Weyburn council veteran Dick Michel will be putting his hat back in the ring for re-election in the Nov. 9 municipal election, while councillor Jeff Chessall has announced he will not be running again, citing personal and business reasons.
In an interview on Monday, Michel said he still has lots to do, and his passion for the City has not abated in his 20 years of service.
“I enjoy this job. It’s like a full-time job for me. I get to talk to people about the concerns they have,” he said, noting he has been receiving texts and calls from people urging him to stay on council.
He thanked the citizens and taxpayers of Weyburn for re-electing him, and noted when he first joined in 2000, it was by acclamation, so he wasn’t sure at first if there was support for him from citizens.
One issue he wants to work on is restoring the City’s cleanup campaign, which has fallen by the wayside in the last few years.
Noting there used to be five area chairmen for the campaign, he’s had people asking him to bring this back as a city-wide effort to beautify the city.
“I know it can work, but I need support from administration and from residents,” he said.
The shortage of doctors in Weyburn is another pressing issue, and he brought this up with MLA Dustin Duncan on Friday, when they gathered at the construction site for the City’s new fleet storage building.
In talking with doctors about what he should do as a councillor, he was advised that the city officials need to be respectful to the province in bringing the issue up, and they need to press the province for more action in helping to recruit new doctors for the community. A concern he has pointed out is that when people have to travel to Moose Jaw or Regina just to see a doctor, they also shop there rather than here.
Recycling is another issue Michel wants to continue to promote also, noting that while residential areas are using it, the program was not promoted to apartment buildings or businesses very much, and more can be done in that regard.
Coun. Chessall put out a statement on social media indicating he will not be rerunning for council.
“I have loved working as a city councillor and feel I could keep going for another four years, but I have made my decision to concentrate on my personal and business life,” he said.
“It is hard to believe that four years has came and gone so quick. I have been honoured to be part of such an amazing community as a city councillor. As a city and a community we have accomplished so much in these past four years, with that I would like to thank the mayor, city councillors, the community, and most of all, the city of Weyburn staff that make this great city,” he added. “Without them, this would be a very difficult job and I thank them for all their hard work they put in to make the City of Weyburn the great community it is.”
He noted that a lot has changed for him over the past four years in his personal life and in his businesses, and urged anyone to put their name forward who has an interest in serving the city.
“I am thankful to my family, staff, and friends for the past four years and appreciate all their support. This was an experience like no other and I encourage anyone thinking about putting their name forward, please go for it. Is it hard work? Yes, but the experience and reward is worth it,” he said.
In the meantime, the Weyburn Chamber of Commerce is making plans for virtual candidate forums for both the municipal and provincial elections.
“We have two separate forums planned. The dates are still tentative. They will be virtual and will be broadcast live over the Access Go YouTube channel (Access Communications),” explained Twila Walkeden, manager of the Weyburn Chamber.
She added that questions will be taken in advance from both chamber members and the public.