Kirsten Gardner to seek election as deputy mayor

First contested seat – Friday afternoon (June 15) at 4 p.m. Kirsten Gardner arrived at the South Dundas Municipal Centre in Morrisburg with nomination papers and a stack of endorsements in hand. For this municipal election nomination forms must be accompanied with endorsement by at least 25 people eligible to vote. (The Leader/Comfort photo)

MORRISBURG – Friday, June 15 at 4:06 p.m. Kirsten Gardner filed nomination papers to seek election here in South Dundas.

The 47 year-old Morrisburg resident announced her intention to file for the position of deputy mayor to local media last Thursday evening.

Asked why she plans to seek election she said, “The number one reason stems from the fact that I have a great love and appreciation for South Dundas. I’ve always had it.”

“Elections bring about discussions, and I want to be part of those discussions,” she added.

“I am an action person,” Gardner told The Leader. “I have spoken and written about my concerns with the current council and I have talked about the importance of leadership,” she said. And so, she decided to file for the seat for which she has long had an interest. “It just happens that seat was one that someone else had already filed for.”

Gardner said that she gained a lot of clarity through the Upper Canada District School Board’s accommodation review process which put some South Dundas schools under the threat of closure. Through that process she became an ARC representative for her five year old daughter Reagan’s school.

“As a member of that committee it was frustrating to see that the elected officials weren’t doing more,” she said. “We came very close to losing schools. It was the community that saved the schools, not the municipality.”

“After being a member of the ARC committee, and the arrival of a new principal at Morrisburg Public School I got involved with the school council (chair). I did that because I really wanted to work with the parents to get their voices heard again,” she said.

She said that as a taxpayer she has had her own issues in dealing with the municipality and its service standards.

She knows the importance of heritage in the community and is disappointed to see that South Dundas has no clear sustainable heritage plan.

“It just seems like people are being left out of the conversation and that’s not right. People need to be heard.”

“As part of the discussions, I look forward to bringing ideas to the forefront and turning those ideas into action. I really want to start the conversation,” said Gardner. “I am ready to work and to use my experience to make decisions.”

Seeking election is something that Gardner has always thought about doing: “Our family believes in public service. That’s why I sit on the police services board (SDG OPP). Volunteering is how I met my husband – we were both victims responders. That’s why we volunteer as soccer coaches. That’s why my son Gardner (Sage) is the president of the Lost Villages Historical Society. It’s part of who we are.”

Kirsten Gardner once worked for the Township of South Dundas as its heritage coordinator (contract position) and she founded the South Dundas Antique Festival.

She was the first female Lions Club member in South Dundas as part of the Morrisburg and District Lions Club.

Gardner filing as deputy mayor that makes that position the first contested in South Dundas 45 days into the nomination period which opened May 1 and closes July 27, 2018.

Sitting deputy mayor Jim Locke announced last year that he will not seek re-election.

Sitting South Dundas councillor Bill Ewing filed his nomination papers to seek election as deputy mayor on the day nominations opened.

Sitting South Dundas mayor Evonne Delegarde sent out a statement to area media April 16th saying that she will seek re-election as mayor. At that time, she said she planned to officially file her nomination papers in late May.