by Phil Ambroziak

Merlin Seymour wants to stop acting as Meadow Lake’s mayor and take on the role in more of an official capacity.

Earlier this month Seymour filed his nomination papers for the upcoming by-election to determine who will lead city council. Currently, the only other candidate to come forward is former town administrator Richard Levesque, but nominations remain open until 4 p.m. Aug. 14. Seymour has served as acting mayor since former mayor Gary Vidal stepped down earlier this year.

“The biggest thing that led to me making this decision is the council we have right now,” Seymour explained. “They are very supportive and said, if there is ever anything I could not attend as mayor, they would all step up and give a hand. We just have a really good council right now.”

Nevertheless, Seymour did say his tenure as acting mayor has proven to be busy at times.

“Sometimes there isn’t a lot going on, but I have been attending different functions and trying to work out as many things as I can with my work schedule,” he said. “Sometimes it’s a little tough, but we make it work.”

Co-owner of Kelly Graphics alongside his wife, Barb, Seymour has served as a municipal councillor including a stint as deputy-mayor for the past six years. In that time, he said, council has been involved in a number of projects and reached a number of decisions to help improve the community. Looking forward, he added, first and foremost on the list of priorities will be the establishment of a new long-term care facility in the community.

“One of the biggest things is the new lodge which was announced by the province this spring,” he noted. “I have actually been on the steering committee for that since day one and I would like to follow that one through. That was another reasons as to how I came to my decision to run for mayor. There’s going to a challenge with the enriched housing and we recently had some talks about that in terms of where we’re going to go, what’s going to happen and who can do something like that.”

As for other major projects, Seymour said there are some water and sewer infrastructure problems the city is working to rectify.

“You’ll notice the paving crew is in town doing all its pre-work and they’re doing a really good job from what I can see,” he stated. “They’re putting in some weeping tile along the edges and giving her a could packing.”

Seymour also addressed the future of the grandstand at the Meadow Lake Stampede grounds.

“I know that’s something we’re not going to do just by itself, but we have had some discussion about a multi-use facility and getting all the user groups together, he said. “It’s a huge task. It’s not a $500,000 project, it’s in the millions. Once we get things going and get over the summer, we’ll start digging into it a little bit deeper to see where it can go.”

The by-election is scheduled for Sept. 16 and in addition to Seymour and Levesque seeking the mayoral position, ratepayers will also elect a new municipal councillor in the wake of councillor Kim Chiverton’s resignation which takes effect Aug. 31. As of this week’s news deadline three candidates have come forward – Ron Dishko who works as a manager at the Meadow Lake Co-op, Richard Watson who is a technician at Eagle Creek GM and Anthony Vandenberg, owner of Woodland Inn.

“If more people want to put their names forward and are confident they can fill a position, the more the merrier,” Seymour said. “With Richard Levesque running for mayor as well, it’s going to be up to the people to decide.”

Seymour also said he would like to see as many eligible voters as possible come out on election day.

“If you have an opinion of what should be going on or what you would like to see in the community, come out and exercise your right to vote,” he said.

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