Two-way race for mayor in West St. Paul sees incumbent, councillor face off

In the Rural Municipality of West St. Paul two familiar faces are vying to become mayor.

Incumbent Bruce Henley is up against Coun. Cheryl Christian. 

If elected, this would be Henley’s third term in the mayor’s seat. 

He said over the last eight years he’s seen tremendous growth and development in the RM.

“The province and the federal government have invested over $25 million in our community,” said Henley. “We have private business that’s investing in our community. We’ve got currently almost $200 million worth of investments going on in West St. Paul,” said Henley.

Henley, a father to three boys, was first elected in 2002 as councillor, and then as mayor in 2010. 

He said after raising a family of his own in the area, he’s happy to see so many new families moving into the community. 

Henley has sat as a representative for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and currently sits as a director for the Association of Manitoba Municipalities. 

While out campaigning, Henley said school taxes have been the biggest concern he’s heard. He said in January the province will begin a review into the education system, including the current tax system.

“I plan on being a very loud and clear voice on behalf of the residents of West St. Paul to make sure that our position is heard,” he said.

Cheryl Christian was first elected councillor in 2014. Christian has lived in West St. Paul her whole life, and has been involved with a number of community boards over the last 20 years. 

For her, a big focus is on transparency, and the operation of council. 

“I have had concerns about making sure we have open and fair decision making in our municipality, and I want to see well managed development and growth for our future,” said Christian. 

She said development agreements only needed approval by the mayor and CAO, and left the rest of council out. 

Henley said that matter was brought forward to the ombudsman, who said the RM did nothing wrong. According to the ombudsman’s report, a resolution was made stating going forward all of council will be included in those discussions. 

Last year Christian, a mother of five, brought up an anti-harassment and anti-bullying resolution, which eventually went forward to the AMM, where it received overwhelming support. Work to curb harassment and bullying is something Christian said she’d like to continue if elected mayor. 

“We are not covered under workplace health and safety, and it was important for me and for others to make sure that men and women who have chosen to participate in public service in their community are protected,” said Christian. 

Advance voting will take place at the Municipal Fire Hall at 3550 Main St.. On Oct. 18 and 19, polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Advance polls will also be open Oct. 20 and 21 from 12 to 6 p.m. 

Election Day is Oct. 24.