Loon Lake reeve resigns

by Phil Ambroziak

RM of Loon Lake reeve Bob Gristwood, who was elected in the fall of 2012, recently announced he will be stepping down from the role this October – only two years into his four-year term.

He said there are several reasons for his decision to leave, but first and foremost is his health and well-being.
“A year ago last spring, I had two heart attacks,” Gristwood explained. “While my health is not bad, not everything is peachy. I also find I’ve been getting further and further behind on my farm because of RM stuff – the workload has become tremendous.”

As a rancher in the Barthel district, Gristwood said the increasing responsibilities that accompany the RM’s top job has resulted in his livelihood “suffering dramatically.”

“Even the day-to-day stuff has fallen behind,” he added.

Gristwood also said it’s become increasingly difficult to achieve the things he hoped to achieve as an elected official.

“Council and I have the same goals, but our priorities are often different,” he said. “I find it’s become more of a struggle to get things done than it is to view things as a work in progress. We don’t seem to be on the same page while some of us don’t even seem to be in the same book.”

His decision to resign from municipal politics marks the end of a decade-long tenure. Gristwood was initially elected to the position of reeve during a by-election in 2005. He later served as a councillor for several years before occupying the reeve’s chair once again in 2012. Throughout this time, he said he’s always tried to be as fair and objective as he could when dealing with municipal matters.

In spite of his recent announcement, Gristwood will stick with the job until Oct. 21 – the day before the scheduled by-election.

“He didn’t have to do that,” noted RM administrator Laurie Lehoux. “It will be hard to see someone with that much experience leave.”

Nominations for the by-election will be accepted at the RM office until Sept. 17. Meanwhile, Oct. 22 also marks the regular Election Day for Divisions II, IV and VI. Those seats are currently held by Randy Arlitt, Ervin Melanchuk and James Schilling.

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