Former mayor Lorencz dies at 73

Don Lorencz

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

One of High Prairie’s most colourful and controversial former politicians passed away June 5 one week short of his 74th birthday.

Don Lorenz was 73 when he died in West Kelowna, B.C. with his wife, Sally, at his side.

Lorencz served the Town of High Prairie as a town councillor and mayor. He was elected to council as a councillor in the Oct. 17, 1983 municipal election and polled the most votes with 380 but resigned Jan. 8, 1985. The following year, despite numerous controversies, he challenged incumbent mayor Fred Dumont in the Oct. 20. 1986 municipal election and won 412-306.

Controversy seemed to swirl around Lorencz but he never let that deter him from doing what he thought was best. Some of his controversies included:

  • Nov. 23, 1983: Lorencz says Metis Colonies and Indian Reserves residents should pay their fair share for recreation services.
  • March 6, 1984: Ron Sawchyn pleaded guilty in High Prairie provincial court of assaulting Lorencz. The assault stemmed from a dispute over signs.
  • May 9, 1984: Lorencz and Jim Fisher question council on its contracting policies.
  • May 23, 1984: Lorencz charges town manager Bryce Walt of changing the minutes of council meetings.
  • Jan. 9, 1985: Lorencz resigns citing business commitments.
  • Lorencz was then elected mayor Oct. 20, 1986. The controversy continued.
  • Jan. 7, 1987: South Peace News reports Lorencz asks for town manager John Jarvie’s resignation.
  • Jan. 14, 1987: High Prairie town council releases letters from Lorencz to council and administration in efforts to let the public know the dissention that exists.
  • Jan. 18, 1987: A special meeting called by High Prairie town council clears the air between councillors and Lorencz. All parties agree to work for the good of the town.
  • March 11, 1987: High Prairie town council votes to ask Municipal Affairs to investigate the internal conflict between Lorencz and councillors.
  • April 9, 1987: Representatives from Municipal Affairs investigate problems between council and Lorencz. However, Lorencz refuses to attend because the meeting is closed to the public.
  • Sept. 14, 1987: Municipal Affairs says third party arbitrators may have to be brought in to resolve conflicts between Lorencz and councillors.
  • Feb. 10, 1988: High Prairie town council agrees to hire consultants to resolve conflicts between Lorencz, manager Jarvie and councillors.
  • Oct. 19, 1988: South Peace News reports town manager John Jarvie announces his resignation.
  • March 22, 1989: High Prairie town council asks about Lorencz’s status after missing two meetings without notice. When contacted, Lorencz says he is not resigning.
  • May 10, 1989: Lorencz is relieved of his duties on the High Prairie Recreation Board for lack of attendance at meetings.
  • March 1, 1989: Lorencz announces he will not seek re-election and blasts fellow town councillors for being “not there for the good of High Prairie.”

Lorenz owned and operated Lorencz Realty.

He is survived by: his wife, Sally; grandson Danyon; brother Ernie [Darlene] Lorencz; sisters Bev and Veronica Lorencz; and Ina [Gary] Buchinskas.

Don was predeceased by: his father Nick; mother Iona; son Dez; stepson Mark Ragan; and brothers Michael, Stuart and Thomas.

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