Broad elected mayor in first election race

Mayor-elect Jason Broad and wife Shelley celebrate on election night (October 24). (The Leader/Blancher photo)

MORRISBURG – Forty-five per cent of South Dundas voters cast a ballot in Monday’s municipal election and when the votes were tallied the result was a clean-slate of new representatives.

By a margin of 436 votes in the three way race, Jason Broad was elected the next mayor of South Dundas. Kirsten Gardner finished second with 1,160 votes and Bill Ewing ended up third with 1,093.

A newcomer to municipal politics, Broad said at Monday night at South Dundas council chambers, “I’m excited. I’m ready. I’ve been preparing. I’ve worked hard during the campaign and the results are in. I’m ready to get started.”

Marc St. Pierre was elected deputy mayor with 2,040 votes, 928 more than Donald Lewis. Tammy Thom finished third with 681.

St. Pierre is the only person elected to council with previous municipal experience having served as a councillor during the 2014-2018 term when Evonne Delegarde was mayor.

“I get to come back. It’s pretty impressive actually,” said St. Pierre while looking at the numbers posted. “I’m overwhelmed: it’s shocking actually.”

“I’m looking forward to it,” he added. “This is awesome. I couldn’t have done this without a lot of support. I didn’t do this alone. I’m excited. Let’s get to it.”

“We’ve got a young group. I’m the veteran,” said St. Pierre.

South Dundas’ three available councillor seats will be filled by Cole Veinotte, Tom Smyth and Danielle Ward.

Veinotte led the polls receiving 2,219 votes. Smyth was second with 2,027 votes and Ward was third with 1,851 votes.

Unsuccessful in his re-election bid, councillor Lloyd Wells finished fourth with 1,527 votes followed by Michael Burton (1,484), Trevor Riopelle (681) and Jeff Welsh (506).

Veinotte told The Leader that he thought he had a good shot at getting elected, “But, I didn’t think I’d lead the polls to be honest,” said Veinotte. Of the group elected he said, “I think everyone will work well together and I think we can have some fun with it too.”

Tom Smyth was a little emotional and speechless when the results were announced. He said that although the voter turnout was a bit low: “I think we’re going to be okay.”

Once he’d had time to process the results, he said: “I’d like to thank the voters of South Dundas for their confidence in me and for believing in me. I hope to represent them the best way I can.”

Danielle Ward did not attend South Dundas council chambers where the results were announced due to illness.

The Leader reached out to her Tuesday morning.

“I am so appreciative of the support I received last night and all throughout the campaign,” said Ward. “I truly discovered the many strengths and passions that the community of South Dundas has and cannot wait to highlight and engage them over the next four years. I started out with the hope of sharing a few thoughts I had about the way things work in Municipalities and how they could be changed, and ended with a long list of exciting possibilities for the future of South Dundas. The best part of the entire process was the opportunities I had to exchange thoughts and ideas with many people including the candidates. I am hoping that this feedback and engagement will continue and grow as I move into a councillor role. I think the last council did a lot of good work and planning for South Dundas, and I am excited to get to work with the newly appointed team to continue to move forward.”

South Dundas voter participation for this election was 45.5 per cent, about 10 per cent lower than the last municipal election.

E-voting was the most popular voting method with about twice as many voters opting to vote online rather than in-person.

In a statement sent to The Leader at 5 a.m. Tuesday, mayor-elect Broad said: “I’m excited to start the turnover process with the current council and staff and will get right to work.”

“We have a great new team. We will start by ensuring that council and staff are prepared to execute their work as we enter the winter season. I will start to engage stakeholders in many of the reports we have on file and start prioritizing. I’ve been building relationships over the past nine weeks and have been in touch with our MP and MPP – I look forward to working with them.”

Regarding the team who will form the Eighth Council of the Municipality of South Dundas after being sworn in to office on, or after, November 15th, Broad said of deputy mayor-elect St. Pierre: “Marc’s work as an engineer and his previous council experience will be a great asset to this council table, as he’s committed to seizing and developing growth opportunities. I appreciate his dedication to South Dundas Fire and Emergency Services, the Morrisburg Waterfront Committee and the South Dundas Chamber of Commerce. We will be calling on these service experiences over the next four years.”

Of councillor-elect Smyth, Broad said: “Tom will be bringing his experience and knowledge of the agriculture sector to the council chamber. His insights into the council will be very valuable to this group. He’s proud to be the rural voice and I look forward to working with him.”

Of councillor-elect Ward, Broad said: “Danielle’s work experience and understanding of how a municipality functions will be a great asset at the council table. Her passion for transparency and her unique skill-set will help us build a stronger community.”

Of councillor-elect Veinotte, Broad said: “Cole brings youth, enthusiasm and business experience to our council. He is passionate about giving residents the opportunity to share their thoughts and input into projects and issues. I want to help him execute that.”

The final meeting of the Seventh Council of South Dundas will take place Tuesday, November 1. At that meeting clerk and deputy CAO Leslie Drynan will ask council to consider waiving the procedural bylaw so that the new council can meet and be sworn-in to office November 15th to ensure South Dundas’ next mayor and deputy mayor are sworn-in to attend SDG Counties inauguration on November 21.

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