There wasn’t an empty seat in the room as people gathered in Henry Baker Hall to watch Regina’s new city council be sworn in Monday night.
Regina city council’s swearing in ceremony opened in song by the Charging Bear drum group and with remarks by Lieutenant Governor Vaughn Solomon Schofield.
After the incumbent Mayor Michael Fougere, six seasoned and four fresh councillors were then sworn in by Justice Darin Chow.
Mayor Fougere said he’s looking forward to what the next four years will bring and said the new council is getting along well.
“We’re getting to know each other,” explained Fougere. “We have many councillors who have returned, who know each other very well — the new councillors are keen, have great ideas and lots of energy. From what I can see, right now, we have a great team.”
Ward 3 Councillor Andrew Stevens is new to council. Stevens said he started going door-to-door the day after he was elected, asking those in his ward which issues are top of mind.
“Everything from sidewalks to road repair — people are also actually very interested and engaged with the idea around ending homelessness and affordable housing,” said Stevens. “It’s been an exciting time because I think there’s really an appetite in this city to talk about new issues.”
Also fresh to council, Ward 4 Councillor Lori Bresciani said one of her biggest priorities is unpacking the upcoming budget.
“As a new council member, I’m going to be asking a lot of questions to find out exactly where our tax dollars are going and to really look at the basics of the budget,” said Bresciani.
Alongside Bresciani as a new councillor is Jason Mancinelli, who was elected in Ward 9 — the ward of long-time council member Terry Hincks, who died just before the election.
While excited for the next four years, Mancinelli admits he has some big shoes to fill.
“The (Hincks) name has been around Regina forever, and it’s very recognizable — much more than Mancinelli, of course,” said Mancinelli. “(Filling Hincks’ shoes) is something to step through and walk through, but I’ve always been up for a job, so I’ll take it on.”
Mancinelli said he believes council is already starting to gel.
“There are members that have been around for awhile and they’ve been very forthcoming with information,” said Mancinelli. “I think everyone is looking for a lot of cooperation and, having said that, people are also looking for a bit of diversity too.”
Also coming into a prominent ward is Ward 6 Councillor Joel Murray, who is taking over the position from his father, long-time councillor Wade Murray.
Murray said sitting in his father’s old seat made the night special.
“I saw my father, he (was sworn in) years ago,” remembered Murray. “Now, looking back in the audience and seeing him in the back — it’s an emotional moment.”
After the gallery cleared and the orchestra packed up, Mayor Fougere said, going forward, it’s all about business.
According to Fougere, a briefing meeting is planned before the next council meeting at the end of the month, to get the new councillors up to speed on all the group has accomplished in the last four years.
Fougere said council’s priorities in the coming year mirror his election platform.
“I want to see an investment in infrastructure…safer communities, I want to look at our First Nations and the truth and reconciliation commission…ending homelessness and dealing with our partners to get there,” listed Fougere. “There are a number of things that I want to achieve and I think that’s common with most of council.”
The 2016-2020 city council will gather again at city hall for their first full-length council meeting on Nov. 28.