Richard Simard is the new reeve in Big Lakes County

Big Lakes County has a new reeve and deputy reeve, elected by council at its organizational meeting Oct. 23. Left-right, are Reeve Richard Simard and Deputy Reeve Ken Matthews. Submitted photo.

Richard Froese
For Smoky River Express

A former McLennan business owner and resident has become the new reeve for Big Lakes County in the High Prairie area.

Joussard Councillor Richard Simard was elected reeve by council during its organizational meeting Oct. 23. He succeeds Ken Matthews who served in the top seat for five years, first elected reeve on Oct. 30, 2013, and has represented North Gilwood – Triangle on council for 12 years.

Matthews was elected deputy reeve for the coming year and succeeds Prairie Echo – Salt Prairie Councillor David Marx, who has served on council for 20 years.

“I am fortunate to have an experienced council to work with,” says Simard, who was elected in October 2017 to represent Joussard. “Even before I got elected, it was my intention to eventually become the reeve.

“I like to be in leadership roles and I’m honoured to represent Big Lakes County.”

He says he looks forward to the challenge and is excited about what’s ahead.

“We have a lot of good projects on the go, such as broadband, roads, water, the new Big Lakes County Business Support Program tourism and economic development and I want to see them continue and grow,” Simard says.

He says he also values the deputy reeve and his experience on council.

“Ken will be a great resource and good to work with,” Simard says.

Matthews says the time as reeve was challenging but progressive.

“It’s been enjoyable for the past five years and the county has moved ahead in that time, even through an economic downturn,” Matthews says.

“I look forward to working with Richard as council continues to move the county forward.”

Simard has lived in Joussard for three years and retired from the insurance business one year ago.

His previous community service includes 10 years with the High Prairie and District Food Bank and two years with the McLennan Golden Age Project committee that led to construction of the Manoir du Lac assisted-living complex.


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