Alnwick-Haldimand Township Inauguration Held

In City Hall

By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland

The upstairs ballroom at the Alnwick-Haldimand Township office filled up Thursday morning, as people gathered to see the newly elected council inaugurated.

Acting Clerk Pat Kemp administered oaths of office, awarding Mayor John Logel the chain of office and a gavel as well.

Logel introduced several VIPs in attendance, including fellow mayors Brian Ostrander of the Municipality of Brighton and Mandy Martin of Cramahe Township, as well as former Alnwick-Haldimand Deputy Mayor Rosemarie Robbins, the first female Northumberland County Council Warden.

The mayor expressed pride in the campaign that ended Oct. 24, and the up-front, collaborative, respectful manner in which it was carried out.

It’s too bad all elections can’t be like that,” he remarked.

Every new councillor brings special strengths, such as Greg Booth, who is returning for a second term – “a numbers man. He asks questions and wants to see data.”

Mary Catherine O’Neill “has proven to be able to develop consistent and research-based policies and planning.”

Mike Ainsworth is a life-long township resident. “He knows the people and communicates well with them. He worked during his career in management and labour, and he can see both sides of any issue.”

New Deputy Mayor Joan Stover – who previously served a term on council – is another life-long township resident who knows everyone, knows how to get things done, and has proven her dedication to the community in her volunteer hours with the library, horticultural society and church.

As the municipal town crier Liam Cragg noted when kicking off the meeting, municipal government is the most direct form of government because we actually see where our tax dollars go. And Logel said that the exercise of campaigning was invaluable for hearing people’s concerns about what they want to see.

Affordable housing is something that was often mentioned, though this can only be done in partnership with upper-tier municipality, provincial, Federal and other partnerships. And it also depends on the kind of land and servicing that is available in the township.

Health care is another priority, and Logel noted the township’s support of Northumberland Hills Hospital, Campbellford Memorial Hospital and the West Northumberland Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee. They also encourage private-sector facilities such as the Grafton Health Care Pharmacy that has been such an asset in the southern part of the township – they would love to see something similar in the township’s northern areas.

But voters also mentioned issues that are more under municipal control, such as the call – “loud and clear” – for support for the agricultural community.

They also called for better communications from their municipal government.

Local papers are, for some, a thing of the past, and many people don’t have internet hook-ups,” Logel noted.

Ostrander addressed the group, expressing his hope that the good-neighbour relationship between Brighton and Alnwick-Haldimand will go on.

Martin, a former reporter, recalled covering events in that very room some 40 years ago. With a term as mayor already behind her, she told the newly inaugurate council they are in for a challenging ride.

Following a taped message of congratulations from Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini, the new councillors each took a turn to thank the community for its support and confidence.

I will be your voice at town hall, and will be committed to the taxpayers of this great municipality,” Stover pledged.

Ainsworth recalled attending the very one-room schoolhouse where his sister now lives, transferring to Grafton Public School in Grade 6 as one of the first students to attend that school, skating at the local arena before it ever had a Zamboni. He said the new council had so much knowledge that could be

used to the advantage of all.

Booth gave a brief statement, saying he was honoured to be elected to a second term.

O’Neill noted that Booth had only lived in the community half-a-dozen years, two councillors were life-long residents, and she could boast 30 years in the community (where she raised her family). In her opinion, those several perspectives make up a wonderful mix.

Cecilia Nasmith
Author: Cecilia Nasmith

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