“I have worked really hard over the last four years to earn this position,” said Evonne Delegarde, who was at the Iroquois Legion when she learned that the people of South Dundas elected her mayor of South Dundas, and the first female mayor of this municipality.
Around 8 p.m., a crowd of about 60, including most of the South Dundas municipal election candidates had gathered at the South Dundas Municipal centre in council chambers to await the results of the 2014 election.
There they waited, and waited, and the crowd dwindled to about a dozen, when the clerk finally read the results at 11:20 p.m.
Archie Mellan, Bill Ewing and Marc St. Pierre were among those who stayed at SDMC to hear the results. Once the results were announced the men who where elected councillor received congratulations from defeated mayor Steven Byvelds and defeated councillor Jim Graham.
St. Pierre, led the polls for the councillor seats with 2104 votes.
“My feeling is one of excitement,” said St. Pierre, and, “I’m a little tired,” he said of the unexpectedly long wait for results.
“The last few weeks have been great, and the next four years will be a good adventure,” said the first time councillor, who lives in Mariatown. “We do have some issues to deal with, and I’m confident that those elected can deal with them.”
“It’s time for change,” said Bill Ewing. “We should have a good crew here, so let’s get at it.” Ewing lives in Iroquois, and has previously served as a member of South Dundas council when the ward system was still in place. He represented the Iroquois ward. Ewing received 1,813 votes in Monday’s election.
Archie Mellan was re-elected as councillor. “It was a tight race,” he said, looking at numbers between he and fourth place finisher Jim Mills. Mellan received 1,328 votes, only 15 more than Mills. Mellan is from Hulbert.
“It’s looking like I will be back, and I’m looking forward to another challenging and exciting four years,” said Mellan. “I’m sad to see Steven and Jim go,” said Mellan of Byvelds and Graham, both of whom have served two terms on South Dundas council. “They were both extremely hard-working and dedicated individuals. Losing them will be a loss for South Dundas, but the slack will be picked up by our new members.”
At the Iroquois Legion, Delegarde offered congratulations to all those elected and “kudos” to all the candidates.
“I am really pleased with the results,” she said. “Thanks to everyone who supported me.”
Of being elected the first female mayor of South Dundas, she said, “I hadn’t really thought of that, it certainly breaks with tradition, so I thank the people for the confidence they have in me.”
Delegarde is very excited that she will now be part of the SDG Counties council, and she will look to re-elected deputy mayor Jim Locke for his knowledge of counties and issues and procedures to guide her into the new venture.
Leading up to election day, Delegarde said she had a very positive feeling. From the verbal support she had been receiving she felt like she would win. “I didn’t think it would be by that much,” she said. She figured that she would win, expecting a 60:40 split. When the numbers finally came in, it was a 67:33 split, in her favour. Delegarde received 2,807 votes compared to Byvelds’ 1,388.
“I’m not surprised by the result,” said Jim Locke, who was re-elected to the deputy mayor’s seat with 1,900 voted compared to the 1,344 votes that Del Jones received.
“I thought the mayor’s race would be close. Evonne worked hard at it, and the people have spoken,” said Locke, who lives in Iroquois. “I look forward to working with her and the new council.”
As for his own win Locke said that he didn’t really work hard at campaigning. “I just let it be, and left it up to the people to decide.”
Of the 8,380 electors in South Dundas, 4,265 voted – a 51 per cent voter turnout. That’s down from the last election which saw a 53 per cent turnout, which was down from the 2006 election when 59 per cent exercised their right to vote.
In this election, 2,255 electors chose to vote by internet, 1,053 in person at the South Dundas Municipal Centre in Morrisburg and 957 by phone.