LONG SAULT – The newly elected seventh council of the Township of South Stormont was sworn into office at its December 5th inaugural meeting in Long Sault.
The council, consisting of mayor Bryan McGillis, deputy mayor David Smith, and councillors Jennifer MacIsaac, Andrew Guindon, and Cindy Woods, took their oaths of office, administered by director of corporate services/clerk Loriann Harbers.
Member of Parliament Guy Lauzon, South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds, and North Glengarry deputy mayor Carma Williams brought greetings.
“I know that South Dundas and South Stormont are hooked at the hip with the Upper Canada Region,” Byvelds said.
“I think Mayor McGillis and I have visions of our waterfront and want to utilize them to the best of our ability. Working together is the best way of achieving that goal.”
In McGillis’ inaugural address he referenced a phrase from Byvelds’ election campaign.
“Steven said that he had spent four years in the penalty box,” McGillis said. “I have too, and now we’re back and we have our sticks on the ice.”
McGillis told The Leader after the ceremony that he sees his first priority as advancing the waste water treatment plan for Ingleside.
“Right now we are in the stages for design and we have money set aside for that,” he said. “Once that’s done we can apply for funding to reconstruct and upgrade the system.”
He said that he wants to talk to other industries such as Parmalat, which is purchasing the Kraft facility in Ingleside.
“It is a necessity for municipalities, if they want future growth,” McGillis said. “The province wants municipalities to be self sustainable, and we can’t do that without growth.”
He said that strain on provincial finances will make municipal funding more difficult.
McGillis sees the purchase of the Kraft plant as a positive, as there is room to grow in Ingleside.
He sees the industrial spaces in both Ingleside and Long Sault as a plus for attracting development.
As well, he said there is a need for commercial development, now that both village’s plazas are full.
Another challenge for South Stormont is access to the waterfront.
“We’re going to have a waterfront committee and look at recreational opportunities involving the water,” he said. “I think we’re going to have a good relationship with the Parks Commission. I’m looking forward to working with them.”
With the province now in the process of selling some surplus land, McGillis sees a potential for additions to the waterfront if available. Currently only land west of Belleville is available.
“If land becomes available I am certain council will look at it,” he said.
On the Upper Canada Region branding, McGills said that the two municipalities, South Stormont and South Dundas should continue working together.
“There has to be something marketable, an idea for the area,” he said.