The Youth Member for Hanover Council is making a pitch that could bring an end to the Reeve.
It is not the Reeve himself that Peyton Kehler is trying to get rid of, it is the term 'Reeve', that she is hoping to see changed. Kehler is asking Council to consider the term 'Mayor' instead of 'Reeve' when referring to its Head of Council.
According to Reeve Stan Toews, this would change a tradition that spans more than 100 years. The Rural Municipality of Hanover was established in 1881. Toews says Hanover's Head of Council has always been called a Reeve. He notes historically Rural Municipalities had Reeves while urban centres had Mayors.
But, when Manitoba changed its Municipal Act, sometime around the late 1990's, it gave permission for municipalities to choose whether to refer to their Head of Council as a Reeve or Mayor. Though some neighbouring municipalities have made the switch, Hanover has opted to continue to use the term, Reeve.
Toews says though people often ask him what a Reeve is, he does not mind that title.
"I guess I'm from the old school, so I am a Reeve at present," explains Toews. "I don't mind the designation."
However, Toews is quick to add that Council should stay open-minded and see what happens. Further to that, Toews says it is great to see Kehler take on this initiative.
"That's why we have a junior councillor," he says. "Get some opinions, see what does the younger generation think we should be doing and so on. Because going forward quite a few years from now, they are the ones that will be filling the seats."
Meanwhile, Kehler says there are a few reasons why she is pushing for the change. First of all, she says when she took the seat of Youth Member, she agreed to shine a light on her generation, and this is one way to fulfill that agreement. Further to that, Kehler says her age group is largely unfamiliar with what a Reeve is.
"From who I've talked to, it's kind of a blank stare when it comes to the name Reeve," admits Kehler. "But when I mention the word, Mayor, they totally understand what I'm talking about."
And finally, Kehler says she has done some research in surrounding municipalities and it would appear some other jurisdictions have already made that change.
Kehler has put out a survey to try and gauge public opinion. She expects the survey to be live for about two weeks. Click here to fill out the survey.