Swift Current elects new mayor; to focus on smart spending, 'healthy discussion'

·2 min read

After a two-day delay to their municipal vote, Swift Current residents chose a new mayor and four new councillors Thursday, giving two-term councillor and contractor Al Bridal a chance to sit in the mayor’s chair.

Bridal defeated incumbent Denis Perrault by 597 votes, earning 2,497 total votes.

“Denis has done lots of good things and he’s been a huge cheerleader for Swift Current, but I felt we could do things different,” Bridal said.

He believes his campaign pitch for smarter spending resonated well with voters.

“We had $85 million in debt at the end of last year, which equates to $5,000 per man, woman and child that lives in Swift Current; that concerns me,” he said. “I want to get that debt down. I want to stop spending money on what I would call questionable projects.”

He referenced a pond and a sign to be built with the city’s new subdivision Cypress Point, near its Elmwood Golf Course.

“(The cost) is around $300,000. That (money) could have been spent to fix some roads a little better, instead of making a pond for 82 lots where there's been 25 houses built.”

He wants to open City Hall for more public engagement and transparency. The mayor-elect believes a step in that process is making the content of committee meetings available to everyone, whether they’re attending in-person or reading transcripts after the fact.

Bridal hopes that leads to more “healthy discussion” so councillors and he can respectfully disagree with each other.

“Our councils, for the last few years, everyone wanted to agree on everything and there (was) no discussion. And in order to have a good government, you have to have discussion and the discussion needs to be open.”

The city’s four new councillors include Tom Christiansen, Ryan Switzer, Leanne Tuntland-Wiebe and John Wall. Incumbents Pat Friesen and Ryan Plewis retained their seats.

Last weekend's blizzard hit the city with more than 40 centimetres of snow, forcing its chief returning officer to reschedule the Nov. 9 vote to Thursday. City crews used the extra two days to clear streets of snow.

eradford@postmedia.com

Evan Radford, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Regina Leader-Post, The Leader-Post