City unveils Eldon Lautermilch Park to recognize longtime MLA

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Eldon Lautermilch and his family posed with the monument at Eldon Lautermilch Park; (L to R) Rae Anne Moen, Loretta Lautermilch, Eldon Lautemilch, Joanne Lautermilch and Molly.

The City of Prince Albert named the first of two parks named after prominent Prince Albert politicians with the unveiling of Eldon Lautermilch Park on River Street East on Saturday.

The park on River Street East was the first of several named for prominent politicians to receive its new name.

Lautermilch served several terms as an MLA for Prince Albert and was an advocate for Prince Albert while serving in cabinet under NDP Premiers Roy Romanow and Lorne Calvert.

The park is located just blocks from where he and his wife Loretta raised their family, most of whom were in attendance.

“This is still our home,” Lautermilch said after the unveiling. “We keep our place at Emma Lake, so we have two homes. We have one at Emma and one in Regina, but Prince Albert is still special to us. It’s always been.”

Longtime friend Rose Rothenberg gave a brief history of Lautermilch’s life before the monument was unveiled.

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Eldon Lautermlich and his family unveiled the monument for Eldon Lautermilch Park on Saturday afternoon.

Emcee and Ward 5 Coun. Dennis Ogrodnick emphasized the importance of the riverbank as a gathering place. Coun. Darren Solomon acted as flag bearer because of windy conditions on Saturday. Coun. Charlene Miller also attended.

Lautermilch was elected in Prince Albert Duck Lake in 1986 and after redrawing of boundaries. represented Prince Albert Northcote and was elected in 1991, 1995, 1999 and 2003. In his final election, he won every pole in Northcote.

“I took so much of Duck Lake back with me,” Lautermilch said. “Rose, who did the introduction here, was a Duck Lake resident, and that’s where I met her. That was in 1985 or ’86 and she asked if I would like her to campaign with me. I said, ‘well sure,’ so we worked together. She ended up working in my constituency office for years and years and years, until I retired and our families became close.”

Along with Rothenberg, other friends in the audience included Colleen Mackenzie but he also remembered others who rose to prominence after working in his office.

“I think of Andrew Thomson, who you see now on Power and Politics. Andrew became an elected official as well and ended up at the university in Toronto. Colleen worked with me. There were just a number of others who worked and supported my work over the years and I recall being on the doorstep of these homes,” he said.

“This is home. This is our place,” he added.

While Lautermilch was in politics, his wife Loretta basically raised the children while he was away.

“All those years when my kids, my wife, I am so thankful, basically raised our children through those years,” he said.

“When I was house leader, she’d drive me to the airport at six in the morning. On Monday, I would be in Regina at seven for house leaders and wouldn’t come back until Friday night and then there were events on the weekend. That’s the life of a politician.”

Lautermilch said those are the sacrifices you make to make your community a better place.

Lautermilch was a cabinet minister in several portfolios under Romanow and Calvert. He retired from politics in 2007, but stays connected to Prince Albert.

He was involved in helping boost several projects, such as the construction of the EA Rawlinson Centre, Northern Lights Casino and the accelerated twinning of Highway 11 to Saskatoon, among others.

Lautermilch likes the park naming concept that the City of Prince Albert is doing.

“It’s to recognize the leadership in communities is important and I’m pleased to have been recognized as a community leader,” he said. “It vindicates all of the time that I spent away from home, all those years.”

After family members unveiled the monument, Councillor and longtime friend Don Cody brought remarks on behalf of the city of Prince Albert and Lautermilch also made a speech about the honour.

Lautermilch was looking forward to the next park opening for Don Cody Park just down River Street following his park unveiling.

“I wouldn’t miss it,” he said. “I worked so closely with Don. I can remember when he came up here to establish his business and he worked out of my out of my office in my business that we’ve worked together that closely, not only in politics, but in business and in life and he’s still my buddy.”

Lautermilch said that Prince Albert has remained a wonderful community.

“It always has been and I think the leadership that I am seeing from First Nations lately encourages me. It should encourage all of us because we are one community and we together can make Saskatchewan a better place. I’m worried, frankly, about the treatment of low-income people and homeless people. That needs to change and I don’t see that happening right now. But I am hopeful that Prince Albert will decide to put people in place who will work to make that happen.”

After the two park unveilings on River Street next weekend the Myron Kowalsky Park will be the next to be unveiled.