The six councillors who will comprise Estevan City Council for the next four years bring experience in civic politics, even those who haven't served on Council previously.
Greg Hoffort, Dennis Moore, Chris Istace, Brian Johnson, Lori Carr and Kevin Smith were elected to Council during the October 24 civic election. Hoffort finished first with 2,365 votes, followed by Moore (2,220), Istace (2,065), Johnson (2,045), Carr (1,773) and Smith (1,589).
Johnson has been on Council for the last 12 years. Moore and Istace joined in 2009. Carr was a member from 2003 to 2009.
Hoffort was involved in municipal politics for many years when he was the administrator for the RM of Estevan. Smith has been a member of the Estevan Board of Police Commissioners for the last five years.
The other candidates were Rodney Beatty, who received 1,099 votes, Mohammad Waseem (773) and Cameron Robock (670). Beatty had spent the last three years on Council; Waseem and Robock were seeking a first term as councillors.
Hoffort said he didn't know what to expect entering the campaign, but that he had the encouragement and support of a lot of people. He's looking forward to working with the other members of Council.
Despite his years of experience within municipal governance, he expects there will be a learning curve, since he was an administrator, and not an elected official.
"I'm excited about it," said Hoffort. "Just about all of the councillors who were elected tonight, I've worked with in the past on other boards and committees. I worked an awful lot on many committees with the new mayor (Roy Ludwig)."
He looks forward to seeing what can be done to address infrastructure and roadwork in the community. A lot of people also voiced concern to Hoffort about the housing issue in the community. He believes something needs to be done to find a potential solution.
Moore attributed his second place finish to the fact that he listened to people who asked him questions during his first term. A lot of people talked to him about sidewalks during this year's campaign.
"It sounds like small stuff, but even as of yesterday, I went to some people's houses who wanted to show me how bad their sidewalk was on the west end," said Moore.
The City is doing a better job at clearing snow from sidewalks and pathways, which Moore said makes life easier for pedestrians and cyclists during the winter.
Other priorities for Moore in this term is completing the parking lot at Spectra Place, working on Kensington Avenue north of the Estevan Comprehensive School, and making progress on repairs to Souris Avenue and King Street.
"We're putting money into roads that are just getting beat up again," said Moore. "Everybody knows that the trucks are doing most of the damage, but we're doing some."
Istace said that during the last three years, Council has been so busy with trying to get everything finished, that they haven't been able to spend time on long-term planning.
"I want to make sure that the new Council is keen on developing our long-term plan and get that back on track," said Istace.
People are concerned about the roads, but they also want to see projects completed in a timely manner, he said. They also want more communication with Council.
"I pushed for it for the last couple months here on Council about getting lots of information out to the media so that the public knows what's going on," Istace said.
He'd like to see more reports that give any overview of the City's efforts.
Istace suggested that the City should also have a stronger presence on social media like Twitter and Facebook, and to integrate it into a new website.
And it's time for Council to move forward with curbside recycling – an aspect in which Estevan is falling behind.
Johnson said it will be important to get the City's finances in order. Council needs to examine where money is going, make sure that it's well spent and ensure that projects require funding.
"We need to take a good look at the debt load that we're carrying, and see how we can outsource some of that work into better pricing with contracts for major projects," said Johnson.
Residents want long-term planning to examine the expansion and the growth of the city, Johnson said. They also want to know the impact that the truck route will have in terms of what services and businesses will be coming to the region, or relocating from city limits to be along the route.
"I think another big project that people want to see is for all the streets and roads in the city to be somewhat upgraded to be drivable, instead of having so many potholes and so many rough areas," said Johnson.
Carr hopes that Council can address housing issues, and in particular affordable housing. She said it's difficult for people like her children, who want to stay in Estevan, to find a place to live or buy their own home.
"I hope we can do something to help these people," Carr said.
In the long-term, she said she hopes Council will continue with road repairs, infrastructure upgrades and the water main replacement program.
She believes that the citizens of Estevan have elected a good leader in Ludwig, and she looks forward to working with him in the next few years. She believes Ludwig will serve the community in a positive manner.
Carr is happy to be returning to Council, and she looks forward to serving the community for the next four years.
Smith said he expects there will be some work to get caught up to speed with Council, but there are a lot of good people on Council, and he said he's not afraid to ask for help.
"After that, I'm just looking forward to working with people," said Smith.
Smith said his work on the police board will help as he adjusts to serving on Council. Not only has he been on the board for several years, but he has been the chair for the last two years.
He said he would welcome the opportunity to continue to serve on the police board.
"In the near future, we're going to be looking for a new police chief," said Smith. "That is one of the things that I'm very interested in, to make sure we go through that process, and to pick the right person. We've enjoyed four years now of a good leader, and I think it's going to be very important that we continue down that path."
The six councillors, along with new mayor Roy Ludwig, will be sworn-in during a meeting on October 29.