New mayor of Wawota excited for 2023

January 10, 2023, 9:13 am
Sierra D'Souza Butts, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Kevin Kay was recently elected mayor of the Town  of Wawota by  acclamation. Kay has been an active community member in the area including his involvement with welcoming families from Ukraine to come to Wawota, and  helping with  building an assisted living facility in town.

In December after the resignation of the former mayor, Kevin Kay was announced by acclamation as the Town of Wawota’s new mayor for the remainder of the term.

“It was exciting, pretty humbling actually. I had run in the last election and had narrowly been defeated by one vote,” said Kay.

“I’m prepared for what’s next, 2023 is going to be an interesting year as it begins with being mayor.”

Kay put his name forward to run as mayor during the town’s 2020 municipal election and lost by one vote. He was asked why he stepped up to run again for the position during its call for nominations last month.

“I think I have something to offer Wawota. I have some experience, some ideas that I think will benefit our community,” he said.

“I have some energy, and I just want to see the best community in Southeast Saskatchewan be promoted.”

Being an active member in the community since moving to Wawota about seven years ago, Kay said he is happy to be in the position to help the town grow.

“The biggest thing I’ve been working on is getting the Ukrainian community here, and that’s been huge for our community in Wawota,” said Kay.

“I’ve been a part of several boards and committees here. I’ve been wanting to see things done not only for our citizens who are currently here, but also I want to see our community be promoted more. I guess I see myself as a cheerleader for Wawota.”

Kay spoke about what he hopes to achieve as mayor for the Town of Wawota.

“A two-year mandate is different than a four-year mandate,” he said.

“I understand the fact that I’m not going to be able to put together a full mandate and a full agenda, but I plan to see what organizational things are needed to be put together.

“Recruitment, we need businesses here in Wawota so we need some economic development. If I can work on getting some businesses back here in Wawota that will be something I’ll focus my attention on.

“There are some infrastructure things that need to be attended to as well. There’s some outward things, some inward things, and being able to see Wawota filling its full potential.”

He was asked if there are any projects the town is currently working towards.

“One of the projects I’ve been campaigning over the last little while, it got halted with Covid, is an assisted living residence here in town,” said Kay.

“That’s one of the big projects that I would like to see promoted here. We’ve been losing too many seniors to other communities just because we don’t have a facility here, and having one would be good on so many different levels, in economic development, on employment, and for people. Personally, we’re seeing if we can get that project kick started again.

“There are also infrastructure projects that need to be looked at. If I can accomplish those in the next two years I’ll be very happy.

“Economic development, recruitment is what council is focused on right now, and seeing if we can get a few more businesses back in town which is essential for the life of the community.

“We’ve seen too many businesses leave and we’ve seen people just leave because they can’t find services and stuff they need here in town. We’ll be focusing on that.”

According to the latest census, the population of Wawota is sitting at 555 residents. However, Kay said that figure does not include the number of Ukrainian families who moved into the area.

“We have five families right now in Wawota. We’re also getting phone calls from other communities to see how we did it, which is fantastic,” he said.

“We potentially have more families coming. We’ve been in contact with two families who are still in Ukraine that want to come to Wawota and we’re just working on putting things together for them to arrive.”

Kay said he is excited for his new position as mayor, and is looking forward to working with the town’s council.

“I’m excited to be coming in with fresh eyes to evaluate things,” he said.

“To see if things are done just because that’s the way they’ve always done it, and seeing if there’s something that needs to be modified or changed. As well as continuing to be the great community we are.

“I choose to live here. I wasn’t born and raised here, but my choice is to live here because this is one of the best communities in Southeast Saskatchewan.

“I’m very happy to be here and am very happy to be in the role.”