Woolwich’s Ward 3, which will have two spots up for grabs for the first time in next fall’s municipal election, this week got its first official candidate. Conestogo resident Lisa MacDonald has thrown her hat in the race.Incumbent Bonnie Bryant hasn’t filed her papers, but says she intends to run in October. That would make two candidates for the two seats in the ward. While Woolwich had pondered redrawing the electoral map to equalize ward representation, council last fall opted to deal with an under-represented Ward 3 by simply adding another body into the mix, sticking with the current ward boundaries.
Ward 3 encompasses the settlements and rural areas around Conestogo, Maryhill, West Montrose, Breslau, and Shantz Station.
MacDonald, a longtime member of the Conestogo Recreation association, and co-organizer (with Sherri Cochrane) of a successful campaign to renovate Conestogo Community Park, sees park initiatives as a top priority. She hopes to encourage similar projects in other Woolwich communities, particularly the small villages.
“You see large, beautiful homes being built, and we choose to live in the country for our children, but every child needs a park to play in. I would like to see more of that,” said MacDonald in an interview.
“For 20 years, nothing was done to the [Conestogo] park. Even though the municipalities are given money for parks, nothing was ever done.” That changed, she noted, when the rec. association began making its presence known at council meetings. “We started going to council and saying, ‘Hey, don’t forget about us. I know we’re just a little town.’”
MacDonald also said she hopes to recognize community volunteers via events similar to the mayor’s levee (held in January at the Woolwich Memorial Centre). Noting that all communities in the township pay the same taxes, MacDonald argued that smaller villages like Conestogo are underserved, and that all areas should be treated equally with regards to infrastructure projects. In particular, she cites the tar-and-chip surfacing applied to the roads in Conestogo as an example of second-class treatment.
“The first thaw in December, close to Christmas, all the tar oozed up,” she said. “It was all over our pets; my own dog had it on his fur; it stuck to our car; it stuck to our boots. … If you’re going to resurface roads in the entire Woolwich Township, it all should be one mandate. You shouldn’t use a cheaper version just because it’s the end of the season.”
She added, “I’d like to be a voice for the community. … It would be nice to call someone – just as I’ve called our local councillor, Bonnie Bryant – with any news. She was very helpful, I would like to be able to do that for people.”
Municipal elections in the province will be held October 27. MacDonald is the fifth candidate to file papers, making it official. Incumbent Todd Cowan and former councillor Sandy Shantz are vying for the mayor’s job; former councillor Ruby Weber is running in Ward 1; and longtime Ward 2 representative Mark Bauman is seeking re-election.