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Councillor Corner - Ward 1, Carla Devlin

Posted: August 30, 2021

Councillor Corner
Ward 1 - Carla Devlin

Greetings and happy summer to everyone!

The season is in full swing and I hope everyone is enjoying the amazing weather that we’ve been having. We are so fortunate to live in the beautiful community of East St. Paul. I hope you take the time to enjoy some of our natural surroundings. From our beautiful parks, walking paths and ponds, there is certainly a lot to take in.

Speaking of ponds, did you know that the RM has a Ponds Committee? Established in 2020 by council resolution, the committee has been working collaboratively to identify and address important issues relating to pond health.

The committee is comprised of two members of council, myself and Councillor Brian Duval, two administrative staff, Jennifer Rohl, Acting CAO and Kurtis Johnson, Assistant Operations Manager and two community members at large; Toni Morris-Oswald and Michael Swistun.

Meet Toni Morris-Oswald:

Toni has been a resident of East St. Paul for 20 years and has a PhD in Environmental Management with a focus on vulnerability to flooding. She also did post-doctoral research on the process of designating Manitoba communities as "age friendly".

Recently retired from Manitoba Health, Toni has a wealth of experience and knowledge in the area of health emergency management including many climate-change related hazards (eg. heat, flood, extreme weather).

"I joined the municipal ponds committee because our family’s decision to move here was based on the exceptional environmental and other community assets that contribute to a great quality of life in East St Paul,” said Morris-Oswald.

"It is also something we need to cherish and nurture. Over time, my family has seen a slow deterioration in the water quality within our pond systems. I believe that more community engagement and careful water management can help ensure we maintain and even enhance these special assets, and I am enthusiastic about lending my support to these efforts.”

Meet Michael Swistun:

Michael is a long-time resident of East St. Paul. In fact, his family name is synonymous with the Swistun Family Heritage Park, formerly known as Silver Springs Park, so it only stands to reason that he would have a vested interest in ensuring that the RM brings the best possible practices, products, and methods to the ponds.

The Silver Fox development is a close-knit community, and anyone that has a piece a land adjacent to the pond most likely has an interest in preserving it.

"It’s a shame that the water quality isn’t what it used to be”, said Swistun.

"We need to take some pride as a community and make sure that when people come to visit our parks we make the effort so that they can see them in their best shape.”

"What we’re seeing in our ponds is not unique to us, many ponds are in the same situation, so my goal is to try and seek out whether there’s a product to treat the water biologically to get rid of some of the organic muck laying on the bottom of the ponds and researching to find the right product.

"The Swistun family has always been working to build a better community, and maintaining the beauty of East St. Paul’s natural surroundings … it’s a legacy that I want to protect.”

The Ponds Committee’s goal is to create environmental awareness by stressing the importance of creating and maintaining healthy ponds, not only for the here-and-now, but for the future.

As Councillor for Ward 1 and as the Chairperson for the RM’s Ponds Committee, I am committed to taking action and developing a deeper understanding of environmental issues in order to have the skills to make informed and responsible decisions.

I welcome your thoughts!  Please provide comments or suggestions for improving our ponds to carla.devlin@eaststpaul.com.


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