It’s back to business for the mayor and city council of Lloydminster.
Mayor Gerald Aalbers and the six councillors were sworn-in during a socially distanced ceremony at City Hall on November 16. Due to the increase of COVID-19 cases and extra precautions, the ceremony was brief and attendance was limited.
Aaron Buckingham, Jonathan Torresan, Michael Diachuk and Glenn Fagnan returned to the chambers as incumbents, while Jason Whiting is back after previously serving as councillor from 2012 to 2016. Of the six councillors, only Lorelee Marin is new to role.
Marin thanks the community for cheering her on during the campaign and supporting her as a representative. She says despite having the least experience, she feels confident in the knowledge and wisdom of the others sitting next to her.
“I’m the newbie, but fortunately for me we have a really strong council that I get to serve with along with the mayor and our executive leadership team. I anticipate asking lots of questions and having great conversations. I’m not nervous about that because I know I have good support here.”
She says the community will face challenges ahead, but Lloydminster will get through it by building stronger connections within the community.
Whiting says he had a wide smile behind his mask as he recited the oath as he was excited to be able to return to council.
“I’m looking forward to getting back to council and bringing in my experience from before and my connections around town that continue to grow. I’m looking forward to being another voice on council like everybody else.”
Councillors will be getting a rundown on operations in the city as well as the governmental process over the coming days before sitting in their first meeting as the new council. Torresan says he’s ready to get back in and take on problems the city and residents face.
“We’ve overcome quite a few challenges at this point, but I know there are a lot of things that we can start working on now with fewer organizational issues than when we first elected a few years back. There’s some humps to get over and I think we will. There’s an opportunity to roll our sleeves up and get to work and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Buckingham says he’s humbled to be able to sit in the councilors seat once again.
“I hope it’s a message from the community that we were doing what the people asked us to do and people thought we were doing a good job. All the incumbents got back in hopefully it speaks to that. I’ve enjoyed working with all of them so far and I’ll enjoy working with our two new additions as well.”
Fagnan echoes the sentiment and expects things to continue running smoothly in the next term.
“I’m very honoured, excited and humbled to be part of the four incumbents that came back. I’m certainly looking forward to working with Lorelee and Councillor Whiting. I’ve worked with them before on different things. They’re great people and I think it’s going to be a good strong council again.”
Diachuk is glad to rejoin his fellow councillors and see a voice for women within the chamber.
“It feels great to come back for a second term and have the confidence from the community to represent them and do the work that we do. I’m excited to have two new members and particularly to have a female. We should be fighting for more gender balance and cultural representation. The voters have the final say in that, so I’m looking forward to working with the new team.”
Aalbers says he’s glad to see the new council with several of them coming back for another term. He adds Whiting and Marin bring in unique perspectives on the issues and hopes all members will bring an optimistic point of view as they face the challenges head-on.
“There’s so many factors that play into our city, outside of the control of city council, but people expect results and action from city council. We’ll continue to do the best that we can do. I appreciate the people that have been elected and sent to city council. Working with the administration we have today, we’ll move things forward it’s just going to take some time.”
One of the first tasks council is set with is the 2021 budget. The new city council will hold their first Governance and Priorities Committee meeting on November 23.