BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard
SCUGOG: Changes are in store for Scugog Township, as a new mayor and an almost entirely new council was voted in on Monday, Oct. 27.
Newcomer Tom Rowett will don the Mayoral chains for the next four years, after defeating former mayor Chuck Mercier by nearly 1,000 votes.
After taking an early 10 per cent lead, Mayor Rowett’s support only grew by the end of the evening - ending with a total of 4,661 votes to Chuck Mercier’s 3,687; with 55.83 per cent of voters choosing Mayor Rowett, and 44.17 percent choosing Mr. Mercier.
“Being elected feels amazing because we stepped forward to represent the people of Scugog, and the people stepped forward for us,” said Mayor Rowett. “This truly is a win for all of Scugog.”
Moving forward, Mayor Rowett pointed out a need to hit the ground running, and tackle the issues which his campaign platform stood upon.
“With the Greenbank Airways permit expiring on Dec. 31, and a new budget nearing, it’s time to analize the information and learn from staff,” said Mayor Rowett - promising that the public would see a new level of engagement and involvement from the Township, and would have the ear and attention of Council.
In Ward 1, Betty Somerville will step forward to replace the retired Larry Corrigan, having beat out three other competitors by nearly 300 votes.
“It was a good race, and it’s time to roll up our sleeves and put our work into practice,” said Councillor Somerville. “The next four years will see a lot of follow-through in Ward 1.”
Final standings in Ward 1 were 40.83 percent and 677 votes for Councillor Somerville, 24.73 percent and 410 votes for Joe Mahoney, 24.07 per cent and 399 votes for Tony Janssen, and 10.37 per cent and 172 votes for Scott Burke.
Ward 2 residents will see new representation, after lending their support to new Councillor Janna Guido - who defeated former councillor John Hancock by 162 votes; 53.74 per cent to 46.26 per cent.
Councillor Guido told The Standard that “it’s nice to see Scugog voting for change, and the new Council is going to bring that change forward, as a team.”
In Scugog Island’s Ward 3 - Don Kett won a clear victory over Town Crier Bill McKee - with a 70.3 per cent and 375 vote lead - after former councillor Jim Howard decided against nomination earlier in the campaign.
“First of all, I would like to thank Bill McKee for his hard work - I found a new friend during this campaign, and I think Scugog should be proud to have him as our Town Crier,” said Councillor Kett. “As for the Island, it’s time to organize the issues and get to work on them as quickly as we can.”
Ward 4 is the sole portion of Scugog Township to not see change, as current Councillor Wilma Wotten defeated Aaron Hopkins in a 74.38 per cent landslide victory, totalling 1,161 votes to Mr. Hopkins’ 400.
Councillor Wotten remarked that she was sad to see her counterparts leave council, but that “We have new, fresh, and exciting blood in Council - I’m going to get to know everyone, and continue to serve this Township.”
Jennifer Back unseated former councillor Howard Danson in Ward 5, winning by nearly 800 votes.
“By addressing the issues which face Scugog, such as infrastructure deficit and proper growth, this new Council is going to make Scugog an even better place to live,” said Councillor Back.
The race was won for Regional Councillor Bobbie Drew and Durham District School Board Trustee Carolyn Mortyn in Sept., when they both were elected by acclimation. According to Regional Councillor Drew, “The election is behind us, and the people have spoken - it’s time to move on and facilitate a strong Council, making Scugog a place to work, live and play.”
Voter turnout in Scugog had a slight spike, with 47.3 per cent of eligible voters marking their ballot this year, after 2010’s rate of 46.04 per cent.
After Scugog’s new council is coached and brought up to speed by Township staff, Mayor Tom Rowett and his new councillors will be sworn into office during a ceremony at 1:30 p.m., on Monday, Dec. 1.
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