Meadow Lake city council sworn in

The new Meadow Lake city council held its first meeting Nov. 5 during which time members were officially sworn in for the new council term. Here, newly elected councillor Layne Shkopich and interim city manager Richard Levesque look on as city clerk Cheryl Dodds has mayor Gary Vidal recite the oath of office.

by Phil Ammbroziak

A new era in Meadow Lake politics has begun.

During a special meeting held Nov. 5, the newly elected Meadow Lake city council was officially sworn in before quickly getting down to business by selecting members to represent the city on various boards and committees.

“First of all, let me congratulate you and welcome you,” remarked mayor Gary Vidal when addressing council which consists of three political veterans (Curtis Paylor, Elaine Yaychuk and Annette Klassen) and three newcomers (Merlin Seymour, Layne Shkopich and Conrad Read). “I look forward to working with you and receiving everyone’s input.”

When it came time to fill vacant committee seats, Vidal said there were two approaches council could take.

“We could make an attempt to fill these positions tonight and have them set for the term, or we could have the city manager or clerk explain the different roles and the responsibilities involved, and then give you some time to contemplate your decision,” he noted. “This would allow you to figure out what would work best for you. We should probably have the positions filled by our next meeting, however.”

Read suggested council fill the positions immediately.

“We should at least give it a good try,” he said.

Klassen agreed, but still suggested city staff provide a brief description of each role, as some of the committees in question tend to meet during the day. This, she said, could play a role in certain councillors’ availability.

Following a short discussion, all positions were eventually filled. Seymour will serve on the long-term care facility committee with Shkopich as his alternate; Paylor, Read and Klassen will serve on the parks and recreation board; Read will also serve on the local library board with Paylor as his alternate; Shkopich will be council’s representative at the Meadow Lake and District Chamber of Commerce with Yaychuk as the alternate. Yaychuk will also serve on the regional waste management/recycling/compost committee with Read as the alternate while Paylor, Klassen and Vidal plan to participate in the union negotiating committee. Meanwhile, the North of Divide Planning District Commission will welcome Yaychuk as the council rep with Vidal as the alternate.

“North of Divide is a huge one,” Vidal said. “It really holds a lot of merit and could potentially have a huge impact on our long-term future.”

In terms of policing, Klassen, Seymour, Shkopich and Vidal all expressed interest in representing the city in dealings with the RCMP, but the mayor said it still remains to be seen what the format will be for future discussions.

“I’d personally like to move this to the concept of a police commission of some sort,” he said.

“My understanding is the mayor usually chairs such a committee. We could get some examples from other municipalities. This would give us a mandate and a structure to work, so we don’t have to go out and reinvent the wheel.”

Following the committee appointments, council voted in favour of granting signing authority (in terms of financial business) to Vidal, Yaychuk and Klassen while Yaychuk was once again selected to fill the role of deputy-mayor. Council was given the option of electing one person from amongst its members or to take turns as deputy-mayor on a rotating basis.

“Having one person is probably best,” Shkopich said.

“I agree with Layne,” Read added. “It gives the role some stability.”

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