Municipal election 2017
Two mayoral candidates in Ayer’s Cliff
Outgoing Mayor Alec van Zuiden announced early in the final year of his term that he would not seek re-election, giving potential candidates plenty of time to consider running for the position.
John Batrie and Vincent Gérin, both with council experience in Ayer’s Cliff, have entered the race.
The Record interviewed the two candidates and asked what they considered to be the major issues in their community, what makes them a good candidate for mayor, and what their vision for the municipality would be during their mandate.
Regarding issues in the community, Batrie said there are a lot of things going on at the moment, referring to the fire department moving out of town hall, as well as the newly acquired beach.
He added that the town will have some infrastructure projects to deal with in the near future.
“I think I’ve learned the ropes pretty good,” Batrie, said, when asked what made him a good candidate for mayor.
Batrie has 16 years of experience as a councillor in Ayer’s cliff.
“I have good project and good people management skills,” he added.
Batrie said he has a talent for urbanism and has initiated a number of projects with the town during his tenure, including a structure on the wharf that he first presented to council in 1999.
When asked about his vision for the municipality in the coming years, Batrie said he had no plan for any mega projects, per se.
“There are some big private projects
coming up that will require some administration,” Batrie said. He also suggested it was time to do some consolidation, but explained that there is a lot going on with the town right now and his immediate plan would be to ‘deal with what’s on the plate.’
Gérin said preserving what Ayer’s cliff currently has and focusing on commercial development to give the municipality an extra edge would be his main focus.
He added that it would be important to strike a balance with the upcoming development plans for the Ripplecove while respecting the environment and surrounding neighbours.
Maintaining strong leadership would is the key to a thriving community, according to Gérin.
Gérin has eight years of experience as mayor of Ayer’s Cliff. He was also a councillor previously.
He stepped down after his last mandate to be able to focus more on his fulltime employment.
According to Gérin, his time away from council has allowed him to see the town from a different perspective. He believes the combination of his previous experience and a new, more global view of the municipality make him a good mayoral candidate.
Gérin said his vision for the future of Ayer’s Cliff is to make it a regional hub within the MRC.
He said no other town of its size can boast close to 400 industrial jobs, a health clinic, a grocery store, and fairgrounds that are active virtually each weekend. Gérin said he would like to maintain the current dynamism of the town and provide a leadership role to increase Ayer’s Cliff’s potential.
Among the councillors, Patrick Proulx (Seat 1) and Robert Lacoste (Seat 2) have been elected by acclamation.
The other four seats have multiple candidates running.
Peter James Mcharg (Seat 3) is running for re-election, and is up against Philippe Dusseault to keep his position.
France Coulombe (Seat 6), also running for re-election, is being challenged by Michael Crook.
Three candidates, Roland Lamoureux, Luc Jetté and Stacey Belknap-keet are vying for the position of councillor Seat 5.
Nicholas Plourde and Stephane Richard are running against each other for Seat 4 on the Ayer’s Cliff municipal council.