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Sunday, February 23, 2020
Connecting Our Communities

Two new candidates toss their hats in for Wellesley’s Ward 4

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The Wellesley municipal election has its first non-incumbent candidates. Carl Smit and Brian A. Cunningham have announced their candidacy for the Ward 4 council seat vacated by Paul Hergott, who is running for mayor.

Smit, a St. Clements resident and retired police officer, served on the Wellesley and District Optimist Club for 20 years, was an executive member of St. Clements Minor Hockey (now Twin Centre), and has coached soccer and baseball in the township. Running for council has been a long-held ambition, he said.

Brian A. Cunningham and Carl Smit are vying to fill the council seat vacated by Paul Hergott, who is running for mayor.[Will Sloan / The Observer]
Brian A. Cunningham and Carl Smit are vying to fill the council seat vacated by Paul Hergott, who is running for mayor. [Will Sloan / The Observer]
“It was probably 10 years ago. We were sitting at an Optimist meeting, and I just mentioned that I was going to run for council when I retired. Paul Hergott was one of the guys, and I said, ‘Why don’t you run right now? You’re not working.’ So he did, and he’s two terms in.

“When he bumped up, I said, ‘Well, I said I was going to do it, so I’m going to do it.’”

When asked his plans for council, Smit said, “I plan on canvassing in Bamberg, Paradise, Heidelberg, St. Clements, and seeing what people want, if there’s anything.”

He added, “I know how it works to work as a team. One person can’t do everything; everyone pulls at the yoke at the same time, you get results.”

Brian Cunningham spent 35 years with the Waterloo Regional Police Service (including seven as deputy chief of police and four as executive director of the Ontario Police Technology Information Co-operative). He believes his background in management would inform his performance on council.

“As the executive director for OPTIC, it’s a learning experience where you get to understand the small politics of various organizations that worked collectively together,” he said.

“It’s teamwork. I listened to [Wellesley Mayor] Ross Kelterborn on TV, and he expresses the same core elements that I do: communications, listening, and respect for people. I think that throughout my career, I was successful at what I did. … I always used to advise people: ‘The big problems are easy; master the little problems, because they’re the ones that will get you.’”

Cunningham continued, “When I was in policing, I was one of the ones who enabled furtherance of policing into community mobilization. That’s going into a neighbourhood where there’s a problem; understanding that problem; understanding what agencies need to be in that neighbourhood; and understanding what strengths are in that neighbourhood. It’s no different here.”

At press time, incumbents Shelley Wagner (Ward 1) and Herb Neher (Ward 2) were the only other council candidates, both running unopposed. There are no candidates announced for Ward 3. Hergott and current Ward 3 councillor Jim Olender are running for mayor, with Kelterborn stepping down at the end of his third term.

Wellesley residents will go to the polls October 27.

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