Election battle brews in RM of Corman Park
It looks like the divisive issue in the Corman Park election is just that: whether the rural municipality should split in two.
Incumbent Reeve Mel Henry is pushing for the split, saying the east side of the river isn't interested in cooperating with the west side.
“They have their own agenda and then have an agenda that the RM can’t afford,” said Henry.
Judy Harwood is hoping to return to the Corman Park council. For six years in the 90s, Harwood served as Division 3 councillor.
“I believe Corman Park can be strong again. We can be strong as one RM. I believe there are some efficiencies in being one RM around the largest city in our province and one of the fastest growing places in our country,” said Harwood, a Division 4 resident of 22 years.
A new leader is needed for the RM, said Harwood.
“I’ve been watching what’s happened in Corman Park over the two years and I really have been saddened by the state that certainly the council has gotten to,” said.
Harwood is referring to a east-versus-west of the river mentality. Corman Park has made a motion to the Saskatchewan's Ministry of Government Relations to split into two distinct municipalities which is still under consideration.
In December 2011, the number of councilors for the entire rural municipality was reduced from 11 to eight. Many west-side residents argued that the change meant they were losing three of their representatives.
The RM of Corman Park council also commissioned a consultant to investigate complaints against Henry. The consultant found that although Henry is “abrupt” and “impulsive”, his behavior at a March council meeting was “understandable” considering the dysfunction among council.
Henry said Harwood’s issue with his leadership is just smoke and mirrors. He says throughout all the turmoil in council, he’s pulled the RM through two years of flooding and the roads are in good shape. He says the amendments made to the Official Community Plan will foster development as the number of subdivisions per quarter acre will increase from two to four.
The third person in the mix is the former manager of the Benjamin Moore warehouse, Malcolm Chalmers. He currently looks after his acreage in Furdale.
The RM of Corman Park does not need to be split, he believes. Corman Park ratepayers just saw a 20 per cent tax hike, something Chalmers does not agree with.
“I think the people are over taxed and this latest tax increase should be fully repealed,” he said
Chalmers was born Saskatoon and lived in Corman Park for 14 years.
Originally from southern Ontario, Harwood moved to Saskatchewan 33 years ago and raised her family in Saskatoon. She now lives on 80 acres in the RM.
“I love the West. I tease people and say, ‘I have my papers.’ I absolutely adore the West. I’ve raised my children here. They’ve grown up in Saskatoon,” she said, adding she has two children and six grandchildren.
For more than a decade, she has been the co-chair of the Saskatoon District Planning Commission. She is board member of the Tourism Sector for Enterprise Saskatchewan, served on the board of SaskTel, the Saskatchewan Transportation Corporation, Saskatoon Prairieland Exhibition Corporation, Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce and Ronald McDonald House. She was president of the North Saskatoon Business Association.
Mel Henry is a retired rancher and trucker who has lived in Saskatchewan his entire life. The 66-year-old Reeve has kids in their 40s.