Three councillor candidates join the race, 14 vying for South Dundas seats

Friday was nomination day for the October 27 municipal election, and on that final day, South Dundas gained three more councillor candidates.

South Dundas voters will now have the opportunity from two mayoral candidates, three deputy mayoral candidates and nine councillor candidates.

The three new councillor candidates gained this week include Mahlon Locke, Marc St. Pierre and Robert Gillard.

“I have never been on council before, so I figured that a councillor seat would  be a good place to start,” said Locke.

“My election platform is that I don’t have a platform,” he said, explaining that he is submitted his name for councillor because he is a concerned citizen.

Locke has contemplated running for council in the past, but work and other commitments had put a damper on the idea at the time. Locke retired from Bell Canada in 2012. 

“I now have more time and energy to put towards things I am interested in, one of them being part of township council, if elected,” he said.

“There are events that have happened in the past that I, and others do not understand. I am hoping that be running for councillor, those answers and others will become readily available and I, in turn, will be able to pass this information on to other people,” said Locke.

“The money has already been spent. I believe we need to digest the debt we now hold and try to operate status quo.”

Locke wants to help others, and he believes being closer to the centre of activity will allow him to do just that.

Marc St. Pierre filed is nomination papers for councillor shortly after Locke.

St. Pierre has been thinking about running for South Dundas council for several years. He seriously contemplated a run in the last municipal election, but decided that then, his young daughter should be his focus. She is now 11, and St. Pierre believes that this time the position is a better fit for him and his family.

“Economic Development, fire services and waterfront planning are a few issues where I have an opinion,” said St. Pierre.  “I think I can offer some expertise,” said St. Pierre, who has experience with land development and municipal infrastructure. “I have also been a firefighter for years, so I can offer some additional viewpoints there,” he said.

Although St. Pierre works in Kanata, he plans to continue to live in South Dundas, long-term. “I like living in South Dundas. It’s a good place to live. “I think there’s always room for community improvement,” said St. Pierre, who wants to be part of those improvements.

St. Pierre believes that for a newcomer to municipal politics, being elected councillor is the right place to start. “I really think there’s a learning curve,” he said, adding that while he is learning about being a councillor, he can at the same time bring something to the decision-making process.

The final name added to the list of candidates was Robert (Rowdy) Gillard, one that is not new to the local political scene.

Gillard is a 30 year, plus, veteran of municipal council, having served in every position including councillor, deputy mayor and mayor.

He sees councillor as the best fit for him in this election.

“By being at the table, I can help those out there that need help,” said Gillard. “I think I can contribute.”

Gillard would like to find a way to pursue affordable housing opportunities. “The average person can’t afford things, the way it is now,” he said.

Gillard, who had some health issues, says he is now feeling very well, and he looks forward to getting back into municipal politics.

“Councillor is a great place to do that. It’s the position where you have the most time to listen to the concerns of local people,” said Gillard. “I like when people feel like they can come to you with their issues.”

Gillard will have a limited number of election signs, instead opting to donate those funds to local charities.

Incumbent mayor Steven Byvelds and councillor Evonne Delegarde are facing off for the top spot. The deputy mayors race is a three man race between incumbent Jim Locke, former councillor Del Jones and political newcomer Carl Matthews-McIntyre. The list of nine councillor candidates vying for the three available councillor seats includes Phillip Blancher, Bill Ewing, Bert Geertsma, Robert Gillard, Jim Graham, Mahlon Locke, Archie Mellan, Jim Mills and Marc St. Pierre.

Voters in South Dundas will have the opportunity to vote by phone or internet. A paper ballot polling station will also be available.

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