Four more years
Signage is undoubtedly being collected throughout Haliburton County as I write this, as the proverbial dust of another series of municipal elections settles over the community.
Overall, in Minden Hills and Algonquin Highlands, there will not be an incredibly large degree of change in the faces positioned around council tables; four of the collective 12 seats on the two councils went to rookie councillors.
In Minden Hills, incumbent Mayor Brent Devolin reclaimed his seat at the head of the table, besting competitors Wayne Hancock and Jarrett Campbell. The mayoral contest was by no means a runaway, and that Hancock’s campaign centred so much on criticism of the arena project should give members of the new council pause. The project, as it stands, is unpopular with many Minden Hills residents. The results of the election don’t change that. It’s worth a second look.
Ward 2 and 3 councillors Pam Sayne and Jean Neville each won their seats back, as did Ron Nesbitt, in the councillor-at-large position.
Longtime Ward 1 Councillor Lisa Schell was acclaimed as the township’s new deputy mayor, as veteran Deputy Mayor Cheryl Murdoch steps down. Thank you, Cheryl, for your many years of service to the township.
Newcomers are Jennifer Hughey and Bob Carter, who will be councillors for Ward 1.
In Algonquin Highlands, three of its five members were acclaimed, those being Mayor Carol Moffatt and Ward 2 councillors Lisa Barry and Liz Danielsen. Newcomers are Julia Shortreed and Jennifer Dailloux, making the big story in Algonquin Highlands that it will have an all-women council in the upcoming term; definitely a first for Haliburton County, and perhaps the province.
Perhaps the biggest story from Monday’s elections, though, certainly one spurring much conversation the morning after, unfolded in Dysart et al, where current Deputy Mayor Andrea Roberts unseated perennial Mayor Murray Fearrey. Fearrey has led Dysart for decades; longer than some of us have been alive.
Congratulations to Andrea on her victory, and congratulations to Murray on a long, and what will become legendary, political career. Holding public office for that many years is an exceptional feat accomplished by few, and Murray’s contributions to the community during that time are certainly too numerous to list in this space.
Indeed, congratulations to all the winners, and thanks to all those who put their names forward. As I’ve written in this space many times, it’s not an easy thing to do, and the strength of our local democracy is best served by choice.
So, onward. It will be interesting to see what unfolds during the next four years. Certainly, at the upper-tier level, it’s time for an investigation of creating a single-tier government in Haliburton County. Surely, the election campaign has made that clear to everyone.