WEYBURN - Voters in the City of Weyburn will head to the polls on Wednesday, May 31, for the city by-election to fill the vacancy left by the departure of Coun. Dick Michel.
There are four candidates vying for the single seat, with the term to last from now until the 2024 municipal election when all of council will be up for grabs.
The interest in the by-election is a good thing, as having four different people running brings out the issues that need talking about, and encourages people to be talking about who would be a good candidate to fill the council seat.
As the forum was organized and hosted by the Weyburn Chamber of Commerce (as they do for all elections, whether municipal, provincial or federal), there were a number of business-related issues brought up, along with more general issues, such as the state of Weyburn’s roads and garbage pickup.
Some of the issues related to business have much wider implications than what impacts just on businesses, such as issues around recruitment and retention of workers, and the processes for permits and the red tape involved.
More than one candidate made mention of the need to cut the red tape, which is a function of the administration policies and regulations in place by City Hall. The policies are needed for the orderly development of properties around the city, whether for residential, commercial or industrial purposes.
If the comments are being made from a number of sources that there seems to be too much red tape, then clearly council needs to do a review of these processes and see how they might be streamlined.
As has been pointed out, there are other communities competing with Weyburn for the placement of new businesses, and Weyburn can’t afford to lose out because the rules are too onerous for a company to consider locating here. If a municipality like Regina or Estevan are much more attractive for a retailer or plant owner, that’s where they’re going to locate their business.
We want, and need, more business investment here, because it means more jobs, and the economy can grow and thrive and help make the city a better place to live overall.
Weyburn has earned the title as the best place to live on the prairies, but we have to work to maintain that title. No one will just hand it to us – it has to be based on what this city can offer for a family in terms of amenities, recreational facilities and overall quality of life, among other things.
This by-election is valuable to bringing to light issues that city council needs to work on, and it will set up the race for council in the fall of 2024. By that time, voters can look at these issues and determine if they are being addressed, and if not, how the next council can do the job.