Page 09 - The Wellington Advertiser

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Page 09 - The Wellington Advertiser
Section B of The Wellington Advertiser, Friday, September 26, 2014 PAGE NINE
MUNICIPAL ELECTION 2014
Town of Minto candidates
Geoff Gunson
COUNCILLOR
Town of Minto
Population:
8,334
Nichola McEwan
COUNCILLOR
Town of Minto
Number of private dwellings:
3,139
Geoff Gunson has called
Minto home for the past seven
years. Married to his wife Sarah,
they enjoy two beautiful children,
Candidate debates
One debate was already held in
Clifford on Sept. 22.
*A second meeting was being
planned in Drew for the week of
Oct. 5-11 but the final date and time
were not known by press time.
Rayven and Ryder.
As long as Geoff has lived in Harriston he has been
a local businessman for Eric Cox Sanitation as a sales
consultant. Geoff is a volunteer firefighter with Minto
Fire Harriston Station and a member of the Harriston
Legion.
Committed to plan and build for the future, providing
good leadership and working for a better tomorrow. An
important element of a member of council is the ability
to work together for the benefit of everyone.
Telephone: 519-897-9801
Email: [email protected]
Nichola McEwan is a teacher,
writer and artist who lives in
Minto with her husband and two
children. She is a volunteer for
Minto Arts Council, Minto Cultural Roundtable and a
member of LaunchIt Minto’s board of directors.
As a volunteer, Nichola recently wrote and delivered
a seminar at a national conference on rural communities
showcasing Minto and its people. Her love and
admiration for Minto is contagious.
Nichola has over 20 years experience working with
the public, eight years of higher education, strong
communication and interpersonal skills, problem solving
expertise and the creativity to think outside the box.
Email: [email protected]
Wages
Base rate of pay, mayor: $15,500
Base rate of pay, deputy mayor:
$12,500
Base rate of pay, councillors: $10,500
Voting
Eligible voters
as of Sept. 18: 6,274
Mail in vote?: Yes
Council members: 7 (1 mayor,
1 deputy mayor, 5 councillors)
Don Senek
COUNCILLOR
Town of Minto
I have been a resident of the
Clifford area for the past eight
years and was a resident of
Palmerston for 12.
I am retired from Spinrite
Yarns in Listowel where I held various sales positions
over a period of 28 years.
I am the immediate past chair of the Minto Safe
Community Committee, a member of the Wellington
County Safe Community Committee leadership
table as well as a member of the Clifford Downtown
Revitalization Committee.
When elected, I will continue to work to keep this
a safe community and also concentrate on promoting
more new businesses and industries for Minto.
Telephone: 519-327-4411
Email: [email protected]
Dave Turton
COUNCILLOR
Town of Minto
I was born and raised on a
farm in Minto Township and have
lived here all my life.
My wife, Pam (McPhail) and I
live in Harriston and have three grown children.
I am employed as a project manager/chief engineer
at Rothsay.
I have been an active member of my church, and
have volunteered as a coach/executive member for
numerous sports teams, and service clubs in Minto.
The past three terms I have enjoyed being a councillor
helping to make Minto a great place to live.
I would appreciate your continued support and
consideration at the polls this October.
Telephone: 519-338-2407
Email: [email protected]
Mayoral race: Bridge stresses fiscal record, Fisk pledges to answer concerns
by Patrick Raftis
CLIFFORD - Minto Mayor
George Bridge emphasized
his record of debt reduction
and fiscal responsibility, while
challenger Terry Fisk promised to get answers to concerns affecting local residents
during a candidates meeting
hosted by the Minto Chamber
of Commerce here on Sept. 22.
The chamber had asked
candidates to specifically
address economic development in their presentations and
Bridge expressed enthusiasm
for the topic.
“I could be up here for three
hours. It’s a passion of mine,”
he stated.
Bridge noted he is also the
chair of Wellington County’s
economic development committee, “which was created
through the work of Warden
Chris White and myself.”
During the 2010 election
campaign, Bridge said he “talked about running the town as a
business.”
“In 2010 our debt was
higher than our reserves,” said
Bridge, who pointed out the
reverse is now true, with the
town having $2.5 million more
in reserves than it owes.
Bridge said that ratio puts
the town in “a great position”
to take advantage of federal and
provincial funds that become
available through future shared
infrastructure programs.
“I also wanted an open
and responsible council,” said
Bridge, who pointed out that all
council meetings are now video
recorded and posted online.
“I know you guys watch
them,” he said explaining he
Mayoral candidates - Town of Minto mayoral candidates, incumbent George Bridge, left, and current
deputy mayor Terry Fisk, go over notes at a candidates meeting in Clifford on Sept. 22.
photo by Patrick Raftis
often hears from residents
about the content of the meeting videos.
“That’s great to see that
because we don’t get a lot of
people out at council.”
Bridge said a strong relationship developed between
the town and local business
community is among the keys
to successful local economic
development.
“We have a great relationship between the town and the
chamber,” he said. “It’s important that the town works with
the business people.”
The mayor said he has
enjoyed meeting community
members and “creating real
action plans for Minto,” but
added that Minto’s enthusiastic
volunteer base is what makes
implementation of those plans
possible.
“Here in Minto (volunteers)
add an immense amount of
value to our communities. I
look around this room and see
there’s a lot of people here
who are on those committees,
giving back to the place where
you live.”
Bridge pointed out the
current council “thought outside the box” for such economic development projects
as the purchase of the former
Harriston Senior School property that was sold to a developer for residential construction and the decision to sell
the former ball diamond property in Clifford for residential
development, while creating a
new sports field on land at the
newly-developed Rotary Park.
While
complimenting
Minto staff for their efficiency
and dedication, Bridge noted
the number of municipal
employees in the by town has
actually been reduced by 3.75
per cent in the last four years.
“Being a full-time mayor of
Minto for the past four years
has been an incredible, exciting and rewarding experience,”
Bridge said.
Fisk didn’t spend much
time dwelling on past accomplishments during his turn at
the microphone.
Holding up a set of election
pamphlets from his 2010 campaign he quipped, “I’m the type
of person who finds it difficult
to talk about things I’ve done
in the past. These are cards I
had when I was successful as
deputy mayor four years ago,
we had part of a box left and
my wife asked me to bring a
box and see if we could get rid
of them.”
Fisk said he is proud that
most of the goals listed on the
pamphlet have been accomplished.
Providing responsible leadership was one of those goals.
“I want to be head of council because of what we were
able to accomplish working
as team,” said Fisk, adding
improved staff morale and fiscal responsibility were among
the other goals he feels have
been attained.
Fisk said he also promised
to “be vigilant about keeping
the (Palmerston and District)
hospital open.
“I think our hospital is very,
very vibrant now,” he stated,
adding he feels there is little
danger of the facility being
shut down in the future.
Fisk, who represents Minto
on both Saugeen Valley and
Maitland Valley conservation
authority boards, also cited
environmental initiatives, such
as having council and staff
members voluntarily donate
one cent per kilometre from
mileage claims to the Trees for
Minto program as sources of
personal pride. He suggested in
the future an anaerobic digester
could be added to the Harriston
lagoon system to generate energy for the industrial
park, allowing cheap energy
to be offered as an incentive to
industries locating there.
Fisk credited the “exceptional staff we have,” for the
success of most initiatives.
“We as a council get all the
accolades,” he said. However,
he added, “It’s our staff. They
are doing the legwork and
doing the groundwork. We
approve all of these initiatives and maybe sometimes we
tweak something, but very seldom is something sent back.”
That said, he indicated
changes could be made in the
area of staffing.
“We need to tweak a couple of departments. We need
to maybe have some better
succession planning in some
departments.”
Fisk said another thing he is
concerned about is the quality
of education locally. He said
recently-released EQAO scores
for Palmerston Public School
are alarming.
“It’s abysmal,” he stated,
noting reading and writing and
math scores at the school all
came in around 30 per cent.
“That’s unacceptable. They
are part of our families. They
are citizens of our municipality so it’s up to us to see why
we’re having scores like this.
If I’m your mayor we’ll be
getting answers to why we’re
getting scores like that at one
of our schools,” Fisk pledged.
Fisk promised to represent
all citizens of Minto if elected.
“It doesn’t matter what your
status is in the community, if
you have an issue I’m going to
take a stand for you.”
The meeting format did not
include a public question and
answer period. Instead, candidates mingled with the crowd
following their formal presentations and answered questions
individually.
For meeting coverage of
Minto councillor and county
councillor candidates, see
article in front section of this
week’s Advertiser.