Pat Friesen would like to see work continue on moving the city forward as she seeks a third term on Swift Current City Council.
Friesen was first elected in 2012 and says there is a balanced perspective to spending, taxes and debt while making the necessary decisions to benefit the community.
“We have to move the city forward. There are infrastructure projects and different things that need to be done, and we want to continue to improve and make our city better. But at the same time we have to balance all that with our spending, our debt, taxes, etc. So there’s a balancing act and that’s a very important role for City Council to look at all that as one, keep the spending in mind as we’re looking at new projects for the next year. So we always have to keep that balance in mind.”
Friesen said her initial two terms on council have been rewarding ones.
“I have really thoroughly enjoyed the last eight years being a City Councillor for Swift Current, and working with the people and for the people on all the different projects and events has been a real honour for me.”
Admittedly, it was not that hard of a decision to run for a third time in municipal politics.
“If you enjoy something it makes it easier. So I was actually quite happy to be able to run again.”
This election boasts a different series of challenges in the midst of a pandemic, compared to the boom years the city enjoyed when she was first elected.
“That’s one of the things the new City Council is going to have to be aware of. People are certainly anxious about their health and how things are going to turn out into the future. The next City Council is really going to have to be planning carefully for the effects that this pandemic is going to have on our community and our economy. We really don’t know at this point how long it’s going to last. We don’t know some of the impacts. So the Council is going to have to be aware of that and monitor as we go.”
She said one of her focal areas is to continue to further developing regional partnerships, something which has become more common in recent years.
“Regional partnerships is something that I’m quite passionate about because I believe that we are better together when it comes to certain projects. A good example is the recent work that’s being done on a regional landfill, certainly a win-win if that can become a reality because then we’re all contributing to the cost of running it. We’ve only got one landfill versus maybe several around the region. So there’s lots of good things that can happen with regional cooperation. I think everyone is interested in being as efficient and effective as possible with tax dollars and in the way things are operated. So I think there’s possibly lots of other potential items that we could be looking at into the future.”
She said this regional approach may be a solution to gaining support for an integrated facility, as Swift Current can not do such a major project on their own.
“The integrated facility, I heard from many many people that they would love to see that facility in our City. And so again we need to look at partnerships, and grants possibly from federal and provincial government, and other fundraising opportunities. Maybe some sponsorships. Maybe some regional participation. There’s all kinds of things that can be looked at to reach the goal of a new facility for Swift Current. It’s not something I know we can do in a matter of a year, but I would like to see us continue to plan for that. We have our design ready, but we need to continue to work toward it.”
She would also like to see a continuation in strong two way communication with city residents and businesses.
“I think the communication process has been good. When it comes to communication you can always improve. So I think that’s something we need to keep in mind in everything we do as a City. Whether that’s putting on events, making decisions at City Hall, whatever it may be I think it’s important to be open with communication, be positive and proactive and be inclusive.”
Friesen points to her extensive work on boards and committees as examples of how she strives to improve the city and the province. She is currently the Chair of the Board of CAA Saskatchewan, and is a Past Chair of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce and former Board Members of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
“I will always be an enthusiastic supporter of the City of Swift Current and its residents,” Friesen stated. “I will draw on that passion and my leadership experience to help make this city a better place to live, work, play and do business.”