Patrick Stolwyk has been elected as the new councillor for Ward 3 in the R.M. of Ste. Anne. Paul Saindon received 48 votes, David Buck received 26 votes, and Patrick Stolwyk received 126 votes.
Stolwyk says he’s humbled and honoured to have been chosen by his community, and that he has big shoes to fill.
“It's a huge task to take on the responsibility. I don't have a lot of words except for thank you so very much.”
He says the people in Ward 3 are very passionate about where they live, and they love their community.
“They're very boisterous and very proud people, and they don't have a lot of concerns, but they will definitely keep me on my toes,” he says. “And I'm thankful for that because this is my first time, and I don't pretend to know everything, so I need that pressure to keep me aware and keep me on task.”
He believes there are two main issues residents are interested in.
“Automotive safety, vehicles, the roads, and then economic development is a big deal for them too, because everybody wants to keep their kids and their grandkids close.”
Stolwyk says slow growth is key in this ward, and they want to stay rural.
“They're looking toward keeping it as rural as they possibly can, they don't want to lose their identity, but at the same time they want to expand in a way that is not too swift and I guess overall they want to be able to get used to what's going on,” he says. “So slow growth is something that is important to them, so everybody can adjust to it.”
He plans to make himself available to the public every couple of months so residents can express their concerns or just sit down and join him for coffee.
“I will sit in one of the restaurants every couple of months for about three to three and a half hours so people can approach me.”
He says there are a lot of improvements to be made, but the previous councillor did an incredible job.
“I got to be honest, Brent had his finger so much on the ball. I'm just sort of following in his footsteps for the time being, until such time that the issues that he wasn't dealing with come up, which I've found none, because he pretty much had his finger on the pulse with everything.”
He says Brent Wery could have been councillor for the rest of his life if he wanted.
“That’s how good he was at it. And he was such a great friend, it’s a huge honour for me, probably one of the greatest gifts anybody could give me other than my wife and grandchildren.”
He is very thankful to the residents of Ward 3.
“I'm really humbled by it, almost to the point where I'm choked up sometimes just thinking about it, because there's no replacing the guy that I'm replacing. You just can't. It's impossible. So I'm just glad that they put their trust in me.”
He assures he will try his hardest to meet all of the community’s concerns.
“I will do my best to serve you in the best way I know how. There will be a slight learning curve, but I do have their best interest in mind.”
With files from Adi Loewen