Wellesley vot­ers to pick mayor, coun­cil­lors for pair of town­ship seats

The Woolwich Observer - - NEWS - VERON­ICA REINER & FAISAL ALI

ON­TAR­I­ANS GO TO

THE polls Oc­to­ber 22 to vote for their mu­nic­i­pal rep­re­sen­ta­tives. Thanks to the new elec­tronic vot­ing sys­tem, Wellesley res­i­dents can cast their bal­lots start­ing Oc­to­ber 9.

While Ward 1 and Ward 4 have been filled by ac­cla­ma­tion, there is a twoway race for mayor, and the same is true in Ward 2. Res­i­dents of Ward 3 have three can­di­dates to chose from.

MAYOR JOE NOWAK

Joe Nowak is run­ning for re-elec­tion for mayor of the Town­ship of Wellesley. He has resided in the vil­lage for 38 years with his wife, Barb.

“It has been an hon­our and a priv­i­lege to serve the res­i­dents of Wellesley Town­ship for the past four years,” said Nowak. “I sit on the Water­loo North Hy­dro Board, the Grand River Con­ser­va­tion Au­thor­ity, and Ki­wa­nis Tran­sit Board.

“To me, it’s all about com­mu­nity build­ing,” said Nowak of the job. “One of the first things I got in­volved with when I moved to Wellesley was the es­tab­lish­ment of the co­op­er­a­tive preschool. A group of par­ents ap­proached me and iden­ti­fied the need. So we set to work – I was the chair of that com­mit­tee, we worked at the re­gion and found the fund­ing and went through the en­tire process. That preschool is up and run­ning and still strong to­day. When you get some suc­cess like that, it mo­ti­vates you to move for­ward.”

He has pre­vi­ously served as a coun­cil­lor for Ward 3 for two terms and has a BA in eco­nomics from the Uni­ver­sity of Water­loo.

BER­NIA WHEATON

Ber­nia Wheaton is an eco­nomic devel­op­ment of­fi­cer aim­ing for the po­si­tion of mayor. She has lived in the town for 23 years with her chil­dren.

“I’ve been for­tu­nate over my 13 years of work­ing for mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ments that I’ve had some re­ally good ex­am­ples of ru­ral lead­ers and ru­ral may­ors who have lead by pretty good ex­am­ple to me,” said Wheaton. “From coun­cil, I’ve watched from a dis­tance at how they do their thing. By Septem­ber 2017, I was re­ally watch­ing some of the lo­cal is­sues here in Wellesley Town­ship.

“I think that I have a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence in ru­ral mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment, I feel like I’m fairly well-con­nected in the com­mu­nity, but cer­tainly to the is­sues that lo­cal busi­nesses and lo­cal res­i­dents are fac­ing. So I feel like I’m uniquely qual­i­fied to run and on Oc­to­ber 22nd, peo­ple will get to choose.”

She is also in­volved in the com­mu­nity through her cre­ation of the cook­ing classes with a dif­fer­ent theme each week, e.g. mak­ing salsa in “Born to be Mild” or chili in “Some Like it Hot.”

WARD 2 MARK WIT­MER

A new­comer to the po­lit­i­cal arena, Mark Wit­mer is run­ning for the Ward 2 seat. A res­i­dent of the town­ship since 2002, Wit­mer said he was keen to bring in new ideas and a fresh per­spec­tive to the lo­cal gov­ern­ment.

“Be­ing new to it, there’s a lot I’d have to learn,” said Wit­mer. “But I have been to coun­cil meet­ings and seen that there’s a lot of head nod­ding and stuff like this, where I’m think­ing, let’s re­ally take a mag­ni­fy­ing glass and look at this a lit­tle fur­ther. Maybe we would change our mind.

“The van­guard that’s there, they’ve been there for a while, some of them. So maybe it’s time for a change.”

Wit­mer is a res­i­dent of Wellesley vil­lage, liv­ing out­side the bound­aries of Ward 2.

“I do not live in the ward that I am run­ning in. And the rea­son I did that is [Ward 3] al­ready had many peo­ple in it,” he said. “The main rea­son I wanted to get in was to help out. Well, I’ll go some­where where they needed peo­ple.

“I’ve talked to some of the peo­ple al­ready. There are some traf­fic con­cerns that they want to look at. There’s al­ready some land is­sues that are al­ready on the ta­ble with the old coun­cil. There’s some by­law is­sues that some peo­ple were in­ter­ested in me look­ing into, if I was to get on [coun­cil], in en­force­ment.”

Wit­mer opened MW En­ter­prises busi­ness in Water­loo in 1984, and mainly works in wa­ter treat­ment and drink­ing sys­tems. He’s re­cently started tak­ing a smaller role in the com­pany.

HERB NE­HER

Herb Ne­her is seek­ing his fifth term as coun­cil­lor. A long-time res­i­dent of the town­ship, Ne­her has long kept an eye on the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s bot­tom line, em­pha­siz­ing fis­cal pru­dence with­out over­look­ing the peo­ple.

“Well I ran first of all be­cause I thor­oughly en­joy the work as coun­cil­lor. I think I’ve been very ef­fec­tive and I be­lieve that I’ve served my con­stituents and the town­ship very well over the past 12 years. So I de­cided to run again,” said Ne­her.

“I’ve just en­joyed this kind of work, deal­ing with peo­ple and try­ing to help them out any way that I can. And, of course, mak­ing sure that they get the best for their dol­lar,” he said.

The sea­soned coun­cil­lor has had a di­verse em­ploy­ment back­ground, pre­vi­ously work­ing as a pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor, as well as the man­ager of the Work­place Safety and In­sur­ance Board of­fice in Kitch­ener. Ne­her stud­ied psy­chol­ogy and hu­man re­la­tions at Ry­er­son Uni­ver­sity.

“I think I bring to the ta­ble a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence. I bring to the ta­ble hu­man re­sources, I’m very fa­mil­iar with hu­man re­sources, un­der­stand­ing peo­ple. I’m very good at prob­lem solv­ing. I have a good an­a­lyt­i­cal mind, and I’ve dealt with bud­gets for years and years: big, big bud­gets. So I’m quite fa­mil­iar with the bud­get pro­cesses, and how some­times we can and should re­duce things.

Ne­her is cur­rently a res­i­dent of Ward 2, in Crosshill.

WARD 3 PETER VAN DER MAAS

Peter van der Maas is the cur­rent Ward 2 coun­cil­lor, now run­ning for re-elec­tion. He has lived with his wife, Anne-Marie, in the vil­lage for some 30 years.

“We’ve al­ways been pretty deeply in­volved with the com­mu­nity,” said van der Maas. “Anne-Marie was a cou­ple of terms as the pres­i­dent of the PTA. I served on com­mu­nity cen­tre boards, on mi­nor sports – I coached a lot of sports.

“Twenty-six years on the Lions, vol­un­teered at the ABC [Fes­ti­val], we just did all sorts of stuff. So when I re­tired, it be­came a nat­u­ral ex­ten­sion. We said ‘we’re in­ter­ested in the wel­fare of the vil­lage, we know peo­ple, we have a pretty good idea of what the com­mu­nity here is like – I think I can make a con­tri­bu­tion.”

Van der Mass worked as a teacher at the Water­loo Re­gion District School Board. He has de­grees in English/his­tory from York Uni­ver­sity as well as fac­ulty of ed­u­ca­tion from the Uni­ver­sity of Toronto.

JOYCE BARKER

Joyce Barker is a re­al­tor run­ning for the po­si­tion of Ward 3 coun­cil­lor. She has lived with her hus­band, Dave, in the vil­lage for nearly 20 years.

“I think I’m run­ning be­cause I have a pas­sion for the vil­lage that I live in,” said Barker. “I like to be in­volved, I keep up on the is­sues that the peo­ple are fac­ing right now. I have since I first moved here; I’ve been vol­un­teer­ing since I first moved here.

“I think as a coun­cil­lor, I bring a lot to the ta­ble. As a for­mer busi­ness owner. As a re­al­tor, I un­der­stand about land, I un­der­stand about hous­ing costs. I bring a lot of di­ver­sity to the ta­ble that I feel would ben­e­fit at the coun­cil.”

She has vol­un­teered at the Wellesley North Easthope Fall Fair and is for­mer pres­i­dent of the Wellesley Hor­ti­cul­tural So­ci­ety. She has her bro­ker’s li­cense and stud­ied so­ci­ol­ogy at the Uni­ver­sity of Water­loo.

GRANT KINGS­BURY

Grant Kings­bury is a re­gional vice-pres­i­dent of sales and mar­ket­ing at Cat­a­lyst Fi­nance. He has lived in the vil­lage of Wellesley for five years with his wife, Kirsten, and lived in the Water­loo Re­gion for a decade. He is run­ning for Ward 3 coun­cil­lor be­cause he wants to see a change in the vil­lage.

“It’s about the needs and wants of the com­mu­nity,” said Kings­bury. “As an ex­am­ple, if I want to see one of the build­ings painted white, but the com­mu­nity wants to see it pur­ple... well, then they go pur­ple. It’s about the num­bers, it’s about what the com­mu­nity wants. Not about what one per­son or five peo­ple think ... we have to make sure that ev­ery­body’s in­volved.”

He grew up in a small town in south­west­ern On­tario and at­tended Uni­ver­sity of Wind­sor. He also served in the mil­i­tary in the Royal Cana­dian Reg­i­ment (In­fantry). Kings­bury is an ac­tive mem­ber of two soft­ball leagues.

AC­CLAIMED CAN­DI­DATES

Ward 1: Shel­ley Wag­ner Ward 4: Carl Sch­midt

Ber­nia Wheaton

Joyce Barker

Peter Van Der Maas

Mark Wit­mer

Herb Ne­her

Grant Kings­bury

Joe Nowak

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