After nearly a full year of build-up, the municipal election has passed, and with it, some sweeping changes have come through North Durham.
Without question, the most notable change was the election of Tom Rowett as Mayor in Scugog Township, as the local businessman ousted Chuck Mercier after a single term in office. Likewise, incumbent Scugog Councillors John Hancock and Howard Danson found themselves on the outside looking in on Monday night, defeated by Janna Guido and Jennifer Back respectively.
The winds of change were not as fierce in Uxbridge Township, with Pam Beach emerging as the lone candidate to successfully challenge an incumbent as she wrestled away the position of Ward 1 Councillor from Bev Northeast after 23 years in office.
With councils in Uxbridge and Scugog now made up of a healthy mix of experienced councillors and newcomers, the hard work will now begin for those still basking in the glow of election night victories.
The next four years promise to be filled with challenges as well as opportunities for North Durham, with the expansion of Hwy. 407 looming, as well as potential reforms to the Oak Ridges Moraine and Greenbelt Acts, which may open the door for increased development.
Future planning will be at a premium, as councils are tasked with protecting the interests of residents in the short and long-term, and hopefully solutions will be able to be found to the ongoing issue of an increasingly heavy burden on the local residential tax base, without drastic short-term solutions such as borrowing from reserve funds for one-time tax breaks.
It won’t be easy, but hopefully we have elected the best men and women for the job.
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