Municipal Election 2021: Ward 7 – Enilda/Big Meadow

Donald Bissell

I want to try get the County to stop wasting money, but I haven’t had much luck so far.

Cathy Hewko

Hi! My name is Cathy Hewko.

I am excited to be seeking the position of councillor for Ward 7 [Enilda/Big Meadow] in Big Lakes County.

I was born and raised in Big Lakes County, and currently live in Big Meadow.

I have extensive experience in the political field. I previously served as councillor for Ward 7 from 1998-2001. I worked as Pearl Calahasen’s office assistant for three years. I also worked for the High Prairie and District Chamber of Commerce. I spent several years being involved in community events, such as the trade shows, and the Golden Walleye Classic.

I was manager for Uncle Nicky’s for 10 years as well. I am currently sitting as a member at large on the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board.

I am presently employed at H&S Dollar Store as an assistant manager,  and I feel I have the time and dedication to be able to fully represent the people of Ward 7.

I am prepared to represent Ward 7 and the entire county to the best of my ability.

Brandi Matula

Hello everyone! I would like to take this opportunity to further introduce myself to you. My name is Brandi Matula and I am running in the mnicipal election to be councillor for Big Lakes County Ward 7- Enilda/Big Meadow.

I was born and raised on the outskirts of St. Catharines, the heart of the Niagara Region, in southern Ontario. As the daughter of an entrepreneur, and the youngest of five, I learned strong work ethic from a young age. Your endorsement would provide me with the privilege and opportunity to demonstrate this as your representative for Big Lakes County.

In order to stay up-to-date on knowledge, local issues and current standards, I actively take part in continuing education opportunities and will continue to do so as councillor in order to ensure I do the best job possible.

M post-secondary education began in International Business as economics was an interest of mine since childhood. However, it later changed course as a family member of mine received a devastating medical diagnosis which piqued my interest in healthcare and I went on to complete my Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing.

When I turned 25, my career brought me here, to Big Lakes County, where my heart has kept me since. I am now the proud member of a wonderful farm family here in Big Meadow, where my husband and I love living and raising our son.

With that being said, I am also extremely passionate about protecting our local agriculture industry and the many families in our community whose livelihoods rely on it.  Over the last seven years, I have had the opportunity to work under a healthcare umbrella within the education sector. This has since made education another passion of mine and although I have been honoured to support the health and education of the growing families of our community, I believe that I can do great things in these areas while working on a larger platform.

I have sat on many boards and volunteered much of my time to supporting and improving our community and the opportunities available to its members and believe I would be a valuable asset as a Big Lakes County council member.

Big Lakes County is a vast and beautiful municipality, and I am dedicated to ensuring the longevity of its infrastructures, natural resources, waterways and the industries that serve it, through informed and careful planning.

The future of our municipality is dependent on the voices that represent it. I hold myself to the highest of standards in regards to acting with the utmost integrity and would like to be your voice for Ward 7- Enilda/Big Meadow- Big Lakes County.

I look forward to hearing from you and strongly encourage everyone to vote for our municipal election this month.

Election Day is Monday, Oct. 18, 2021 at the Enilda W.I. Community Hall. The polling station will be open from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Theresa Morris

We came from Innisfail to be residents in Big Lakes County exactly five years ago this week and while my reason for moving here no longer exists, my partner and I decided to stay. We love the community environment and living in an area where people still seem to care for each other.

In 2018, we decided to give back to the community by hosting a Christmas Day Dinner for anyone that had no place to go or for those that simply wanted companionship. We continue to do these dinners [pending COVID restrictions] and hope to do so for many more years.

We actively try to find ways to help the community. Whether it be baking cookies for an elder’s dinner at the Friendship Centre, putting together care packages for people at the lodge, or donating to local charities like the food bank and the County Christmas Angels, we feel compelled to participate and have immersed ourselves in the community.

One of our current commitments is to the Enilda and District Society for Recreation and Culture. I serve as a board member and participate in the Farmer’s Market as a vendor.

When I started on this journey, I had three goals; to give voters an option, to get people out to vote [engage in the process], and to ensure that all residents of Big Lakes County have a voice. I am not a proponent of platforms because all too often they are used to win an election and then fall by the wayside. I prefer to talk in terms of objectives, based on my own experiences and those of people I have talked with. My objectives include:

* No increase in taxes and no decrease in services, county-wide. You cannot keep taking away services in one area to support the development of services in another. The bottom line is to be more accountable with other people’s money;

* “We’ve done it this way for 40 years.” Statements like this don’t allow for critical thinking, growth and reducing bureaucracy. Sometimes we need to think differently;

* Better ways to communicate with the residents/ratepayers. They shouldn’t have to hear of changes only through the local media, Facebook or Twitter. How about expanding the FCSS newsletters to contain county-wide information that can be emailed to interested parties? How about improving the County website by providing explicit information so that you can find what you’re looking for? People working in counties tend to forget that not everyone knows the requirements of doing things. We need to teach people and not just give information from a script;

* Council attendance at conferences – I have always been concerned with how many staff and council attend conferences. Is there really a need for all nine councillors to attend a conference on the other side of the country at the expense of ratepayers? Aren’t the councillor retreats an ideal time for those that did go to a conference to share the information they learned?

* Rural Internet and cell coverage – It’s been said time and time again. We need better Internet and cell coverage here. Not just for streaming movies but for emergency and business purposes. The county needs to get it done or make it easier for someone else to get it done;

* Road maintenance – The county will never please everyone with regards to road maintenance. As ratepayers, we cannot expect the grader to come down every road every day. We need to be as realistic in our expectations as the county needs to be in providing service. I would like to see some service level objectives developed that provide ratepayers and county staff with measurable result;

* Rural crime watch – with increasing criminal activity it would be nice to see the County initiate a crime watch program in conjunction with the RCMP. Neighbours helping neighbours;

* Economic development – it would be nice to see more support for businesses within the county. Perhaps the creation of a county version of a chamber of commerce with a regional, forward-thinking approach to business and supporting them;

* Regional solutions – we need more partnerships with other adjacent municipalities to share services.

I think I have a unique skillset to bring to the council chambers. I have served this province and two municipalities for the better part of 35 years. I worked inside the walls of the provincial government [Forestry] for nearly 20 years and spent the next 15 years inside the walls of two municipalities.

My experience has taken me from the loneliness of a fire tower to the depths of the City of Calgary and many points in-between. I have lived in rural municipalities for 22 of these years and understand the challenges and dynamics of them.

I understand the premise that being born and raised here creates an ideal candidate, but I think having someone with experiences from other areas can be just as valuable, a different perspective if you will.

Please keep in mind, one councillor does not a decision make but if you want someone to tell it like it is, even if it’s not the answer you want, please vote for me in Ward 7: Enilda/Big Meadow.

Other candidate for Ward 7: Lane Monteith. His profile will be posted if received.

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