Q: What previous jobs or experiences have you had that qualify you for public office?
A:  Professionally, I have seven combined years at CKSO TV in Sudbury and CFTO TV in Toronto.
In my 33 years at the University of Manitoba, I developed various methods of using television to deliver classroom teaching aids. I worked with most faculties, utilizing different forms of nonverbal communication. I also co-authored a technical paper with a professor from the Department of Physics. My time at the university gave me the ability to engage in critical thinking and problem solving.
I taught a television production summer course at Red River Community College. 

Q: Are there any other details about yourself that you’d like voters to know about?
A: The new council will have only 15 months to ensure the constituents of Ritchot with stability in local government. First and foremost, the 2017 Financial Plan must be legislated. Before this plan can be approved, a public hearing must be held. This will delay approval until mid-August. The result is a shortened construction season.
The current zoning by-law must be replaced, as it is more than 15 years old. When a new development plan is replaced, a new zoning by-law is required to reflect the new plan. The current development plan was given final reading in September 2011, thus it is now more than five years old. The Planning Act indicates that a review is required after five years.
According to the preliminary 2017 Financial Plan, this municipality’s finances are based on $445 million of property assessment, generating over $13 million dollars of revenue. As councillor, we must ensure these funds are used prudently and not squandered on special interest groups. 

Corinne Webb (Incumbent)

Q: Why have you decided to run for council? 
A: I am very passionate about my neighbourhood and our community, and I care about the residents who live here. I am running for re-election for all the right reasons. I have no personal agenda, no alternative motive, or any hidden interests. I am genuine and honest. I want to be the voice of the residents on council. I want to make sure that there is public awareness and input on any significant changes affecting our municipality. I was elected two and a half years ago by the residents of Ward 4 and I would like to finish the mandate that was entrusted to me by them.

Q: If elected, what do you feel you can bring to the table?
A:  If re-elected, I commit to continue to serve with integrity, respect, and creditability; promote transparency in council’s initiatives; make fair, objective decisions based on our legislation, including our development plan by-law, zoning by-law, and any secondary plan by-law; keep taxes as low as possible but still provide good services; and ensure that the residents of this community are represented to the best of my ability.
I also believe that it is important to be engaged with community members so that I understand their concerns and needs. If re-elected, I will continue to be visible and accessible by attending committee meetings, public consultations, open houses, celebrations, and assisting residents with their concerns and issues whenever I can.

Q: What are the most important things you would like to get done? 
A: As a retired Canada Revenue Agency employee and auditor, I know how important it is to follow rules, regulations, and policies. Also in this capacity, I sustained a high value of integrity, respect, and professionalism. I also bring two and a half years of councillor experience, and as a consequence I know the municipality’s strengths and weaknesses. I would like the opportunity to finish what I was initially elected to do.

Q: What previous jobs or experiences have you had that qualify you for public office?
A: My priorities are to finalize our financial plan and ensure that our municipal spending is in line with the mill rate necessary to pay for that spending while also being mindful of the impact the burden of taxes will have on the residents.
We also need to update our zoning by-law, address and move forward with the slope stability analysis regarding Red River Drive, work with Manitoba Infrastructure to have all of the old highways transferred to our municipality, explore alternative solutions regarding some of the compliance issues we are faced with in our communities, reduce municipal spending by streamlining and managing our resources more effectively and efficiently, and ensure that input from residents are part of the plan regarding growth in our communities.

Q: Are there any other details about yourself that you’d like voters to know about?
A: The last two and a half months have been very difficult for me as the past councillor of Ward 4. I did not resign and this by-election is not a result of any of my doing. I’ve done nothing but follow all of the rules and legislation. Sometimes that translates into pointing out that an issue before council hasn’t followed proper protocol or procedure and should be considered and reviewed. I have always done this in a respectful and professional manner.
As a councillor, it is my mandate to ensure that we follow our municipal by-laws and procedures. Rules are essential to good governance as they promote trust, fairness, accountability, equity, and consistency. For these reasons, if re-elected, I will continue to encourage core principles and values in our decision-making process.

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