Plaudits for outgoing members
South Glengarry council’s three outgoing members were lauded during the final regular meeting of the current council on November 19.
Mayor Ian McLeod, who did not seek re-election in October following 21 years of municipal service, began the tribute by doffing his cap to Councillor Bill McKenzie, who was first elected in 2006.
Re-elected twice, Mr. McKenzie served as a councillor and deputy-mayor over the ensuing dozen years. However, he also represented the municipality on a long list of committees, including the Raisin Region Conservation Authority and the St. Lawrence River Remedial Action Plan, and the municipal Planning Advisory Committee and Committee of Adjustment.
Mayor McLeod pointed out that Coun. McKenzie played a key role in the revamping of the township’s fire department, as well.
“I think that Chief (Dave) Robertson would agree that Bill was part of the original think tank that kind of re-shaped, re-structured our whole fire service,” said Mayor McLeod. “Back in the day, we had five fire halls/stations. Everybody was independent of one another, and as an early architect (on the restructuring), Bill brought the framework to get us where we are today.”
Mr. McLeod also reminded his colleagues that Mr. McKenzie kept a close eye on the municipality’s purse strings.
“Bill consistently challenged municipal staff in ways to find and deliver better municipal services and in a more cost-effective manner,” explained the mayor. “He chastised our treasurer at times, and complimented him at other times,” he said.
The mayor then presented Mr. McKenzie with a watch.
Mr. McLeod subsequently turned his attention to Councillor Trevor Bougie, who was first elected eight years ago, at the age of 25. “I remember quite distinctly in 2010 when two young guys came to my house one night and they were saying, ‘We’re just here to find out what council’s all about. We’re thinking about running (in the election),’” recalled the mayor.
“I said, ‘Well, who’s running?’ One was the campaign manager, and the other was Trevor, running for council. He ran a very successful campaign and has served the township very honourably ever since.”
Mr. Bougie served on the Heritage Advisory, Planning Advisory and Ice Allocation committees, as well as the Glengarry Archives Committee, among others.
Mr. McLeod noted that Coun. Bougie, a teacher with the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario, was also “a strong supporter of youth engagement, recreation and responsible planning.”
Mr. Bougie – like Mayor McLeod, an avid Montreal Canadiens fan – received a large, autographed and framed photo of Habs goaltender Carey Price as a “thank you” gift. He was also given a small plaque.
Deputy-Mayor Frank Prevost, who’ll assume the mayor’s seat at the first December council meeting, recognized his predecessor’s contributions to the municipality.
“Mr. Mayor, I have had the pleasure and honour of serving with you for 16 years,” said Mr. Prevost.
“Your experience, dedication, and knowledge will surely be missed around both (township and Counties) council tables. I can honestly say that I have very big shoes to fill.”
He then handed the mayor a large, framed black and white print of Wayne Gretzky and Guy Lafleur, taken during the 1981 Canada Cup tournament.
“It’s a picture of the ‘Great One’ and the one who aspired to be the ‘Great One,’” Mayor McLeod said with a chuckle, using Gretzky’s nickname to refer to the long-time Canadiens’ superstar, and leaving little mystery as to his hockey allegiance.
The image was also accompanied by a plaque.
The outgoing mayor praised his council colleagues, past and present for their comradeship and competence.
He also expressed gratitude to the employees with whom he’d worked over the past two decades.
“Yes, we are here to make the policies and procedures, and to see that staff carries them out, but it takes dedicated staff to make things work,” said Mayor McLeod.
“It’s been my great pleasure over the last 21 years to serve with the Township of South Glengarry, and I would like to thank everyone for being there and for helping out.”