NORTH DUNDAS – As the mayor and deputy mayor positions were acclaimed at the close of nominations August 19, the focus of the October 24 municipal election in North Dundas is which three of the six candidates running will be best for the councillor chairs at the council table.
About 130 residents attended the question and answer session with the candidates on October 3 at the Winchester at the Joel Steele Community Hall. The meeting was hosted by the Dundas Federation of Agriculture and the North Dundas Chamber of Commerce. Bill Smirle was the event moderator.
After a few words from North Dundas Mayor Tony Fraser and incoming acclaimed Deputy Mayor Theresa Bergeron, candidates had three minutes each for opening statements before the floor opened for questions.
Eighteen questions were posted to the North Dundas candidates in a familiar format of two candidates asked to answer. There was no debate between candidates or opportunity for rebuttal.
Questions were evenly asked to all six candidates: William Healy, John Lennox, Jocelyn Morley, Matthew Uhrig, Stefan Kohut, and Gary Annable.
Opening remarks from Healy covered the need for more economic growth, a solution to the municipality’s water supply issues, and the need for more recreation amenities.
Lennox spoke of addressing the municipal water supply issues, and being against closed meetings at North Dundas council.
Morley said the township needs to improve communication between staff/council and residents, and she also highlighted her extensive background on volunteer boards.
Uhrig referred to his 10-years of covering North Dundas council when he served as editor of the Winchester Press as an “inside track” and that the township needs better long term planning and a new vision.
Kohut listed a number of issues for small business, passive youth recreation, and expressed concern for the financial direction of North Dundas citing lower reserves and the spectre of higher tax increases.
Annable, the only incumbent councillor seeking re-election, spoke of the infrastructure needs of North Dundas for roads, drinking water, and the landfill. He also detailed some of the accomplishments of the current term of council including road resurfacing.
Audience questions covered a wide variety of topics including handicap accessibility concerns, tourism needs, road-side mowing, Dundas Manor’s revitalization project, and what candidates would do for seniors living in the community. Questions also covered allowing ATVs to enter North Dundas villages, changes to volunteer firefighter regulations from the province, and various economic development issues in the township. The meeting is the second for North Dundas’ candidates before the October 24 election. A more informal meet-and-greet is planned in Chesterville.
Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Morrisburg Leader