The R.M. of Dufferin's new Reeve says he was excited and ready to take on the challenge of the job upon hearing he'd been elected to the post in last week's municipal election. Earning 351 votes, Cor Lodder defeated incumbent George Gray who garnered 264 votes.
"I was, first of all, humbled that the residents decided to give me an opportunity, and now I have to honour that call and work hard to provide good, positive results for the municipality and anybody else that's affected by it," said Lodder.
For years, Lodder had been pondering a run to serve on the R.M. of Dufferin council, but he never quite made the move. This past election, however, he decided to run for the ward 3 councillor position after long-time councillor, Harvie Takvam, announced he wouldn't be submitting a bid. However, somewhere along the way, Lodder changed his mind and instead, made a run for Reeve.
"As the process continued, there were two others that wished to run in Ward Three as well, so then I thought I'll step out of the way," explained Lodder. "Further to that, people kept encouraging me to consider running for Reeve to provide some fresh perspective on the development of the Municipality, in partnership with the Town (of Carman). The Town and R.M. have had a legacy of a great partnership for many years, and I just wanted to provide some opportunity to build on that."
Lodder admitted it was "a bit of a wild idea" to set his sights on the Reeve job, but says it was the feedback from residents and business people that convinced him to give it a try.
"I kept getting encouragement so I thought, I've got a lot of years in business leadership and business development so, let's at least give the people a choice," he said.
A resident and entrepreneur in the R.M. of Dufferin for 26 years, Lodder says he has long been interested in what's happening in the area and has been engaged in groups like the Carman and District Chamber of Commerce, and the effort to develop a new aquatic centre several years ago, among others.
Looking ahead to his new job as Reeve, Lodder says he has a particular interest in the area of growth and economic development.
"I think it's important for any community to encourage new development, to encourage other business - manufacturing type jobs to be attracted to the Town of Carman and the R.M. of Dufferin. Through that, we will get people that will come here to take on those jobs, preferably/hopefully skilled labour jobs, so that they, in turn, buy homes and in turn, the retail sector gains the benefits of that. As much as we appreciate the focus that has been on caring for the seniors and the elderly, that's extremely important, yet we need growth across all demographics."
In order to support this hope for growth, Lodder says there also needs to be a focus on water supply and the development of a water management policy.
"We can't attract certain types of manufacturing or processing businesses or industries unless we can give them the confidence that we have the water capacity and sewer management systems to support that," he explained. "We have to manage and program that guarantees good water supply for the entire Pembina Valley for generations to come."
Lodder plans to further explore the status of ideas like pulling water from the Assiniboine River or the proposed Treherne Dam project in order to gain a better understanding of how to move forward.
Additional priorities on Lodder's list include road management and maintenance, and drainage.