This week’s municipal elections saw a shakeup in North Battleford, with David Gillan taking on the mayoral seat.
Gillan defeated sitting mayor Ryan Bater in a close race, bringing in 1,198 votes over the incumbent’s 988. Joining David Gillan on North Battleford City Council will be sitting councillors Kelli Hawtin, Kent Lindgren, Greg Lightfoot, Len Taylor along with newcomers Ross MacAngus and Thomas (Bill) Ironstand.
One of the big initiatives Gillan wants to hit the ground running on is crime prevention in the Battlefords, and curbing the town’s reputation as a “crime city.” He explains that he wants to achieve this by working with other similar-sized cities to learn from them how they curb crime and look at the effectiveness of policing services in the community.
He adds that slowing generational crime is by providing good-paying jobs in North Battleford, as well as investing in social programs such as sports and arts, removing financial barriers to them.
“Hopefully that also not just helps with generational crime, but also helps with everyone’s general fitness, if you like, mentally and physically as well, and gets us more as a community and working more as a community, or more engaged in the community. I think our kids can really lead us into better engagement.”
Gillan, before being elected mayor, had a diverse background in the corporate private sector and has also done municipal work already, as the current Town of Battleford Finance Director and Deputy CAO. Before that, he was Finance Director of the City of North Battleford from 2014 to 2017. He says he will be putting all other work aside so as to be a full-time mayor in North Battleford.
Through this earlier work, he says he’s got both a private and public understanding of the needs of North Battleford residents. Many of the Town of Battleford and North Battleford Council and Administration are people he’s built relationships with, and having these private sector relationships too, he wants to use them to attract new business to the city.
Part of these needs, he says, is hardware and software upgrades for areas of the city, especially downtown. He envisions a place where people want to invest in a safe downtown that has ample parking for visitors, residents, businesses and their clients so that existing empty buildings get a new lease on life.
He also notes that a key to bringing in investors is showcasing North Battleford as a place where many industries can do business.
“I want to work hard to find more industry for North Battleford and diversify our economy here beyond just servicing the farm sector and just being a central sort of a health district here. I want to find more industry for the city if I can and bring more industry for the city, and I guess my background in the corporate world helps there a little bit as well.”
Gillan will be sworn in as Mayor on November 16th, along with the rest of the North Battleford City Council.