Weyburn councillors make decisions on running for election

A nine-year veteran of Weyburn’s city council, Winston Bailey, has decided he will not run for re-election in the municipal elections to be held on Nov. 9, while current councillors Jeff Richards and Mel Van Betuw will be running again.

“I’m going to retire,” said Bailey. “I’m going to miss it.”

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He was first elected in a byelection in May 2011, and has served two and a half terms on council.

“My love for doing what I do is still there, but I recognize that it’s time to move on. There are some great people out there who will step and run,” he said.

Bailey said being a councillor was “a great experience”, and he is happy with what the council has been able to accomplish in the time he’s been at the council table.

“I stepped in at the right time for me, and I’m leaving at the right time for myself,” he said. “It’s been rewarding for me to get to know about politics and how things don’t always go a fast as you would like them to go.”

Bailey was pleased to see the announcement come unveiling the new location for Weyburn’s new hospital, and noted only he and Coun. Dick Michel were on council when council decided to enact the hospital levy, which paid for the City’s portion of costs to the Weyburn and District Hospital Foundation over a period of time.

The levy is down to $40 per residence this year, and the levy will be done as of this year.

“I remember many hours of discussions about the levy, as we wanted to pay our portion without putting too much of a burden on the taxpayer,” said Bailey.

He paid tribute to the city managers he’s worked with as a councillor, and said the city has been well-served by the professionalism of the staff.

“It’s so important for a council to be able to work with city management. We have some astounding people in their jobs,” said Bailey.

Coun. Richards is finishing his first term as a councillor, and feels there are some issues and projects he would like to see through.

“I found it was very educational, and I do feel we were able to get a lot of things done, things which were a priority for me,” he said, noting that the work on the development levy was one of those projects, with some work still needed on that file.

He was involved with the youth council over the last couple of years, and feels this is a very worthwhile addition to city council that he is hoping to continue being involved with.

“I’d like to strengthen the youth council, and I’d like to continue building on getting youth involved in the city, and get them involved with input in what we are doing,” said Richards.

He also feel economic development is a major priority for the city also, and noted he has spent a year on the Weyburn Police Commission, which has also been very worthwhile.

“We have a new police chief, Jamie Blunden, and he has some great ideas about making the city safer. I look forward to working with Chief Blunden more going forward,” added Richards.

Coun. Van Betuw has now been on council for two terms, and is looking forward to running again. He wanted to make his decision earlier to let people know in the community, and is encouraging anyone who is thinking about running to give serious consideration to the time and commitment needed.

Some of the projects he would like to see through include the Weyburn Recreation and Culture Centre (WRCC) currently under construction, and to continue on the Police Commission, which he has been a member of for the last two years.

“We have a very good chief with Chief Blunden. I think it’s important they have adequate funding to make sure officers are trained and equipped,” said Van Betuw, noting that the presence of drugs in the community is also one of the top concerns for the police, and the police commission.

He noted that being a city councillor has been a definite learning experience for him, but it’s a commitment of time and effort he is able to make, and wants to make as he gives back to the community by serving on council.

An area he hasn’t been involved with but would like to be is economic development, as he feels this is an extremely important aspect that city council needs to continue focusing on in the coming years.