Gary Vidal elected mayor of Meadow Lake

The mother of Gary Vidal, Alice Vidal casts her vote Sept. 14 for the next mayor of Meadow Lake. Between advance polling on Sept. 8 and last Wednesday's voting, 1088 Meadow Lakers let their voice be heard. “It was a hard decision,” Vidal said with a grin about making her choice for mayor.

 

By Ben Ingram

The results are in and Gary Vidal will be sworn in as the next mayor of Meadow Lake.

After an election that brought in more votes than previous years, Vidal emerged with more than 71 per cent popular support in the city. The total votes cast was 1088, a sharp contrast to previous totals which struggled to reach 700.

“I’m humbled, I’m honoured. Never in a hundred years imagined it would be that kind of numbers. I’m thrilled,” Vidal said.

The swearing-in ceremony will be held on Sept. 26, beginning Vidal’s foray into Meadow Lake city politics. Vidal said he looks forward to getting started right away delivering the leadership style he communicated during the campaign.

He echoed his main concerns for the future of the city, that taxpayers be treated as customers of a business, working towards a viable community for raising children and fostering a healthy relationship with other levels of government.

“I’m sure there will be more concrete things, more practical things that happen day-to-day, but that will be the kind of over-arching beginning point,” he said.

Monday’s committee of the whole meeting was still set to be chaired by the previous acting mayor, a city official said. Council met with the RM to discuss annexation problems and issues.

A meeting of the mayors caucus was also scheduled but has since been moved or cancelled. Vidal will attend that meeting at a later date, likely with the city manager, to meet the other city mayors of Saskatchewan.

For now the task is getting situated with the operations of Meadow Lake.

One of those who encouraged Vidal to take the step of running for mayor was MLA Jeremy Harrison. Vidal is the president of the local constituency association.

“He gave me advice, we have a good relationship and hopefully that will be for the benefit of the city when we’re done. That’s part of one of our planks, to work together with other levels of government,” Vidal said.

As constituency president, part of the work is to help raise funds and find candidates for the riding. With an elected Saskatchewan Party member in office, the job has not been a busy one, Vidal said.

Harrison said he was pleased with the turnout in the election, a sharp rise in voters that may have been bolstered by the participation of four candidates. He also said he was thrilled to see Vidal obtain such a strong level of support from the electorate.

“I thought he would do an excellent job as mayor and I know he will do an excellent job,” Harrison offered as his reason for encouraging Vidal to run. “He has some very I think professional background that’s very apt for running a very major operation which is what the city is.”

Last Wednesday’s election saw Al MacFarlane claim 155 votes, Toby Esterby 100 and Alex Lucyshyn 55.

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