LONG SAULT – Over 200 people attended the first of two all-candidates meetings in South Stormont on September 26th in Long Sault where candidates found common ground on a number of issues facing the township. Those included the aging waste-water treatment system in Ingleside, safety concerns on Highway 138, and access to the waterfront.
All councillor candidates were able to address the crowd, followed by the deputy-mayoral and mayoral candidates.
In all, nine candidates are vying for three seats. Newcomer Andrew Guindon said he would push for more transparency and fiscal responsibility in the township. He also identified senior transportation and doctor retention as areas of concern.
Louise Leclerc told the audience that to address issues with the recent MPAC assessment increases to agricultural land, she would work to lower the farm property tax rate for farmers. She said that she would push for the province to add left turn lanes to Highway 138 as a measure that would help with safety issues.
“It’s not rocket science,” she said.
Ingleside resident Jennifer MacIsaac said that the community needs to protect its assets including schools and community buildings. This includes regaining access to the Lancer Centre, which was shuttered when Rothwell-Osnabruck Secondary School was closed in June 2017.
Donna Primeau is the only incumbent councillor seeking re-election for that position. If re-elected she would push for video equipment that was purchased but never installed to be used to broadcast meetings for the public. She also sees hiring of a new CEO for the St. Lawrence Parks Commission as an opportunity for cooperation between the SLPC and South Stormont.
Deputy-mayor candidate David Smith said he is a “roll up your sleeves and get it done kind of guy.” He said he would push for the new water treatment plant in Ingleside as well as push for seniors housing.
Both Smith, and fellow deputy-mayor candidate Richard Waldroff, serve on the present council as councillors.
Waldroff said he wanted to build on the successes of the past four years and would work to secure funding for a replacement water treatment plant. He also wants to add a junior councillor position to council to get a youth perspective on issues, and to establish a water front study group to push for more access to the St. Lawrence.
Mayoral candidate Christopher Bonneville told the audience he wanted to move on from old thinking at the township and would work to be the people’s voice at the council table.
Tammy Hart, presently deputy-mayor and seeking the mayor’s chair, said the last four years have been a success. She said that she wanted to be a voice for the rural population and was open to installing a web camera to live stream meetings.
Bryan McGillis told the crowd that he wants to increase internet connectivity in the township, reestablish connections with other communities and the media, and address 10-year roads plan for all South Stormont roads.
Voters in South Stormont go to the polls October 22nd.