Community Leadership

There was a wonderful “farewell” article (see below) in this week’s Lance newspaper, written by Theresa Oswald – MLA Seine River, who I worked with very closely over the years in securing funding and support for active transportation, the environment and healthy lifestyles.

I was very pleased to see her personal acknowledgement of Bev Sawchuk’s great work and achievements with Save Our Seine (SOS) in preserving the Bois-des-Esprits, a beautiful 117-acre outdoor space that incorporates river bottom, marshland, tall grass prairie, and forest.  In 2002, under Bev’s leadership, SOS launched a 4-year campaign to keep this riparian area as a natural habitat, and succeeded!  Bois-des-Esprits is the largest remaining riverbank forest in the City.

In 2014, I invited Bev to join me at City Hall and take on the role of Manager of Operations & Community Liaison to help support the South Winnipeg-St. Norbert ward office – and as many of you have experienced – she is doing an outstanding job!

Thank you, Theresa, for your ongoing dedicated commitment to public service over the years!  We will miss you!

And Bev! Thrilled that you are helping support the good work we are doing for residents in the South Winnipeg-St Norbert ward!  Thank you!


Photo:  Bev Sawchuk


Thanks and Farewell
Theresa Oswald, MLA Seine River
The Lance, Posted: 01/18/2016 11:55 AM


January is often a time to set a new course of action, fuelled by our promise to maintain our resolutions and begin the year with positivity and optimism.


It is also a time for reflecting on the year that has passed, and to take stock of those things that are most important to us.


As is true for so many of you, for me those “most important things” are not things at all, but people. I have made the difficult decision not to seek re-election in the spring, and while it will be wonderful to be able to spend more time with my husband Sam and my son Jack, it is the people with whom I have worked with in our community that I will miss the most.


I have been inspired by the passion and dedication of our seniors, who continue to advocate for a strong home care program, and the development of new housing and personal care home options in our community. My hat goes off to folks like the late George Smith, a splendid gentleman, and to Alf Horn, who worked so hard with government to see River Park Gardens become a reality a few years ago. Karen Irvine, the program facilitator of the Dakota 55+ Lazers, has been organizing and programming for our parents and grandparents for well over a decade, and has offered me much sage advice about how to improve life for our seniors.


I send my heartfelt thanks to the many members of Save Our Seine, like Denis Gautron, and Bev Sawchuk years before him, who have worked passionately to clean up the Seine and to protect the Bois-des-Esprits for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.



I have been honoured to work with our early childhood educators, including Lisa Treft, Gena Harris, and Bonnie Ash, to develop really positive policy and capacity for the youngest in our community. The work they do every day to support our families is what will have the greatest impact on generations to come.


I continue to be impressed by and so grateful for the many coaches and volunteers who provide recreational opportunities for our young people.


Craig Bachynski works hard with his team at the Mustangs Football Club to expand the infrastructure so our kids can have the best possible experience as they pursue their football dreams. Tom Thiessen and the board at Dakota Community Centre, along with CEO Michele Augert, are working together to build the field house that will improve our ability to play and stay fit in a state-of-the-art environment. They are building on the great work of past leaders at the club, including Barry Catt and Jacques Levesque and many, many others. I am so thankful for the opportunity to work with you all, and I wish you all the best in the years ahead.


Last, but certainly not least, I want to pay tribute to the students, teachers, and the entire education community in the constituency of Seine River. Indeed there are more names than I can mention in a column so short as this, but I can say emphatically that I have been so proud to serve as your MLA, and to receive the good advice and the passionate advocacy you brought forward in the name of making our facilities and our programs the best that they could possibly be for our children.  I have learned so much from all of you, and I have done my best to support your dreams in every way that I could.


Please indulge me as I take a moment to publicly thank my staff, in particular, Sandra Little, who has been with me since the very beginning. Sandra, as so many of you know, is the very best of people, who has always worked to provide our constituents with support, compassion and kindness and I do not know how I could have done this job without her.


In closing, I say thank you, residents of Seine River, for allowing me to be your representative at the Manitoba legislature.  It has been an absolute honour. I wish you and your family the very best in 2016, and in all the years that follow.



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