New Central Huron Council installed - Dec. 6, 2018
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
The new Central Huron Council was officially installed on Monday afternoon with seven of the eight faces returning to the table, with the addition of Michael Russo as a councillor in the west ward.
Mayor Jim Ginn, Deputy-Mayor Dave Jewitt and Councillors Alex Westerhout, Alison Lobb, Adam Robinson and Russo were all sworn in on Monday. Councillors Marg Anderson and Dan Colquhoun were not able to attend the ceremony, so they were sworn in privately in town hall.
Ginn spoke to those in attendance, saying that with seven members of an eight-member council seeking re-election and all returning to office, it was clearly a sign that the previous Central Huron Council had been doing a great job.
He said council had been working as a team and accomplished much during the previous four years.
When he spoke as the head of council four years earlier, he said, Central Huron was done with being a follower and it was time to be a leader. He said he felt that had happened in the four years following that statement.
Some of the successes he said the council brought forward included the installation of solar panels that are now generating in excess of $500,000 per year to help offset taxes, the creation of the private business Windmill Lake Wake and Eco Park, the seniors dances that draw many people to Central Huron every week and the recent announcement of the new OPP station in the north end of Clinton.
The previous council, he said, had been able to connect with the community unlike many councils before. He cited specifically the annual mayor’s mingle as an example of council’s relationship with Central Huron ratepayers.
He compared it to the mayor’s luncheon in Goderich where local business owners are invited to have lunch with the mayor. The mayor’s mingle, by comparison, he said, invites all residents and offers a much more casual atmosphere, so much so that new mayor-elect in Goderich John Grace said he hoped to emulate what Central Huron is doing during his term.
While he felt council had been successful in its previous term, he said that the new council also has its work cut out for it and that there are plenty of decisions left to be made.
“Our job is not done and there are issues moving forward,” Ginn said.
He specifically cited the repurposing of the Bluewater Youth Centre building when the province releases ownership of it as one of the projects on the horizon. Ginn also said that the Clinton Library has not received its accreditation and that will have to be addressed in the coming term of council as well.
He also said that work at the utilities building, ongoing issues at the sewage treatment plant and the potential for a number of senior staff members to retire in the coming years will make the challenge great, but he said he was confident that council could tackle whatever was thrown its way.
One of the strengths of the outgoing council, he said, has been its ability to connect with young residents of the community. Connecting with the school-aged children, he said, is a key factor in insuring that they will consider returning to Huron County once they have completed their post-secondary education.
Council then broke for a short reception and held its first official meeting.