Virden's new town council, elected in the civic vote on Oct. 26, officially assembled for its first meeting in Council Chambers on Nov. 1. The inaugural session was preceded by a swearing-in ceremony conducted by Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Rhonda Stewart, who also served as the Town's Senior Election Official.
One by one, Mayor Tina Williams and her six-member council recited their oaths of office. Williams expressed her appreciation to outgoing Mayor Murray Wright and Coun. Karel Munchinsky, who were unsuccessful in their bid for another term. She also commended Councillors Grant Gardiner and Whitney Baker, who decided not to seek re-election, for their service to the community.
The bulk of the meeting was spent going over organizational matters, particularly to bring those new to the table up to speed on their roles and responsibilities. Individuals were asked to take time to consider which council committees and quasi-municipal boards and commissions they wish to serve on, taking into account their interests and prior commitments. The appointments will be made at the next regular meeting on Nov. 15. The deputy mayor, a position previously held by Williams, will also be selected at that time.
Council has a policy which provides for each member to attend a Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) conference once during their four-year term. More information will be obtained regarding which provinces the next ones will be held in. No decision was made regarding sending representation to the FCM Sustainable Communities Conference in Ottawa in February.
Council will hear from the Town’s legal counsel regarding codes of conduct, conflict of interest, governance and the roles and responsibilities of themselves and the CAO. They will also take part in an internal orientation session, a tour of Town-owned facilities and a review of the strategic plan released to the public earlier this year.
All available members of Council will attend the upcoming Association of Manitoba Municipalities convention in Winnipeg later this month. They decided not to schedule any meetings with provincial cabinet ministers while there this year, but will set up a session with RCMP management to discuss policing matters.
On Nov. 15, council will be meeting virtually with The Hon. Doyle Piwniuk, the provincial Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. Up for discussion, specifications for the resurfacing of King Street, restrictions on the establishment of highway signage and the impact of highway closures due to adverse winter weather.
VERY VIRDEN CHRISTMAS GRANT
Council approved a grant of $250 to the Very Virden Christmas Committee in support of their fundraising event for the Virden Food Cupboard.
WESTERN CAUCUS MEETING
The Western Caucus, made up of elected representatives of rural towns and municipalities, will be meeting Nov. 4 in Boissevain. Mayor Williams and one member of council received authorization to attend.
During her report to Council, CAO Stewart noted that voter turnout in the Oct. 26 civic election was 32 per cent with just over 800 eligible voters casting their ballots.
NEW UTILITIES MANAGER
Michael French of Brandon has been hired as the Town’s new Manager of Utilities and he will commence work on Nov. 14.