2 new faces in North Stormont
Randy Douglas has retained his councillor seat while two first-time councillors, Roxane Villeneuve and political newcomer Steve Densham, join him at North Stormont’s council table.
Although other Ontario municipalities experienced voter glitches Monday night, that wasn’t the case in North Stormont where a smiling Betty de Haan, the township’s acting CAO and clerk, breezed into council chambers at 9 p.m. on voting night, results sheet in hand.
“We run things here in North Stormont like a well-oiled machine,” said new mayor Jim Wert with a laugh.
Mr. Wert and new Deputy-Mayor François Landry – who sat as councillors for the 2014-2018 term– were acclaimed following the retirements of mayor Dennis Fife and deputy mayor Bill McGimpsey.
Mr. Wert is a dairy and cash crop farmer who, with his wife, Nancy, operates Stanlee Farms east of Avonmore. A life-long resident of North Stormont, Mr. Wert has been involved in numerous community-based and agricultural organizations.
And yes, if you ask him, he is related to Les Wert of Williamstown, a cousin.
Mr. Landry, also a life-long North Stormont resident and the office manager for Annis O'Sullivan Vollebekk Ltd. Land surveyors in Embrun, is a captain and the training officer for the Crysler Station of the North Stormont Fire Department and also a volunteer with various committees.
First to arrive at empty council chambers in Berwick on voting night was Mr. Densham who got the community organizing bug fighting to save Roxmore Public School. Mr. Densham is a retired analytics expert with Bell who brings his skills to council as members move forward combatting plans for a 100-megawatt “Nation Rise” wind power project in the municipality.
Waiting for the election results, Mr. Densham broke down the true cost of the $400 million project to place wind turbines on private and public lands in the township.
Villeneuve gets most votes
Another newcomer to North Stormont council is familiar to Glengarrians, Roxane Villeneuve, a senior organizer for the Ontario PC Party, previous provincial candidate, and daughter of former MPP Noble Villeneuve.
The Moose Creek resident’s campaign focused on job creation, the beautification of villages in the township, and support for local farmers.
Ms Villeneuve won the lion’s share of votes cast with 1,352. Mr. Douglas won 858 votes and Mr. Densham 889 votes.
She did not attend the post-election celebration at the township hall in Crysler, preferring to watch the results among friends and family.
“My team and I worked hard during the campaign,” she told The News on Tuesday morning. “We went to every door in the Township of North Stormont twice with our literature. We spoke to a lot of residents and they told me we need some changes including better cell phone and internet service, more access to natural gas, and beautifying our villages and hamlets to attract more small and medium-sized businesses.”
Although her energy for the next four years will be squarely focused on North Stormont, she says she hasn’t ruled out a run for the Mayor or Deputy-Mayor’s chair, or even another run at the MPP level, sometime in the future.
Voter turnout North Stormont was 42 per cent.