Search our Advertisers



Banner
Banner
News - Oct. 16 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Shawn Loughlin   
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 13:06
A tradition unlike any other, the Belgrave Turkey Supper took place at the Belgrave Community Centre last week, just ahead of Thanksgiving. The supper, which is the centre’s primary fundraiser every year, seats 1,000 hungry diners every year and ensures that a hot, home-cooked turkey dinner is in front of each diner in a matter of minutes. This all occurs thanks to the tireless work of dozens of volunteers. (Shawn Loughlin photo)
A tradition unlike any other, the Belgrave Turkey Supper took place at the Belgrave Community Centre last week, just ahead of Thanksgiving. The supper, which is the centre’s primary fundraiser every year, seats 1,000 hungry diners every year and ensures that a hot, home-cooked turkey dinner is in front of each diner in a matter of minutes. This all occurs thanks to the tireless work of dozens of volunteers. (Shawn Loughlin photo)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 October 2014 13:38
 
North Huron Candidates Discuss The Issues at Wingham Meeting - Oct. 16 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Shawn Loughlin   
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 12:59
Infrastructure and controlled taxes were the hot-button issues at the North Huron all-candidates meeting held last Thursday.
The Wingham Legion Branch 180, with help from Pauline Kerr of The Wingham Advance-Times hosted the event and welcomed 19 speakers to the stage including candidates from all three North Huron wards as well as the mayoral positions as well as positions with local the school board.
The meeting started with introductions from the candidates for the Avon Maitland District School Board trustee position Mike Starenky and John Schenk, speaking on behalf of his wife Colleen.
Following that, the candidates took to the podium to introduce themselves starting with the reeveship candidates.
Current Wingham Councillor Bernie Bailey is one of three candidates for the position and was randomly selected to be the first speaker.
Bailey said he has learned much through his life but the most important lessons for the position of reeve are being positive, proactive and a good listener. He said that, over his time at council, the one comment he is constantly hearing is that the projects North Huron is completing should have been approached years ago.
“Because North Huron has finished a strategic plan, we can move to the heart of these issues,” Bailey said.
Budgets have been a primary focus for Bailey in his time on council, he said.
“I’ve asked the tough questions and it’s made a difference with lower increases in taxes,” he said. “As reeve, I will watch over our budget; your budget.”
Bailey continued to say that there are cuts coming from the provincial and federal governments and the municipality needs to be prepared.
Bailey said that the township needs to work with its neighbours in a respectful manner and claims that is something he has done, and will continue to do.
“There is so much more that needs to be done,” Bailey said, approaching the end of his speech. “I encourage you all to come to council meetings and see what really goes on. You can understand the challenges.”
Incumbent Reeve Neil Vincent took to the stage next and spoke on service.
“Superior service is the most conspicuous when it’s absent,” he said. “I strive to serve my community. I strive to promote our community and our people, this is why I attend as many events as I can in North Huron.”
Vincent listed the achievements of the existing council, including, but not limited to, the Wingham Josephine Street reconstruction, the Wingham Trailer Park, the Reid Road Landfill Development Plan, the first tar and chipped and road in East Wawanosh, the Emergency Services Training Centre, the Wingham splash pad and water system and source planning for Blyth.
Vincent explained reeve is a position that requires someone who can dedicate the time necessary to the role of municipal leadership. He also said that he plans on continuing to promote the community while not making any guarantees he can’t keep.
“I sing the praises of where we live, work and play,” he said. “My experience prevents me from making false promises, so the only promise I’ll make is to work with my contacts to better North Huron.”
Steve Hill’s opening remarks were brief, but very to the point. He said he wants to work for free and have any money paid for his time donated to local charities and organizations. His platform is based on allowing more input at council meetings, clearing local sidewalks and archiving all council meetings as the ombudsman suggests.
The first group of candidates to speak were the four candidates from Blyth, starting with incumbent Brock Vodden who started by speaking about his experience.
“You can look at me and know I have a lot of experience,” he said with a laugh. “I’ve been on this council for five years and I have a lot of experience. Prior to that, I have a great deal of municipal experience in metropolitan Toronto and large and small communities across the province.”
Vodden said that he was very happy with the accomplishments of council, however he felt one major accomplishment was left out.
“This is a very critical election,” Vodden said. “Every election is important, but there are very special areas we need to accomplish things that are very rare and very new.
“I’m referring to the Blyth 14/19 committee and the project that has been introduced and publicized so well across the province,” he said. “It has reached into so many areas. It’s not just cultural development but it is a matter of jobs, development for our youth and increasing the possibility of retaining our youth.”
Vodden said that Campaign 14/19 is an initiative that he is proud of and, like many of the other projects started in the past two terms of council, he would like to see them through.
“Candidates need to be in a position to explain this project to council,” he said. “It takes all members of council to achieve something like this.”
Vodden also said that the water projects in Blyth are important, including the wastewater infrastructure and finding a new water source. He added that having good relations with Morris-Turnberry is also something he would like to work on as part of the next council.
“We are currently working very closely with Morris-Turnberry on three very important projects,” he said. “We need to work on the cross-border servicing agreement, but my stance is that North Huron has done everything possible to reach an agreement. The next move is not ours.”
Blyth candidate Brad Carther of Wingham took to the stage next and outlined his platform which targeted services and municipal involvement.
“I want to see the sidewalks cleaned for the children,” he said. “Blyth has sidewalks that need to be cleaned for the elderly and the handicapped in their wheelchairs.”
Carther said he didn’t know exactly where his campaign would go but that he believes in “fair, hard work” and would do his best.
He also said that if he was able to, he would donate his earnings as a councillor to local charities.
“I can’t guarantee that,” he said. “But we should all be striving to help and do more for the children.”
Carther’s last idea was that the wards should be treated equally and that, any time one ward gets something, all the wards should.
Next to speak was incumbent Bill Knott who was installed as a councillor earlier this year when Deputy-Reeve David Riach retired.
Knott said that he is not a life-long resident of North Huron, but that he is an “immigrant” who came from Toronto via the Niagara region.
“I got involved in municipal politics after I moved here,” he said. “I saw great potential.”
Knott said he was looking for a different lifestyle when he moved and that North Huron has the opportunity to provide that.
“We need to establish what North Huron can give to the rest of the world,” he said. “We need to stop running studies that result in no action. We have a lot of those and we’ve spent lots of money on them. What we need is to take action and we need to take it soon.”
Knott said there are three district areas, or wards, in North Huron but there are a lot of common goals that the three areas need to work on together.
“There are issues that have been here for many, many years,” he said. “The time for change is now and with the number of new candidates, we have the means to move forward.”
Knott said that North Huron has to have more of a global perspective and not squabble about the small issues such as shovelling sidewalks.
“I’ve come from municipalities where you had to shovel your own sidewalk, that was the law,” he said. “We don’t need to worry about the issues that have been brought up so far when we have a far greater problem in the future,” he said. “Money [is that problem] and it doesn’t matter how much you spend, what matters is how you spend it. We need to look at issues and expenditures we do on a daily basis. I hope everyone looks at what we need for the future and think about the candidates and which ones will take us forward.
“This is the future of North Huron for four years, not four days, and people need to think hard before you cast your ballot,” he said.
Laurie Macpherson of East Wawanosh was the final Blyth candidate to speak and said she was running to give Blyth a voice.
“Everyone needs that chance,” she said.
Macpherson said that she wants to make sure that people can speak at council meetings prior to decisions being made and that North Huron needs to become “open for business”.
“Our kids are growing up and moving away and we’re a ghost town,” she said. “We have to open up. We have to bring people into the area.”
Macpherson said that, in her opinion, spending in North Huron is “out of control”.
“We need to curb spending and find ways to save money and lower taxes,” she said. “We’re the highest taxed people around and we don’t get a lot created.”
Other items that Macpherson plans to pursue if elected are looking to remove the ward system from North Huron and implementing a code of conduct for staff and council. [The council code of conduct bylaw that came into effect on Jan. 1 of this year, and the employee handbook has been in use for several years].
East Wawanosh ward candidates took to the podium next starting with incumbent Jim Campbell.
Campbell said he has been a lifetime resident of the township and currently sits on the Maitland Valley Conservation Authority Board and the Wingham Police Services Board.
Having been a councillor for 20 years, Campbell says he has always, and will continue to try to be a strong voice for the rural area, of which he is very much a part.
His major concerns include economic development and working with the municipality’s neighbours.
“We need to work together with them better than ever before,” he said. “If we’re going to move forward, we need our neighbours and they need us.”
Campbell said he was happy that one of the busier roads in the ward received tar and chip pavement this year and he hopes to continue to bring more roads up to that standard.
Providing a strong voice for the three wards, not just his own, was also a key priority for Campbell.
“We need to work together to make it one body,” he said. “At the end of [a council meeting], when a motion is made, the motion needs to stand.”
The next East Wawanosh candidate to speak was Jim Woodley, a resident of the ward who has a business in Wingham.
“I’m a transplant to this area,” he said. “I’ve lived in London, I’ve lived in Florida and I’ve always been a business man.”
Woodley said that, four years ago he ran as a candidate to solve several problems.
“We needed to get Wingham running, help farmers, work to lower taxes and I haven’t seen any of that yet,” he said. “I’ve talked to my fellow business people and we’re struggling.”
Woodley said that the business community is always looking for that next “golden bullet” solution.
“Every week I have someone coming in looking for a job,” he said. “I came to the conclusion to run at the last minute because I’m tired of seeing friends and families moving away to find jobs. I figured if I can get here on council and get Wingham back working, get businesses here we can get everything back on track.”
James Taylor was the next speaker. He is a life-long and long-time resident of East Wawanosh who remembers a time when things were better.
He explained that he is very involved with community efforts including the Belgrave Fowl Supper, the Elementary School Fair in Belgrave and local sports teams before explaining that agriculture is his primary concern.
“That’s what I did before I retired and that’s what I enjoy doing and I hate to see agriculture stifled in any way because I think we’re going to see land values increase and taxes have to be kept in proportion.”
Taylor said that aside from agriculture, his primary concerns are roads because, while all people need roads, they are especially important for farmers who need them to get their products out, as well as fire and police protection.
East Wawanosh resident Tim Walden spoke next and said his family name is a well-known one, having been a part of the ward for more than 100 years.
Walden has worked for the Region of Waterloo for the past 15 years and supports all the departments in the municipality there.
“Part of that role is I help evaluate vendor solutions and application solutions worth millions,” he said. “Some of the priorities I have for the township will benefit from that experience. I want to stabilize the tax rate and prioritize spending. People can’t handle more tax burdens.”
Walden said that some of the other priorities he has are to work with neighbouring municipalities to create a viable economic plan to provide well-paying jobs for future generations in both North Huron and its neighbouring municipalities.
“I’m running not just to represent East Wawanosh, but to build a stronger bond for the people of North Huron,” he said. “I’m running to build a stronger community for future generations.”
Incumbent Ray Hallahan was the next speaker. Having been a life-long resident of the ward, a farmer and a small business owner as well as a former county employee, he said he has the experience to continue doing the job of councillor.
“I’m always interested in this community,” he said. “I’ve been a volunteer with the Huron Pioneer Thresher and Hobby Association for 15 years, including being president three times, and that includes working with church groups and service clubs on behalf of the association,” he said.
Hallahan said the primary issue facing not only his ward but the entire municipality is taxation. He said that in his previous council experience, money “flowed from the provincial and federal government” but it isn’t happening any more.
“The money has dried up [which makes it] much more difficult,” he said.
Successes for the current council that Hallahan wanted to highlight included the comprehensive review and strategic plan completed in the past few years.
Hallahan said that roads are of particular import to all the residents of North Huron, but most important in East Wawanosh.
“The residents of East Wawanosh deserve good roads, whether they are farming, working off the farm or taking their kids to hockey,” he said. “I think that’s very important.”
Newcomer Terry Brake was the final candidate to speak for East Wawanosh and his platform revolves around three primary issues: the comprehensive zoning bylaw (bylaw 82-2008) which he feels is illegal, helping Blyth candidate Laurie Macpherson to get her greenhouse business built and eliminating red tape.
“Red tape is killing the community,” he said. “We need change in all three wards. I have seen and had to deal with red tape and bureaucracy to get some of the information.”
Brake said if elected, he will make Macpherson’s project a priority as it can create over 200 jobs.
Keeping the northern-most landfill in East Wawanosh and having recycling bins placed there, as well as upgrading roads in East Wawanosh, are also major priorities for Brake.
Following Brake, the Wingham ward candidates took to the stage. Running for election in the ward are Yolande Ritsema-Teeninga, Trevor Seip, Rod Galbraith, Robert Harth and Brent Mills.
Following the Wingham Ward candidates was a brief break which was followed by questions from the floor.
Doug Kuyvenhoven of the Wingham Business Improvement Area (BIA) was the first to take the microphone. His question was directed to the reeveship candidates and the Wingham candidates.
“Do you think the BIAs, which are funded by business members and commercial property owners are beneficial to the community?” he asked.
Bailey answered first saying that the BIAs are very beneficial.
“I sit on the BIA for Wingham as a councillor,” he said. “Everyone expects the township and the works department to do everything and it’s just not possible. Volunteers with the BIA do so many things as far as decorations, lighting and Christmas trees go. I’ve enjoyed sitting with the BIA committee for four years and everything they do is beneficial. You folks should thank the BIAs for what they do.”
Vincent was also in favour of the organizations. He said that the BIAs are very valuable.
“They provide guidance and, through the BIA, [business owners] are talking to like-minded individuals” he said. “They put together programs that benefit all the businesses and, in that, it’s a connection that really moves things forward. It even pulls some of the shy business owners into a role of stepping forward and making bigger statements in the community.”
Vincent said that for all the work BIAs do, they deserve high praise.
While Hill felt that the BIAs are good, he felt that the Wingham BIA should follow the Blyth BIA’s methods of raising money privately before seeking funds from council. He also took issue with some of their projects.
“I don’t believe we need entryway arches or rope lights,” he said.
Bill McGrath asked the next question to Hill directly.
“How are you going to support the community when you’ve run the town into the ground for the past few years?” he asked. “Everything you seem to read has degraded the town. I understand you are one of the writers or publishers for the Wingham Free Press. How are you going to run a town you’ve criticized?”
McGrath’s also claimed that Hill, through the Wingham Free Press, an online blog, criticized the police department. The question was applauded by the audience prior to Hill’s answer, which focused on the issues.
“We need to get spending under control and get taxes to where they are supposed to be,” he said. “Until you tackle the root problems, we’re not going to move forward,” he said. “I also have never said anything bad about the police department, just that we pay too much for it.”
Lisa Hearnden asked the next question, directed at East Wawanosh candidate Terry Brake.
“Your platform indicates you want to tar and chip all the roads in East Wawanosh,” she said. “How do you anticipate to do that without increasing taxes or what services will we be giving up?”
Brake said the current roads aren’t up to provincial guideline.
“We’re paying a guy to go around and put down gravel which is not a renewable resource,” he said. “We’re going to run out and then what, have it trucked in? We’re going to exceed the costs of tar and chip paving. It needs to be done. Roads need to be brought up to standards.”
The next question came from Mark Foxton who wondered what the reeveship candidates felt are the strengths of the municipality and how they would use them for the betterment of the municipality.
Bailey started his response by saying the strength is the people.
“You’re here in droves today,’ he said. “I’ve been a volunteer with a lot of you. The strength is the people. We will make this a great place just as it is right now.”
Vincent said he concurred with Bailey, saying “The people are the best friends you’ll ever get.”
Vincent went on to say that there are young people coming back and that these “broad thinkers” are getting educated and creating and doing good jobs.
“That is the strength, those who can go outside the parameters of what mom or dad did,” he said. “With the broadband capability we have, I think that a lot of new jobs can be created in the next term of council.”
Hill said that the community’s greatest strength is the volunteers.
“They help show up and clean the main street and paint the fire hydrants and what not,” he said.
Wingham business owner Bruce Stainton next asked Hill how his policies would affect businesses. Hill said he wanted to do away with the economic development department, eliminate all advertising budgets and get rid of the BIA levy.
“How will this affect the business community?” Stainton asked. “Will you do the same in Blyth?”
Hill said that the majority of businesses would be better off for not having to pay the levy.
“The BIA is well funded now,” he said. “I don’t want to see money spent on rope lights. [The Wingham BIA] is just grasping at straws to justify their budget. I don’t see the benefit in [that project] or the arch project.”
Jason Schiestel took to the podium next asking the reeveship candidates where they see the North Huron in five years.
Bailey stated that in an open council meeting, he had put a business plan together to show how the municipalities around North Huron are developing.
“There are six new businesses going into both Palmerston and Listowel,” he said. “We need our business park and we are going to have it if I am reeve and we are going to grow. It’s a must.”
Vincent said that his head was spinning with the many opportunities and encouraged Schiestel to talk to him after the meeting.
Hill said that, in five years, he would like to see the vacant storefronts closed, increased liquidity in real estate and see Wingham and North Huron one of the safest places in Ontario to raise a family.
Reeveship candidates were also asked about how they would measure productivity within the municipality’s employees and within council and all candidates were invited to comment on accessibility and the role it plays in the future.
The final question of the night was asked by Dave Tiffen, who asked Hill about transparency.
“You refused to supply a picture of yourself to the two local newspapers,” he said, “how does that not go against your promise of tranparency?”
Hill responded by drawing a line between politician’s public and private lives.
“Transparency deals with how people in government make decisions,” he said. “It’s not about their personal lives. Thank you.”
The Wingham Legion played host to an all-candidates meeting last Thursday for North Huron Township in preparation for the upcoming municipal election. Candidates from all three wards as well as those vying for the reeveship took to the podium to explain their platforms. Shown above is Wingham Ward candidate Rod Galbraith talking to some residents about the issues that face the municipality. (Denny Scott photo)
Infrastructure and controlled taxes were the hot-button issues at the North Huron all-candidates meeting held last Thursday.
The Wingham Legion Branch 180, with help from Pauline Kerr of The Wingham Advance-Times hosted the event and welcomed 19 speakers to the stage including candidates from all three North Huron wards as well as the mayoral positions as well as positions with local the school board.
The meeting started with introductions from the candidates for the Avon Maitland District School Board trustee position Mike Starenky and John Schenk, speaking on behalf of his wife Colleen.
Following that, the candidates took to the podium to introduce themselves starting with the reeveship candidates.
Current Wingham Councillor Bernie Bailey is one of three candidates for the position and was randomly selected to be the first speaker.
Bailey said he has learned much through his life but the most important lessons for the position of reeve are being positive, proactive and a good listener. He said that, over his time at council, the one comment he is constantly hearing is that the projects North Huron is completing should have been approached years ago.
“Because North Huron has finished a strategic plan, we can move to the heart of these issues,” Bailey said.
Budgets have been a primary focus for Bailey in his time on council, he said.
“I’ve asked the tough questions and it’s made a difference with lower increases in taxes,” he said. “As reeve, I will watch over our budget; your budget.”
Bailey continued to say that there are cuts coming from the provincial and federal governments and the municipality needs to be prepared.
Bailey said that the township needs to work with its neighbours in a respectful manner and claims that is something he has done, and will continue to do.
“There is so much more that needs to be done,” Bailey said, approaching the end of his speech. “I encourage you all to come to council meetings and see what really goes on. You can understand the challenges.”
Incumbent Reeve Neil Vincent took to the stage next and spoke on service.
“Superior service is the most conspicuous when it’s absent,” he said. “I strive to serve my community. I strive to promote our community and our people, this is why I attend as many events as I can in North Huron.”
Vincent listed the achievements of the existing council, including, but not limited to, the Wingham Josephine Street reconstruction, the Wingham Trailer Park, the Reid Road Landfill Development Plan, the first tar and chipped and road in East Wawanosh, the Emergency Services Training Centre, the Wingham splash pad and water system and source planning for Blyth.
Vincent explained reeve is a position that requires someone who can dedicate the time necessary to the role of municipal leadership. He also said that he plans on continuing to promote the community while not making any guarantees he can’t keep.
“I sing the praises of where we live, work and play,” he said. “My experience prevents me from making false promises, so the only promise I’ll make is to work with my contacts to better North Huron.”
Steve Hill’s opening remarks were brief, but very to the point. He said he wants to work for free and have any money paid for his time donated to local charities and organizations. His platform is based on allowing more input at council meetings, clearing local sidewalks and archiving all council meetings as the ombudsman suggests.
The first group of candidates to speak were the four candidates from Blyth, starting with incumbent Brock Vodden who started by speaking about his experience.
“You can look at me and know I have a lot of experience,” he said with a laugh. “I’ve been on this council for five years and I have a lot of experience. Prior to that, I have a great deal of municipal experience in metropolitan Toronto and large and small communities across the province.”
Vodden said that he was very happy with the accomplishments of council, however he felt one major accomplishment was left out.
“This is a very critical election,” Vodden said. “Every election is important, but there are very special areas we need to accomplish things that are very rare and very new.
“I’m referring to the Blyth 14/19 committee and the project that has been introduced and publicized so well across the province,” he said. “It has reached into so many areas. It’s not just cultural development but it is a matter of jobs, development for our youth and increasing the possibility of retaining our youth.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 October 2014 13:43
Read more...
 
Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh Candidates Have Their Say at Benmiller Meeting - Oct. 16 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Shawn Loughlin   
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 12:54
Benmiller Hall played host to an all-candidates meeting featuring two candidates running for the position of reeve and two of the four running for the Colborne Ward in Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh (ACW) township on Aug. 8
Reeve candidates, incumbent Ben Van Diepenbeek and newcomer Shawn Drennan, were present as were Colborne candidates Glen McNeil and Bill Vanstone. Absent from the meeting were Colborne candidates Arden Eddie and Michael Leitch.
Each candidate was introduced by the organizers and then given three minutes to present their platform with the assembled ratepayers starting with Van Diepenbeek who said he believes his time and experience with council speaks for itself.
“I can stand here and tell you I’m committed to the municipality and open communication, but I believe actions speak stronger than words,” he said. “I have a 99 per cent attendance rate at local and county council and I’m well prepared for each meeting and each agenda. I don’t hide issues, I seek out facts and address them. I work well with local media to make sure information does get out to you and I recognize the importance of working with staff.”
Van Diepenbeek stated he has worked for 17 years as reeve and six prior to that as a councillor and he wants to continue to serve the municipality.
“I’m proud of ACW and what we’ve accomplished,” he said. “We live in a rural municipality and we care about each other.”
Drennan took to the podium next and said his main goal at the meeting was the same as his main goal if he is elected to council: to hear about the issues.
“Primarily I’m here to listen,” he said. “I’ve found, as I’ve [travelled] across the province, that councils don’t always listen. People have been shut out of the municipal process, even in our own township. Decisions are made, then open forum is held at council meetings so people are only allowed to speak after the decision has been made. Change can only be affected if the council re-opens the issues.”
Drennan also said he would like to change the way council deals with bylaws, saying having all three readings on the same night wasn’t right.
“It doesn’t let council consider the issues or have input,” he said. “I want to change the procedural bylaw and have third readings brought in at a different meeting if council so chooses.”
Reaching out to different areas was also one of Drennan’s promises. He said he would like to move council meetings around the township to locations like St. Helens and Benmiller.
“I’ve had people tell me that council chambers are very foreboding,” he said. “They say it’s not a welcome place. I want to have council meetings here, more on your home turf, and listen to your concerns. I want to hear more of what you’re looking for in the community.”
Drennan’s final point wasthat fiscal responsibility was a major priority for him. He said municipal councils needed to get back to the five core issues they were set up for: roads, fire, police, water and drainage/sewage.
“Those are the core responsibilities. It’s the municipality’s job to protect private property,” he said. “Everything will come after that.”
McNeil spoke next and said it was humbling to stand in his own community and see so many friends and neighbours out to take part in the municipal process.
“Some have asked why I submitted my name,” he said. “I want to give back to the community. My family has been here for many years and a lot of people in this room have helped me at different times and this is an opportunity to give back.”
McNeil said he has no private agenda and “no axe to grind on any issue.”
“I’m just offering my experience and opportunities I have had to learn in different organizations back to our community,” he said. “Governing is not hard... I intend to use the resources available for the benefit of our community and our residents.”
Bill Vanstone was the last candidate to take to the stand and started off by explaining his experience.
“In the past I’ve served as a councillor, a deputy-reeve for four years and a reeve for nine years in Colborne,” he said. “One of our major accomplishment of the time was the second baseball diamond here.”
Vanstone said he volunteered through the Goderich Lions Club and has also coached youth baseball. His plan should he be elected is to keep taxes low.
“I look forward to serving you in the future and having the opportunity to talk,” Vanstone said.
The questions started with Monique McIlhargey of the Port to Point Trail association. McIlhargey explained that council had removed its support from the trail due to financial considerations.
“The project was given pilot project status by the Ministry of Transportation (MTO),” she said. “We are a precedent-setting project.”
McIlhargey asked if the candidates would look at re-examining the situation.
Van Diepenbeek, having been part of that decision, said he was on the trail committee when it first started considering how to proceed and said the municipality pulled sponsorship because it had higher priorities.
“Right now we have a list of priority projects including bridges and infrastructure,” he said, adding if the group faltered, the trail would immediately land in the municipality’s lap. “I’ve seen in other situations where the municipality is the fall guy. Our priorities are more aligned with the roads, infrastructure and medical centre expansions. I would be in favour of the trail if it could be sustained.”
Drennan answered next, stating that since he wasn’t completely filled in on the details, he wouldn’t be able to give a definitive response.
“We don’t own the road allowance, so it’s tough to take it over and run the trail,” he said. “We have major fiscal priorities coming down on us. I guess, again, you could come back and we would listen, but at this point in time, I couldn’t state whether council would be for or against it.”
McNeil stated he felt the project is important to ACW and people needed to invest in it.
“Exercise and recreation need to be hand in hand with business and this is a very important project for that,” he said. “I’m a firm believer in partnerships like this with the trail association and Goderich and I believe that people just need skin in the game, financially.”
He said he would be open to discussing the issue if elected and that issues need to be looked at more positively.
“Instead of looking at the cup as half empty, we should look at how we can achieve the project,” he said. “It’s very interesting that Huron County has identified 37 per cent of its adults as obese. It’s not a light topic we should disregard. I think we need to go forward and look at it together.”
Vanstone said he agreed the project should be looked at, but that incumbent Reeve Van Diepenbeek likely has more insight for cost and liability. He did say, however, projects can surprise people.
“A few years ago they wanted to make a trestle bridge in Goderich,” he said. “I thought it was foolish but I was dead wrong. I’d be in favour of looking at the project’s finances and liability again, but I’m not making any promises.
The next question asked whether council felt the existing ward and voting system was sufficient. Drennan, Vanstone and Van Diepenbeek all said the system seems to work however McNeil felt differently.
“I support [the idea of changing the ward system] 100 per cent,” he said. “We’re always stronger together than we are divided and without a ward system we would have the best and brightest candidates from across the municipality instead of limiting it to wards.”
McNeil went on to say council always makes decisions for the entire area so it makes more sense to have council be chosen at large.
The candidates were next asked if they would be able to objectively represent ACW when it came to wind energy issues.
McNeil said he had no conflict dealing with the issue, but pointed out it wasn’t a municipal issue.
“We all need to understand that energy, and green energy specifically, is a provincial responsibility,” he said. “It’s up to council to manage the turbines for our residents. I’m a firm believer in the attitude that 10 per cent of what happens to us is what is occurring while 90 per cent is how we react. Turbines are here and we need to learn to live with them.”
McNeil then went on to compare the turbine issue with the troubles in Ireland, saying it was splitting families and neighbours.
Vanstone said he had no conflict and, if elected, he would need to do the research to deal with the issue as there aren’t many turbines in Colborne.
Van Diepenbeek said that, having signed a contract with K2 Wind on one of his farms, he had a conflict of interest on the issue. He added that this was his only standing pecuniary interest.
The candidates were next questioned on their support of healthcare and the pending upgrades to the Wingham and District Hospital and Goderich Medical Centre. All candidates present said they supported the two medical sites and would vote to approve financial contributions.
Candidates were next asked about gifting and whether they would support a “zero-gifting” policy for council and staff.
“I would agree with a “zero gifting” policy for staff and councillors,” Drennan said. “We’ve been looking at this for some time. It came up from [An RJ Burnside and Associates Limited] dinner that councillors went to. I asked if residents shouldn’t get a chance to attend such an event and it went from there.”
McNeil said he would talk to the rest of council, but he believes his track record would point to the fact he would never support any ‘side deals’ and Vanstone agreed.
Incumbent Van Diepenbeek, however, said there needs to be some clarification on the issue.
“What we currently have is a code of conduct,” he said. “It states what you do. If you go to a conference and put a business card in, you might win something... that depends on the conference.”
Van Diepenbeek says the prizes are typically items like pens, tape measures or baseball caps.
“With a no-gifting policy, you would have to leave that there,” he said. “You should be able to accept a gift if you’re given one and it’s very seldom we receive anything of value.”
Van Diepenbeek went on to talk about the dinner Drennan had brought up saying the dinner was a customer appreciation event.
“They are our engineering firm, they weren’t soliciting us,” he said. “If council isn’t allowed to go to an appreciation night, things will have gone pretty far backwards.”
The candidates were next asked about bylaw enforcement and whether they would support it despite costs to the community. McNeil, Vanstone and Van Diepenbeek all stated there are rules that needed to be followed while Drennan interpreted the question differently, stating if someone had a complaint about the people handling the enforcement of bylaws, they should come to council to air that issue.
The remaining questions the candidates fielded at the event focused on green energy-related issues, real estate and community halls.
Current Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh (ACW) Reeve Ben Van Diepenbeek, right, spoke to those assembled in Benmiller for an ACW all-candidates meeting last week. He highlighted his experience and high rate of attendance at council meetings over the years. He also said he was proud of what ACW has accomplished over the course of his time in office. (Denny Scott photo)
Benmiller Hall played host to an all-candidates meeting featuring two candidates running for the position of reeve and two of the four running for the Colborne Ward in Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh (ACW) township on Aug. 8
Reeve candidates, incumbent Ben Van Diepenbeek and newcomer Shawn Drennan, were present as were Colborne candidates Glen McNeil and Bill Vanstone. Absent from the meeting were Colborne candidates Arden Eddie and Michael Leitch.
Each candidate was introduced by the organizers and then given three minutes to present their platform with the assembled ratepayers starting with Van Diepenbeek who said he believes his time and experience with council speaks for itself.
“I can stand here and tell you I’m committed to the municipality and open communication, but I believe actions speak stronger than words,” he said. “I have a 99 per cent attendance rate at local and county council and I’m well prepared for each meeting and each agenda. I don’t hide issues, I seek out facts and address them. I work well with local media to make sure information does get out to you and I recognize the importance of working with staff.”
Van Diepenbeek stated he has worked for 17 years as reeve and six prior to that as a councillor and he wants to continue to serve the municipality.
“I’m proud of ACW and what we’ve accomplished,” he said. “We live in a rural municipality and we care about each other.”
Drennan took to the podium next and said his main goal at the meeting was the same as his main goal if he is elected to council: to hear about the issues.
“Primarily I’m here to listen,” he said. “I’ve found, as I’ve [travelled] across the province, that councils don’t always listen. People have been shut out of the municipal process, even in our own township. Decisions are made, then open forum is held at council meetings so people are only allowed to speak after the decision has been made. Change can only be affected if the council re-opens the issues.”
Drennan also said he would like to change the way council deals with bylaws, saying having all three readings on the same night wasn’t right.
“It doesn’t let council consider the issues or have input,” he said. “I want to change the procedural bylaw and have third readings brought in at a different meeting if council so chooses.”
Reaching out to different areas was also one of Drennan’s promises. He said he would like to move council meetings around the township to locations like St. Helens and Benmiller.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 October 2014 13:40
Read more...
 
Morris-Turnberry Candidates Speak at Belgrave Meeting - Oct. 16 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Shawn Loughlin   
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 12:45
On Oct. 9, the Belgrave Community Centre played host to the second of two all-candidates meetings for candidates in Morris-Turnberry’s Oct. 27 election.
The first all-candidates meeting hosted in Morris-Turnberry took place in Bluevale on Oct. 2. For full coverage of that meeting and candidates’ opening remarks, see the Oct. 9 issue of The Citizen.
At the Belgrave meeting, incumbent Morris-Turnberry Mayor Paul Gowing chose to address some of the issues raised by both his challenger, current Morris-Turnberry Councillor Jamie McCallum, and members of the public at the Oct. 2 meeting in Bluevale.
Gowing said that despite claims that Morris-Turnberry needs to “tighten its purse strings” the municipality is in fine financial shape and has “its house in order”.
He also chose to address one of the biggest issues facing Morris-Turnberry, as identified by his fellow candidates, which is ongoing squabbles between North Huron and Morris-Turnberry.
He assured the dozens of people in the audience that Morris-Turnberry is not a difficult council to get along with. He said council hasn’t been looking for a fight with North Huron and that Morris-Turnberry has great working relationships with other neighbouring municipalities, Huron East, Howick and Central Huron.
He said that contrary to many opinions, ongoing negotiations with North Huron regarding cross-border servicing are, in his opinion, not a case of Morris-Turnberry being hard to get along with, but council being faced with “unreasonable demands” from North Huron.
He also stated that he has properly represented the municipality at the Huron County Council level as Morris-Turnberry’s sole representative. He says he now has four years of experience voting at the Huron County Council level and he has served as chair of one of the committee of the whole meetings. He said he is well-respected by his peers at the county level.
McCallum reiterated his well-established platform, saying that Morris-Turnberry needs to tighten its purse strings. Two ways he plans on doing this, he said at the Belgrave meeting, would be to implement a four-year wage freeze on municipal employees and he would halt any municipal land purchases, saying that municipalities, specifically Morris-Turnberry, should not be in the real estate business.
After the two mayoral candidates, all 10 councillor candidates and the two Avon Maitland District School Board trustee candidates (incumbent trustee Colleen Schenk, tending to a family emergency in Boston was represented by her husband John) made their opening remarks, the floor was opened to questions from residents.
The first question was asked by Margaret Vincent, who asked candidates how they would go about attracting new business to Huron County, which would in turn create jobs.
Former deputy-mayor Jim Nelemans, running for a councillor position, answered first, saying one of his priorities, should he be elected, would be economic development.
Nelemans, however, said that it would be foolish to focus on economic development simply on behalf of the municipality. Partnerships, he said, would be necessary throughout the county to attract new business and develop the economy.
Gowing said his thoughts were along the same lines and Nelemans’ saying that a new committee had been struck at the Huron County level to approach economic development from a private business perspective.
He didn’t think, however, that people should lose sight of just how many strong businesses are currently thriving in Morris-Turnberry; over 150 of them, he said.
Incumbent Councillor John Smuck said there have been some barriers to economic development, one of which is the cross-border servicing agreement between Morris-Turnberry and North Huron.
Candidate Sharen Zinn said she would like to see more full-time jobs come to the area, which has recently been dominated by part-time and contract positions.
The next question dealt with the hotly-debated Guelph-to-Goderich Rail Trail proposal, which has been especially debated in Morris-Turnberry.
Smuck spoke first, saying he has been firmly against it from the beginning. If the trail was to go ahead, he said, it should be completely funded by the users, similar to ATV and snowmobile trails. Because no permits would be sold for the trail, however, he wasn’t sure how any money would come in.
Gowing said there were plenty of questions that still needed to be answered in regards to the trail. If those questions were answered and the day-to-day operations of the trail were in good hands, it could be a good way for people to see more of Huron County, he said. However, he didn’t want to see anything go ahead until the questions were answered.
He also added that the trail will end up being an agreement among the county and the province, the owner of the land. He said council’s job when it comes to the trail will be to bring any residents’ concerns forward and make sure they’re addressed.
Councillor candidate and former Morris-Turnberry Mayor Dorothy Kelly said she recalled bad experiences with the former CP rail line that ran through the municipality years ago. She said there was excessive dumping of garbage and old chairs and couches on the former line. She also felt that it would only be a matter of time until it was downloaded from the province to the municipality, so it would be best for the municipality to not get involved.
Incumbent David Baker also spoke against the trail, saying council wasn’t in favour of the trail when it was first proposed and nothing has changed.
Another question dealt with Morris-Turnberry’s rocky relationship with North Huron.
Mayoral candidate McCallum said that honest, face-to-face communication would be the path to a solution, rather than “playing volleyball” through the media, press releases and e-mails.
He said the two municipalities should “lock themselves” in a room and iron out their issues, rather than engaging through third-party sources.
Gowing agreed, saying there is no other way to reach a workable solution than to sit down and discuss the issues face to face.
He said that solutions like the one proposed by Morris-Turnberry Council are not uncommon, but North Huron has continued to be unreasonable in the face of logic. What is being asked of Morris-Turnberry, he said, is “totally unacceptable” and there is no way under North Huron’s proposal that Morris-Turnberry can be competitive in attracting new businesses.
Jamie McCallum, right, is challenging incumbent Morris-Turnberry Mayor Paul Gowing for his position and he was the first to speak last week at an all-candidates meeting held at the Belgrave Community Centre while John Schenk, left, husband of incumbent Avon Maitland District School Board trustee Colleen Schenk, and incumbent Councillor John Smuck, centre, look on. Dozens were in attendance to meet the candidates and hear a little more about their platforms. (Shawn Loughlin photo)
On Oct. 9, the Belgrave Community Centre played host to the second of two all-candidates meetings for candidates in Morris-Turnberry’s Oct. 27 election.
The first all-candidates meeting hosted in Morris-Turnberry took place in Bluevale on Oct. 2. For full coverage of that meeting and candidates’ opening remarks, read the Oct. 9 story here.
At the Belgrave meeting, incumbent Morris-Turnberry Mayor Paul Gowing chose to address some of the issues raised by both his challenger, current Morris-Turnberry Councillor Jamie McCallum, and members of the public at the Oct. 2 meeting in Bluevale.
Gowing said that despite claims that Morris-Turnberry needs to “tighten its purse strings” the municipality is in fine financial shape and has “its house in order”.
He also chose to address one of the biggest issues facing Morris-Turnberry, as identified by his fellow candidates, which is ongoing squabbles between North Huron and Morris-Turnberry.
He assured the dozens of people in the audience that Morris-Turnberry is not a difficult council to get along with. He said council hasn’t been looking for a fight with North Huron and that Morris-Turnberry has great working relationships with other neighbouring municipalities, Huron East, Howick and Central Huron.
He said that contrary to many opinions, ongoing negotiations with North Huron regarding cross-border servicing are, in his opinion, not a case of Morris-Turnberry being hard to get along with, but council being faced with “unreasonable demands” from North Huron.
He also stated that he has properly represented the municipality at the Huron County Council level as Morris-Turnberry’s sole representative. He says he now has four years of experience voting at the Huron County Council level and he has served as chair of one of the committee of the whole meetings. He said he is well-respected by his peers at the county level.
McCallum reiterated his well-established platform, saying that Morris-Turnberry needs to tighten its purse strings. Two ways he plans on doing this, he said at the Belgrave meeting, would be to implement a four-year wage freeze on municipal employees and he would halt any municipal land purchases, saying that municipalities, specifically Morris-Turnberry, should not be in the real estate business.
After the two mayoral candidates, all 10 councillor candidates and the two Avon Maitland District School Board trustee candidates (incumbent trustee Colleen Schenk, tending to a family emergency in Boston was represented by her husband John) made their opening remarks, the floor was opened to questions from residents.
The first question was asked by Margaret Vincent, who asked candidates how they would go about attracting new business to Huron County, which would in turn create jobs.
Former deputy-mayor Jim Nelemans, running for a councillor position, answered first, saying one of his priorities, should he be elected, would be economic development.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 October 2014 13:41
Read more...
 
Huron East Seeks Legal Advice Regarding Wind Turbine Coalition - Oct. 16 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Shawn Loughlin   
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 12:42
Huron East Council decided to get the opinion of its lawyer before deciding whether or not to get involved with ongoing legal action against the Province of Ontario pertaining to wind turbines.
Gerry Ryan, co-founder of Huron East Against Turbines (HEAT), made the official request of council at its Oct. 7 meeting. Ryan said he was appearing on behalf of HEAT, which was appearing on behalf of the appellants: a handful of families taking the province to court over the issue of wind turbines.
He told council that it’s not HEAT that’s taking the province to court, but the group is supporting the families that are, over three specific wind projects: the K2 project in Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh, the St. Columban project in Huron East and a project in Kincardine.
The case is widely known as the Shawn Drennan case, an ACW man fighting the Kingsbridge II project going up near his home farm, however, a number of other families have since joined the suit.
A request for a stay for the project was recently denied, however, but the appeal is set to go ahead next month. The judge did say, however, that the turbine companies were now proceeding at their own risk, should they continue construction while the court case plays out.
Ryan said that if the group was to win the appeal, the companies would then be responsible for decommissioning the turbines themselves and would have to return the land to pre-turbine levels.
Ryan asked council if the municipality would like to be granted intervenor status for the trial, which would come at a cost of between $2,000 and $3,000. Due to legal reasons, Ryan said he couldn’t provide council with many details, but suggested it would be an opportunity for council to have its concerns heard in a real court of law.
He said that those involved in the tribunal, which took place in Brussels, never thought they would win, as that process was simply an extension of the government. This, he said, would be a real court of law and it would be impartial.
If council chose to support the appeal, Ryan said, Huron East would then be part of a coalition supporting the appellants. The request came after Lambton County chose to support the appeal on a voluntary basis.
The county will support the appeal up to $60,000, Ryan said, as Lambton is facing the possibility of nearly 135 turbines in the area.
Ryan argued that when council attempted to have its voice heard on issues such as ice throw and the placement of one of the turbines in the St. Columban project, Huron East received form letters as a response and councillors had said they didn’t feel as though the Ministry of the Environment considered their concerns.
He assured council that Justice Lynne Leitch, while denying the stay, said that the case had merit and that it was not “vexatious” or “frivolous”.
Basically, Ryan said, this will be council’s only chance to do something about the wind turbines.
Councillor Les Falconer was confused about the municipality’s role in the case, should they approve intervenor status. Would Huron East then have to hire a lawyer? he asked.
Ryan said the municipality would not have to hire a lawyer. The case is being represented by leading human rights lawyer Julian Falconer.
Mayor Bernie MacLellan, however, was concerned about committing taxpayers’ dollars to legal action that doesn’t necessarily represent all taxpayers.
Putting aside the claims of adverse health effects from wind turbines, MacLellan said, the facts are that the St. Columban wind project is a business that has chosen to locate in Huron East and there are some residents who support it and there are some who don’t.
Having said that, he would be uncomfortable committing tax dollars to aid in a battle that only some of the Huron East taxpayers would want to wage.
Ryan disagreed, saying that council had already declared the municipality an unwilling host to wind turbines, this would be an opportunity for the municipality to get involved with the fight against wind turbines for a relatively low cost.
Falconer said that council had already asserted its stance by submitting complaints to the Ministry on a number of occasions, so getting involved would simply be an extension of that.
Brussels Councillor David Blaney was concerned about whether or not the costs would actually stop at $3,000.
As many people know, he said, appeals can go on and on through various different levels of the legal system. Would approving the motion, he asked, commit council to all of those stages, or would there be new approval required at each stage?
Ryan said approval would be required at each stage.
Deputy-Mayor Joe Steffler felt council should get legal advice before making any firm decision. He said council should know just how far councillors would be sticking the municipality’s neck out, should they choose to get involved.
Ryan told council, however, that time was of the essence and that a decision made next week would be too late, let alone next council meeting, which is scheduled for Oct. 21.
MacLellan then said that staff could be directed to talk to Huron East’s lawyer first thing the next day and once that legal opinion was sent out to all councillors through e-mail, if councillors were in favour, he would call a special meeting.
Council approved two motions pertaining to Ryan’s presentation. The first was to direct staff to seek a legal opinion on the municipality’s involvement in the case and the second was for MacLellan to raise the issue and ask Huron County Council to get involved at its committee of the whole meeting, scheduled for Oct. 8.
Both motions passed.
Upon calling the municipal office just prior to deadline, The Citizen learned that a legal opinion had been received by Huron East staff and it was unlikely that a special meeting to discuss the matter would be called in the coming days.
***
As directed by Huron East Council, Mayor Bernie MacLellan raised the possibility of Huron County Council becoming involved in the ongoing wind turbine appeal case as an intervenor.
MacLellan relayed the information to council, but said he could not provide a lot of background information, as very little was given to him and Huron East Council the previous night.
Goderich’s Deb Shewfelt wasn’t pleased with the proposal, saying he didn’t like the idea of MacLellan’s oral submission, saying it was out of order. If the group wanted to ask council for funding or to become involved, they should do so themselves, and in writing, he said.
Chief Administrative Officer Brenda Orchard said that staff would never ask council to vote on a proposal on the first day, so that shouldn’t be a concern. The motion, should council choose to make one, would be to direct staff to further investigate council getting involved and becoming a part of the coalition and then a report could be prepared and brought forward at a future meeting.
She said it was up to council, but that it wouldn’t make much sense to direct staff to spend time and resources investigating something that council had no intention on going ahead with.
Howick’s Art Versteeg agreed with Shewfelt, saying that if the group wants council to be involved, it should do so in writing and council would deal with it then. For the time being, he said, MacLellan’s report should be received and filed for information.
No motion was created as a result of MacLellan’s report.
Huron East Council decided to get the opinion of its lawyer before deciding whether or not to get involved with ongoing legal action against the Province of Ontario pertaining to wind turbines.
Gerry Ryan, co-founder of Huron East Against Turbines (HEAT), made the official request of council at its Oct. 7 meeting. Ryan said he was appearing on behalf of HEAT, which was appearing on behalf of the appellants: a handful of families taking the province to court over the issue of wind turbines.
He told council that it’s not HEAT that’s taking the province to court, but the group is supporting the families that are, over three specific wind projects: the K2 project in Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh, the St. Columban project in Huron East and a project in Kincardine.
The case is widely known as the Shawn Drennan case, an ACW man fighting the Kingsbridge II project going up near his home farm, however, a number of other families have since joined the suit.
A request for a stay for the project was recently denied, however, but the appeal is set to go ahead next month. The judge did say, however, that the turbine companies were now proceeding at their own risk, should they continue construction while the court case plays out.
Ryan said that if the group was to win the appeal, the companies would then be responsible for decommissioning the turbines themselves and would have to return the land to pre-turbine levels.
Ryan asked council if the municipality would like to be granted intervenor status for the trial, which would come at a cost of between $2,000 and $3,000. Due to legal reasons, Ryan said he couldn’t provide council with many details, but suggested it would be an opportunity for council to have its concerns heard in a real court of law.
He said that those involved in the tribunal, which took place in Brussels, never thought they would win, as that process was simply an extension of the government. This, he said, would be a real court of law and it would be impartial.
If council chose to support the appeal, Ryan said, Huron East would then be part of a coalition supporting the appellants. The request came after Lambton County chose to support the appeal on a voluntary basis.
The county will support the appeal up to $60,000, Ryan said, as Lambton is facing the possibility of nearly 135 turbines in the area.
Ryan argued that when council attempted to have its voice heard on issues such as ice throw and the placement of one of the turbines in the St. Columban project, Huron East received form letters as a response and councillors had said they didn’t feel as though the Ministry of the Environment considered their concerns.
He assured council that Justice Lynne Leitch, while denying the stay, said that the case had merit and that it was not “vexatious” or “frivolous”.
Read more...
 
Voter Information Letters Sent to Brussels in Error - Oct. 16 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Shawn Loughlin   
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 12:36
By now all Brussels residents will have received a Voter Information Letter (VIL) despite not having anyone to vote for.
Municipal staff was under the impression that letters simply would not be sent out to Brussels voters, but this was not the case.
At Huron East Council’s Oct. 7 meeting, Mayor Bernie MacLellan spoke about the situation, which had just been brought to his attention earlier that day.
After asking current Brussels Ward Councillor Frank Stretton, as a Brussels resident, if he had received his VIL, MacLellan announced that Brussels residents had all received VILs despite the fact that the mayor, deputy-mayor and Brussels Ward councillor positions have all been acclaimed.
The letters, however, will not affect any of the municipal election results. Voters, with their personal identification number from their VIL along with their birthday, will be able to access the voting system, however, once in the system, they will have no one to vote for, as every position for which they would normally vote has been acclaimed.
Chief Administrative Officer Brad Knight said the confusion may have arisen because the municipality is technically involved in the French Public District School Board election with four voters throughout Huron East, one of whom is in Brussels.
Knight apologized for the confusion, saying that the Brussels election situation is a unique one and information could have been included with the notices that have been mailed out to address some of the confusion.
If anyone has any questions regarding the voting system or their letters, call the Huron East office at 519-527-1060. VILs, however, can simply be disregarded in the Brussels Ward of Huron East.
By now all Brussels residents will have received a Voter Information Letter (VIL) despite not having anyone to vote for.
Municipal staff was under the impression that letters simply would not be sent out to Brussels voters, but this was not the case.
At Huron East Council’s Oct. 7 meeting, Mayor Bernie MacLellan spoke about the situation, which had just been brought to his attention earlier that day.
After asking current Brussels Ward Councillor Frank Stretton, as a Brussels resident, if he had received his VIL, MacLellan announced that Brussels residents had all received VILs despite the fact that the mayor, deputy-mayor and Brussels Ward councillor positions have all been acclaimed.
The letters, however, will not affect any of the municipal election results. Voters, with their personal identification number from their VIL along with their birthday, will be able to access the voting system, however, once in the system, they will have no one to vote for, as every position for which they would normally vote has been acclaimed.
Chief Administrative Officer Brad Knight said the confusion may have arisen because the municipality is technically involved in the French Public District School Board election with four voters throughout Huron East, one of whom is in Brussels.
Knight apologized for the confusion, saying that the Brussels election situation is a unique one and information could have been included with the notices that have been mailed out to address some of the confusion.
If anyone has any questions regarding the voting system or their letters, call the Huron East office at 519-527-1060. VILs, however, can simply be disregarded in the Brussels Ward of Huron East.
 
« StartPrev12NextEnd »

Page 1 of 2