Blake McCutcheon confirms candidacy for mayor


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Blake McCutcheon.

By Eoin Devereux

Neepawa Banner & Press

Note: This article originally ran in the September 28, 2018 edition of the Neepawa Banner & Press. The article is being reposted online to provide the voters with one last opportunity to learn about the candidates. The link to the Adrian de Groot article can be found at the attached link  Adrian de Groot

There has been a last minute and dramatic change to the race for mayor of the Town of Neepawa. In the final days before the nomination deadline closed, former local business owner Blake McCutcheon confirmed that he would seek the community’s top job.

That decision had a domino effect, as, after a day of consideration, previously announced mayoral candidate Murray Parrott decided to instead seek re-election to council. In a discussion with the Banner & Press, Parrott noted that he thought it was best to give the voters of Neepawa a clear choice for the position of mayor and that seeking re-election as a councillor to assist the community would be the best option.

A tipping point

McCutcheon has lived in Neepawa for over 40 years and is a former owner and operator of Chalet Carpet and Drapes. McCutcheon said that some recent events were the final motivation that spurred him to step forward.

“Honestly, if someone had asked me six months ago if I was going to run for mayor, I think I would have said no. But, what has occurred over the course of the summer [with the parcel of land between McGill Street and Adelaide Crescent] and that green space and the lack of transparency that occurred there, made me take a second look at this opportunity,” noted McCutcheon.  “It’s not the sole reason though. You could say that it was the tipping point. Over the course of the past two or three years, I’ve thought that there has been a disconnect between the council and the mayor and the citizens of Neepawa. Maybe that disconnect works both ways, so I think that we need a change.”

A wealth of experience

To go along with his business experience, McCutcheon has also served as a board member and chairperson for the Touchwood Park Association, a Neepawa based organization for persons with developmental disabilities in Manitoba. McCutcheon said the knowledge he has received helping to steer the mandate of a multi-million dollar organization like Touchwood, would translate well over to the Town Council.

“I became a board member of the Touchwood Park Association in 1998 and have been the Chairman of the Board for the past 15 years. I am extremely proud of the Touchwood Park organization and their support of people with intellectual disabilities.  Being the Chair has given me a different perspective from my time in private enterprise and I don’t think many people realize the footprint Touchwood Park has in this community. This organization has a $4 million dollar budget, 85 unionized employees with ten staff, 19 facilities to manage and the funding is based on a relationship with the provincial government. This experience, along with my business experience, I believe, will be of value to the position of mayor.”

A choice

Heading into the municipal campaign trail, McCutcheon hopes that this election gives the citizens of Neepawa an opportunity to vote for change.

“Now that the mayoral election has become a two-person race, this gives the citizens of Neepawa a clear choice to vote for a new direction that will be different from the past four years. I believe in good governance and leadership has been lacking at the town hall and I’m going to bring back accountability, transparency and respect for the taxpayer. My 33 years as a business owner and my 20 years as a Touchwood Park Board Member has confirmed my belief that leadership is to have the ability to respect, listen and to engage others to present their ideas and visions. I will be promoting as Mayor along with the Town Council that we will engage with the citizens of Neepawa who live, work and pay taxes in our town.”