Veteran City Council member Ryan Plewis is looking for a return to council this fall in order to help keep the city on the right path and continue to make decisions which are in the best interest of city residents.
Plewis is seeking a fourth term on City Council after being the top vote getter during the 2016 election after garnering second place votes in both the 2012 and his debut campaign in 2009.
“I still enjoy being on Council. I enjoy the diverse number of issues that you deal with on council, the partnerships that we have, the team members that we have being the other councillors and administration. And I’m a person who likes to work, and a person who likes to move the needle on things, and I think City Council is one of those areas where if you genuinely want the best thing for your community and you want your community to move forward, city council is probably the ideal place to be involved to be a forward minded community member.”
Five of the current six city council members are seeking re-election, but Plewis notes that there will still be a different feel to the mandate given to the next elected council.
“Every council that you become a part of, every term is a new council, whether it’s the same people or different people. One of the great things about the councils I’ve been a part of is that I’ve never felt like there’s never been anybody there that wants to be there just to cause a problem or have an axe to grind. I think that everybody that I’ve served with on council has legitimately been there for the right reasons, just wanted the best for the community.
Plewis reflected on both the last four years and entire 11 years serving on council, and said his favourite memories are not necessarily the obvious community highlights.
“The highlights for me are just the times when I really feel that the community spirit has really risen. Some of those examples for me are when we experienced flooding a couple of times and we saw a huge outpouring of volunteer hours of people filling sandbags and doing what they could to help protect their neighbours properties. Obviously the major events that we had over the last little while and the massive volunteer effort that went into those things, that’s a really great example of community spirit that I find to be a very rewarding experience as a council.”
“For me it’s not so much about projects or checking boxes for accomplishments, its at a bit of a higher level than that. It’s when you go to Market Square and you see everybody smiling and having a great time, and you see the camaraderie and the community spirit. Those are the highlights for me.”
He admittedly feels that Swift Current is on the right track because of the people the community keeps electing onto city council.
“In 11 years of being on council I can say that looking back at myself that I’m not perfect, I would never claim to be perfect. But I can claim that I’ve never been at it for reasons other than wanting the best thing for the community.”
“The city is always on the right direction if we have people elected who reflect the desires of the broader community. And I think that we’ve been on a fairly clear path the last 11 years of pro growth. And I hope that doesn’t change. For me that’s one of the things that I enjoy seeing. I enjoy new businesses cropping up in the community. I enjoy seeing newcomers joining our community. I enjoy seeing Swift Current put on a national stage. So while I hope we don’t necessarily have four major events in one year again, those kinds of things are reasons that I think that we can point to say that yeah, Swift Current is on the right path.”
In today’s COVID-19 environment, the next city council will face some unique challenges.
“Challenges for us coming up over the next four years are obviously going to be dealing with a post COVID economy. When we look at our relationships with the different levels of government, they are going to be increasingly important because I think that the projects that we see coming as a city are projects that we are going to need grant funding for, we’re going to need participation or partnerships from the different levels of government to accomplish.”
“Swift Current isn’t different than any other community in that we have a massive infrastructure need and we have a finite amount of resources to accomplish that. So for me the relationships with other governments, whether they be federal/provincial or even the other municipalities in the Southwest, that’s going to be key to accomplishing what we need to accomplish in the next while.”
“Other challenges in the immediate term is just going to be getting to work right away with the next group of seven, building a strong team, trying to get a good understanding of what makes everybody tick. Understanding what the expectations are of one another and what our responsibilities are as councillors. And just getting going as soon as we can because there’s a long list of things that we’re going to need to accomplish in the next four years, and I think the sooner we can get off the ground the better.”
Plewis said he would be remiss if he did not recognize the contributions of George Bowditch, the lone incumbent councillor who did not seek re-election in 2020. Plewis and Bowditch were both elected to council for the first time during the 2009 municipal election campaign.
“I learned a lot about George when I was first elected. You learn a lot from those around you, whether or not they’re experienced either, and just to see how they approach issues. George is somebody who I think always had a calming influence on me and this effected my role as a councillor, showing me that maybe sometimes I could do a better job of listening, or taking a bit more time to process a decision before acting on it.”
“I just want to recognize George and the time that he put into City Council. George is a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve. George is a guy who you could never question his commitment to wanting to make the community a better place and I wish him all the best in his retirement.”