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Neustaedter bids for mayor’s chair

By: Grant Burr

Posted: 08/30/2018 8:30 AM

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Paul Neustaedter is congratulated by his parents, Jim and Phyllis, who were just two of the many supporters who packed into the Smitty’s banquet room on Wednesday morning to hear him announce plans to run for Steinbach mayor in the Oct. 24 municipal election.

GRANT BURR | THE CARILLON Enlarge Image

Paul Neustaedter is congratulated by his parents, Jim and Phyllis, who were just two of the many supporters who packed into the Smitty’s banquet room on Wednesday morning to hear him announce plans to run for Steinbach mayor in the Oct. 24 municipal election.

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Count on the grandson of one of Steinbach’s most charismatic former politicians to kick off his own mayoral campaign in the most bustling campaign launch the 2018 municipal election cycle has seen yet.

Paul Neustaedter announced plans to run in the Oct. 24 municipal election, speaking to a packed room of supporters at the Smitty’s banquet room yesterday morning.

The Steinbach businessman recalled childhood memories of growing up in a community that’s transformed from a town to a city and said he’s ready to make more memories in the years ahead.

"I’m still making memories here with my family and my friends. That’s the reason that I love Steinbach," he told the crowd.

Neustaedter unveiled a platform of priorities including keeping taxes affordable, ensuring city infrastructure remains viable, maintaining a safe community, bringing more quality manufacturing jobs to the city, and making the city a place where youth want to remain.

The biggest focus of his address, however, focused on a key promise of delivering a multiplex to the community.

"We need to provide an affordable multiplex that depends on private donations to move it forward."

Neustaedter has long pressed the current council on such a project, and he continued some of that pressure as he spoke yesterday.

"It seems that the current council has not been able to have stakeholders on side, or even decide what to build, or how to build it," he said.

"I’ve been listening and people don’t want another task force. They simply want to be listened to and then see some action."

Neustaedter guaranteed plan would be ready within short order, if he is elected mayor.

"A plan for the multiplex will be ready within eight months of the election day and the project will only move forward if it’s affordable and all governments are on board," he said.

As the grandson of former Steinbach mayor A.D. Penner, Neustaedter said it is surreal to be seeking the position his grandfather held for many years.

"As a kid I watched him be mayor and serve the community, do things for the community with a generous heart…I actually never thought the day would happen and all of a sudden I’m here," he said.

"Something inside of me wants to see a better Steinbach and a Steinbach that can accomplish the things I believe it can accomplish."

While Neustaedter said he appreciates John Fehr and Earl Funk, his opponents in the mayor’s race, the newcomer’s speech positioned himself as the person to move forward a project that has been talked about for a long time.

"We’ve had a lot of starts and a lot of stops. I really believe we can come up with a plan within eight months and have that plan that’s affordable for taxpayers but we won’t do anything unless governments are onside because we need to get our fair share for the city here. We deserve it," he told The Carillon.

In 2016, Neustaedter was open in his frustration with council’s lack of consultation with the community.

"I’ve been continuing to say that if we don’t have a plan we’ll actually never get there. I’ve asked for a plan, I’ve encouraged a plan, volunteered for a plan, we’ve shown plans but nothing’s been done. We still don’t have a plan. We need a plan."

He expressed confidence that he will be able to provide leadership around the council table, where differences of opinion have stalled plans for a multiplex in the past.

"It won’t matter what voices are there…I’ve worked with lots of different people in different backgrounds, cultures and opinions. I’m a person that actually has an ability to bring people onside and I believe we can do that."

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