It’s been six years since Niverville resident Nathan Dueck was first elected to a seat on town council. On October 26, Dueck hopes voters will show the same faith in him as he prepares to run for another four-year term.
Dueck’s career on council began in 2016 after a by-election was called to fill a vacant seat that was created when John Falk left council to run for the Manitoba Liberals in the provincial election.
Dueck ran against incumbent Falk and newcomer Louise Billows.
In 2018, the mayor and councillors, including Dueck, won their positions by acclamation since no new challengers ran for council that year.
Dueck says that his main reason for running in this election is the same as it was when he first began: to give back to his community.
“For me, it’s always an extremely easy decision to get involved in anything that is a passion of mine, whether it’s volunteering in the community or being a part of something bigger,” says Dueck. “Sometimes it takes a toll on your personal life, but it’s something that’s an incredible experience and an incredible journey.”
Running for the position of mayor crossed his mind this time around, but that role comes with time commitments beyond that of a councillor. As a father with young daughters and a long-term career to manage, the timing wasn’t right just yet.
Even as councillor, though, Dueck says that he hasn’t shied away from giving of his time beyond the typical 20 hours per month invested in council duties.
Over his six-year tenure, Dueck has acted as director on a number of local boards, including the Niverville Community Development Corporation, the Niverville Business Park Inc. and the Niverville Recreation Committee. He’s sat as president for Niverville Healthcare Services Inc. and is an active member of the Healthcare Task Force.
He’s also the town’s communications liaison, website and marketing spokesperson, and an active advocate of the tree-planting initiative sponsored by Niverville Communities in Bloom and TC Energy.
If re-elected, Dueck has his sights firmly set on a number of initiatives that will be of key importance to the community in the coming year. The first of these will be to relocate the Niverville firefighters and first responders to a larger facility.
“I will be their biggest advocate in terms of getting them a new home, because they deserve it and our community deserves it,” Dueck says of an intended move from their existing cramped quarters.
As well, Dueck says much work is needed to prepare the community for its rapid progress towards becoming Manitoba’s next city.
“We will be needing a lot of infrastructure, a lot of money, and a lot of grants to get us to where we need to go.”
Taking a look at what’s happened in Niverville over his six years in office has been humbling and rewarding for this councillor. He feels especially moved by the number of times council has been gifted with surprises such as Chamber of Commerce announcements of new businesses coming to town or government grants that expedited projects which would have otherwise taken much longer to see through to completion.
“Those are the rewards,” he says, “when you’ve made financially constrained decisions that you can’t go ahead with but then something turns around that gives us the ability to do them.”
For Dueck and the rest of council, Niverville’s population explosion has meant facing some hard decisions in terms of saving the community’s faltering healthcare services and adding policing services. But, easy or difficult, Dueck says that he is glad to have been a part of it.
“Policing was a big issue,” he says. “Personally, I’m really glad that we went with RCMP, because when you’re dealing with another level of municipal responsibility in terms of a private police force, it’s too much for any one person on council to have that kind of responsibility.”
All in all, though, he says the current council has worked together like a team.
As to the question of whether council should be more diverse, Dueck believes it has more to do with a councillor’s approach to diversity than their own race, skin colour, or gender.
“The job as a representative for an entire community should not be biased to one specific group or one specific idea,” Dueck says. “It should be about what’s best for the common good of the community, which is to be an inclusive and diverse community. I think it’s fair to say that we are already a diverse community and anybody that sits on council is a representative of a diverse community.”
At the end of the day, Dueck reminds anyone interested in running for council to have an attitude of servitude and a realization that it can put extra demands on one’s career, family life, and social life.
“You go into politics thinking you’re going to change one or two things and make a difference in this world,” Dueck says. “It’s not about your own personal agenda or your neighbour’s agenda. It’s about what’s best for the community. It’s something you truly have to be passionate about and willing to give up almost everything in your life to effectively do.”
Brenda Sawatzky, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Niverville Citizen