By Joel van der Veen
DUNDURN — With continued growth expected in the Dundurn area, it’s now up to local voters to decide which candidate will be the one to lead them through it.
Voters in the Rural Municipality of Dundurn will head to the polls for a byelection on Nov. 18 to choose between Trevor Reid and Fred Wilson as their new reeve.
Wilson, 69, a longtime farmer and resident of the area, has served as reeve since January 2004; it was his resignation, which took effect in October, that made the byelection necessary.
He explained to the Leader that personal issues — specifically, a move into town and a decision to turn the family farm over to his son — were getting in the way of his duties.
“I just kind of felt that I wasn’t contributing to the council the way I felt I should be,” he said. “I was kind of second-guessing myself.”
Subsequently, he reconsidered his decision, and with the passage of time and the encouragement of several ratepayers, Wilson decided he was ready to seek another term.
He said he is still comfortable with the direction he and the council have been moving and the decisions they have made, including a temporary moratorium on new residential subdivisions.
Wilson cited the “adequate supply” of current subdivisions and added that he wants to encourage more commercial and industrial activity, though the RM must compete with the City of Saskatoon and other municipalities like Corman Park.
He also said they’re pleased with the current development of a new campsite at Blackstrap Provincial Park, noting that it had been a longtime council objective.
Wilson said that maintaining infrastructure to accompany growth in the RM is “pretty central to what’s been happening,” adding that they will need to keep an eye on roads over the next few months, as water levels and spring runoff take their toll.
He also wants to continue to push for a connecting link between highways 219 and 11, which would help establish the area as a tourism corridor south of Saskatoon.
“Our west side of our municipality is basically isolated from our east side,” said Wilson. “We don’t think that’s right.”
Running against Wilson is Trevor Reid, 39, a real estate agent and business consultant who moved to the area with his wife and two children just over five years ago.
He said he believes the time is right to “take the RM to the next level” and wants to put his 20 years of business experience to work for ratepayers, adding, “I just feel I can bring a lot of motivation and strive for change.”
Reid said he frequently hears from other residents that their concerns are not being addressed in a timely or effective fashion, adding that the most frequent complaints have to do with road maintenance and servicing.
As reeve, he said, he would aim to address the questions and concerns that are brought forward by ratepayers, noting, “It may not always be what they want to hear, but at least they’ll have an answer.”
He also said he perceives a division between the farmers and the more recent arrivals living on acreages, and he wants to bring those groups together and “get everybody on the same page.”
Reid has run to serve on the RM council twice. He was a candidate in the municipal election three years ago and also ran in a byelection in March. Both experiences have given him lots of opportunities to discuss issues with voters.
“I’ve heard a lot of what people had to say,” he said. “Everybody’s complaints and concerns are valid, and a lot of them are the same.”
Reid said he has heard about many smaller issues that aren’t as simple to address. He added that he would like to improve transparency on the RM’s financial reports, allowing residents to better understand the municipality’s situation.
Administrator Judy Douglas confirmed last week that once Wilson had resigned, the RM was required to hold a byelection under The Municipalities Act.
Both candidates have promoted themselves using campaign signs, which Douglas said is “unusual” for an election in their municipality.
The vote will take place on Nov. 18 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the municipal office on Second Street in Dundurn, with the results to be declared at 10 a.m. the following day.