Members of Red Deer City council were officially sworn in during a ceremony at City Hall Monday evening.
Councillors Buck Buchanan, Tanya Handley, Paul Harris, Ken Johnston, Lawrence Lee, Lynne Mulder, Frank Wong and Dianne Wyntjes as well as Mayor Tara Veer took the Oath of Office making their elected positions official.
Council Chambers were packed with family and friends, as well as City staff as the ceremony took place.
Monday’s event also marked the first time the City has used an honour guard during a swearing in ceremony.
“The City of Red Deer, a number of years ago, created its own honour guard and they have been very proud to attend a number of events and to bring up the level of ceremony at different events,” said Frieda McDougall, City clerk. “The last election we realized we had missed an opportunity and so this election we wanted to make sure we didn’t miss that again. We really feel that it brought a different level to the ceremony.”
She added each swearing in ceremony is important because it makes history.
“Each council that comes in has their own priorities, their own agenda and they have a different perspective of what they are hearing their council say. Every time they come and take an Oath of Office, they take it very seriously knowing that their community has elected them and it’s a very heavy responsibility that they are weighing in on. Truly the next four years are the history for this council.”
City Manager Craig Curtis said there is much work to be done by this council in the next four years.
“There is obviously continuing business. We have laid out a program with the new strategic direction and that continues to the new council obviously with some modifications. There is a lot of work to be done and there are a lot of exciting things to be done on the horizon for example the Riverlands being one, the new river bridge being another and then preparing for the 2019 games bid,” he said. “All of that work will be something that the new council will begin to tackle as early as next week. At the moment we’re in orientation sessions, it looks like we have a very strong council and I look forward to working with them and I think it will give us all renewed vigor and excitement.”
Curtis added there are some challenges to working with a new council.
“Obviously the challenges are the orientation where we have to bring everyone up to the same level of understanding of the plans that are in place. There is a huge amount of documentation and procedures to be learned,” he said. “We also have the challenge of moving straight into a capital budget within the next few weeks and then into the operating budget as early as January so it’s a very steep learning curve for the new councillors.
“Of course being a blended council of incumbents and new councillors it means that there are at least a number that know the ropes.”