Originally published in the Medicine Hat News
The Town of Redcliff has a new mayor.
Longtime councillor Dwight Kilpatrick defeated incumbent Ernie Reimer in Monday’s municipal election.
Kilpatrick received 591 votes, or 54.2 per cent, to Reimer’s 499 votes, or 45.8 per cent. Turnout was 1,095.
“I’m humbled and grateful for the people who voted for me,” said Kilpatrick. “Next Monday, when we’re sworn in, we start to work.”
He cited infrastructure and sanitation as his two main priorities as mayor.
“We’re all talking economic growth because that’s a wonderful thing to talk about, but when you can’t grow because you’ve reached a limit, you have to fix that limit,” Kilpatrick said.
“That sanitary hurdle is a big one … Even once we figure out a plan going forward, it’s still going to be a matter of how we pay for it. There’s no cheap fix, no matter what.
“I know administration has it on their priority list too, because council as a whole has put it on their priorities, but every day there’s always new things that arise,” he added. “My goal will be hopefully to try to slow the little things down and get some of the big things geared up and running.”
Kilpatrick said he also wants to make progress on collaborations with the City of Medicine Hat.
“That hasn’t even started, so that’s going to be one of the issues in the next four years,” he said.
A bittersweet defeat
Reimer said he’s proud of his accomplishments as mayor but fears they will be rolled back by his successor.
“We had a lot of good things happening for our town and we had some really inspiring initiatives going forward for the next four years,” he said.
“Now I don’t know what’s going to happen with those initiatives with the new mayor, but it doesn’t look good to me, from what I understand from this individual.
“It’s anybody’s guess what’s going to happen. Are we going to go backwards now? Because I was a forward-thinking mayor all these years.”
Reimer called Kilpatrick an “obstructionist” based on his experience working with him on town council.
Reimer cited bringing a doctor and chiropractor to town, as well as the building of a water treatment plant as some of his major accomplishments in his single term as mayor.
He said he’s finished with politics but encouraged young people to get politically engaged.
“I would advise them to get involved, to find out what’s going on in the town,” said Reimer. “Get out and vote. Read the council minutes on the internet.
“We need some younger people on town council as well. A mixture is always good to have some new ideas from younger people and to make things happen for the town.”
He said he plans to focus more on his sharpening business that he runs out of his backyard now that he has more free time.
“It will probably be a bit more relaxing,” Reimer said.
With six candidates vying for seven seats on Redcliff town council, all but one will be sworn in next Monday.
Incumbents Cathy Crozier, Eric Solberg, Larry Leipert and Jim Steinke will be returning.
They will be joined by newcomers Chris Czember and Shawna Cockle.
The final results were:
— Eric Solberg (773)
— Chris Czember (721)
— Jim Steinke (703)
— Larry Leipert (668)
— Cathy Crozier (648)
— Shawna Cockle (643)
— JD Gaetan (389)