Ward 1 voters have a decision to make for RM of Sifton by-election

Voters in the RM Sifton Ward 1 have a choice to make.Three candidates are running in a by-election to elect a councillor for Ward 1.

The by-election became necessary because of the passing of Rick Gabrielle earlier in 2020. He was described as an active councillor for the ward.

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The Empire-Advance invited candidates to submit their information; the candidates are: Rick Kenderdine, James Rolfe and Louise Stitt.

Candidate Rick Kenderdine

I decided to accept the nomination as a candidate for the office of councilor in the Ward 1 by-election after being approached by several members of the municipality. I believe I have the knowledge, experiences, and the time required to represent the residents of this ward. Before moving to Ward 1 in 2012, my family and I were residents of Virden and I owned Great Western Tongs Service 1987 Ltd. During part of that time as a Virden Town councilor I gained valuable experience in municipal governance. I volunteered for over twenty years with the Virden Justice Committee which offered alternative options to youth and adult offenders as well as Citizens on Patrol which provided protection for citizens (as well as sitting on the provincial board of COPP). Serving in various capacities on the Virden Area Foundation, Manitoba Police Commission, Sunrise Credit Union Board, and currently on the Valleyview Co-op Board have been educational and have provided many networking opportunities. I am a member of the Freemasons who provide vans and drivers for transporting individuals to their cancer treatment appointments in Winnipeg. As a Khartum Shriner and a member of the Brandon Car Patrol, we participate in numerous parades such as Oak Lake Fair, Virden Rodeo and Wild West Daze, and Westman Dreams for Kids Fair keeping the public aware of the Shrine Hospitals for Children throughout North America. Several SW Manitoba children and their families have benefitted from them.

I believe there are some important issues that affect Ward 1 as well as the RM as a whole. Public safety is at risk due to the unreliable cell and internet services. This affects personal safety - as evidenced during the August 7 tornado - as well as business, service, and farm transactions. I am and would continue to lobby for attention to this situation.

Are there programs and incentives available which would encourage individuals to reside or to locate businesses in The R.M. of Sifton? These could create more employment opportunities and additions to this municipality’s tax roll.

I have listened to concerns about water/sewer and land management as many are still recovering from the floods from 2011 to 2017 which impacted infrastructure, crop and pasture land, and livelihoods. With continuing partnerships such as with Souris River Watershed, I believe that residents could be assured of some resilience during floods as well as during periods of drought.

Council members for all wards have a dual responsibility to look after individual voter’s concerns as well as the concerns of the municipality as a whole. Communication is vital - I would urge residents to contact me with their concerns as I would strive to provide the answers by accessing the sources available to me and to present any issues to the council as a whole.

To the electorate of the R.M. of Sifton - please exercise your right to vote.

Candidate James Rolfe

I grew up outside of the rural farming community of Elgin, Man. Growing up on our mixed family farm was an opportunity I hold close to my heart. I moved to Alberta in the late 90’s and worked in the agricultural irrigation industry and oil and gas industry for several years. In the mid-2000s I moved back to Manitoba and worked in the municipal field gaining a vast amount of experience in municipal operations. Since 2012 I have been employed with Valleyview Co-op in Virden and truly enjoy my role as Petroleum Division Manager.

In August 2019 my wife Shanda and our daughters purchased a home at Cherry Point in the RM of Sifton Ward 1. The major deciding factor of relocating to Cherry Point was, we fell in love with the area and knew this was the best place for us to set down roots and raise our family, having community, country and recreational living at our doorstep for us and our kids to enjoy.

At this time, I would like to thank everyone for the great support through the nomination process to run for Office of Council in Ward 1 in the Municipality of Sifton. It was an easy decision for me to want to pursue this opportunity. My background, growing up in a rural agricultural setting (Elgin), has given me firsthand experience with some of the challenges that ratepayers and municipalities face.

Working for municipalities in the past has shown me what some of the issues were and how they were resolved from both the side of the ratepayer and the municipality itself.

Living in the Municipality of Sifton I have a vested interest to keep our municipality viable and affordable for future years to come.

Election Focus:

- Expand on residential and commercial growth for the municipality as a whole which will have positive spin-off effects of growing the tax base within the RM, keeping our tax rate affordable for families and businesses that want to live and establish businesses in our great municipality.
- Further development of parks and recreation, a key attribute to draw families to the local area along with tourism generating dollars into the local economy.
- Water development and sewer enhancement for rural and urban to bring more interest to residential and commercial expansion while benefitting the ratepayers as a whole.
- Advocate to improve hydro and cell services in the municipality as these services are operating subpar and are a major concern for reliability.
- Improvement to grid roads and transportation infrastructure along with drainage, helping reduce roadbed erosion.

I believe that rural agricultural living is one of the best and I am passionate about it. I want to be part of the solution, keeping the RM of Sifton viable and progressive for future years to come.  

“Your Vote, Your Voice, Your Choice”

Candidate Louise Stitt

Greetings! It is an honor to have been nominated for Ward 1, RM of Sifton.     

As a twelve-year resident of this RM, and being newly retired, I have had the chance to reassess my priorities and feel ready for this opportunity to contribute to the people and place I call “home”.

As background, I offer you my 40 years in all levels of emergency medical services, as Paramedic, educator and EMS Director. My organizational and interpersonal skills, along with my business knowledge, will provide the necessary springboard for ongoing challenges within the RM. As an EMS Director I successfully lobbied for rural health services, evidenced by the positioning of two full-time EMS positions in our RM.

In supporting local farm family sustainability and the extended benefit of local youth employment, I became a business partner in the Meandher Creek Pumpkin Patch (2006). This innovative agri-tourism venue is viewed as a tourism leader in Manitoba, with mentorship being provided as far away as Newfoundland. The number of youth employed over the years from Oak Lake and Kenton areas is in the hundreds. It is this fresh, unique type of industry thinking that I would strive to implement within the RM.

In the vein of supporting our youth, I can offer my experience as a School Trustee with the Southwest Horizon S.D. During my term I acted as chair on the Personnel, Transportation, Finance and Negotiations committees. It was a great chance to learn of the challenges facing our children, teachers and administrative staff. Experience on Parent/Teacher Council broadened my views as well. Maintaining a central focus on the children was supported through the winning practise of non-negotiable teamwork.

Other volunteer contributions that I offer are my multi-year positions with the Oak Lake Community Development Board, the Oak Lake and Area Foundation, the Christmas Hamper program, and the Red Cross as a Disaster Management Instructor. Through venues such as the yearly Santa Brunch, and Foundation grants, many thousands of dollars have been returned to the area for worthwhile causes. My experience with these organizations showed me how lucky we are to have compassionate, committed individuals who diligently work together for the benefit of our town and RM.

On a personal note, my greatest gifts in life have been my children and grandchildren. They provide me with an inexhaustible outlet for life lessons, joy, connection and purpose. My current hobby is family history and genealogy.

When asked about my motivation to sit on Council, my reply is that I wish to bring a new perspective; beneficial skills; leadership and experience to the RM Council. In the end it’s all about trust in my mind. I submit my past commitments to this RM as evidence of my ability to represent the citizens of Ward 1, RM of Sifton.  

Please exercise your right to vote and stay safe everyone.

© Virden Empire-Advance