Veteran City council pair say goodbye

Two long time councillors said goodbye as City council wrapped up its last regular meeting before next week’s election.

Tears were flowing from their colleagues as Councillors Larry Pimm and Lorna Watkinson-Zimmer concluded their last meetings.

Both councillors gave small speeches at the end of the meeting, which also marked the last meeting for the current council as a whole.

Pimm, who served 27 years on City council, said he ended his last meeting with a satisfied feeling.

“I’ve worked with 30 different councillors, three different mayors, three different City managers – it’s been a tremendous experience,” he said. “The community has achieved a tremendous amount and I’m very, very proud of it.”

Pimm added he is looking forward to starting the next stage of his life.

“I don’t think I’m going to miss a meeting,” he said. “I’m looking forward to moving on. I’m not retiring, I’m refocusing.”

Some of the highlights for Pimm over almost three decades of work include the construction of the Centrium, the Arts Centre, the Dawe Centre, the Waskasoo Park – which he added was the best thing the City did for the public.

He added he thinks the City of Red Deer has a bright future ahead.

“We’ve slowed down development to catch our breath. We’re going to continue to grow – sometimes fast, sometimes slow. Our facilities are reasonably well maintained,” said Pimm. “Some people worry about debt, but I compare it to 1983 after the great surge in building and the fast economy. We lived through that quite comfortably; nobody had to live in a cave.

“I think we’ve got candidates running around saying the sky is falling – they’re just chicken little.”

For 15-year veteran Watkinson-Zimmer, she knew she would be retiring from City council after the last election.

“When we picked up the signs from the last election my husband asked where we were putting them and I said they’re going to the landfill,” she said. “I told him I wasn’t doing this again.”

Watkinson-Zimmer added she did not intend to run in the 2007 election but was persuaded otherwise.

“I feel really good about my decision this time around,” she said.

Watkinson-Zimmer said after a short break, she anticipates she’ll sit on some City committees.

“But for right now, I just want to be left alone until January, February, maybe March,” she said.

Meanwhile, Mayor Morris Flewwelling thanked council at the end of last week’s meeting claiming they were the most effective council he’s worked with.

A new council will be elected Oct. 18.

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