Residents of Ritchot woke up Thursday morning with a new look council.
That is because 40 per cent of council was defeated in Wednesday's election. In Ward Two, Jason Bodnarchuk defeated Ron Mamchuk, while in Ward Three, Joel Lemoine ousted Curtis Claydon. Back for another term are three incumbents who were all acclaimed, including Mayor Chris Ewen, Ward One Councillor Shane Pelletier and Ward Four Councillor Janine Boulanger.
Ewen says in Ward Two, he could sense for the last year that residents of St. Adolphe were seeking change.
"There was some that wanted to see the change and they were the ones that got the vote, they were the ones that came out," notes Ewen. "Democracy always wins."
In Ward Three, which is the Ste. Agathe area, Ewen says it was a tough campaign with both candidates putting in a great effort. Ewen says he had a chance to speak with Claydon after the results became official Wednesday evening. Ewen says Claydon told him that he can walk around his community today and see all of the changes and improvements he was a part of.
"That says so much and it's so true to any councillor, for Ron and for Curtis and all the councillors that may have not won last night throughout all of Manitoba," explains Ewen. "Just remember when you are in your community and you see something that you feel you had a role in and you did what you wanted to do, just remember that you didn't lose, you won with the four years or the eight years or however many terms you were on, you won by doing what you wanted to do for your community."
With the new council in place, Ewen says they will probably get sworn in sometime over the next few days or week. The new councillors will then learn the "lay of the land" and be brought up to speed on capital plans for infrastructure over the next number of years. The new councillors will also get a say in whether or not these projects get tweaked or stay status quo.
"They are going to notice right away that things don't move fast," stresses Ewen. "My biggest piece of advice to all new councillors and reeves and mayors out there is just be patient because great things do happen, but it's a lot slower in government than it is in any business or real-life situations. So, work hard but just be patient."
Ewen says with three incumbent members of council returning for another term, this will allow them to guide the new councillors, helping them to understand policies and procedures and how government works at the municipal, provincial and federal levels.
"Having the three of us there to help the new councillors will definitely stop that learning curve or at least mitigate it to a very minimal amount which is a huge benefit for the ratepayers and the residents of Ritchot," adds Ewen.
Meanwhile, with less than six years of experience, Ewen is now currently one of the longest-serving heads of council in the region. Ewen says he relishes that role, inviting any council members from the area to reach out to him with questions, but noting that he also looks forward to working with new members and their 'out of the box' ideas. Ewen notes he was surprised by all of the change across Manitoba on Wednesday.