The Wellesley municipal election has its first candidate for Ward 3. Retired teacher and Wellesley Village resident Peter van der Maas will try to fill the council seat left open by Jim Olender, who is running for mayor against Paul Hergott.

Peter van der Maas
Peter van der Maas

“The most important thing is an ability to be fair and objective,” said van der Maas. “Just display some good judgment in getting things done so that the most people are benefitted.”

He describes himself as “a good facilitator,” and notes, “I’m pretty calm – I like to think things through. And I’ve got a lot of experience working with different people in the community on different types of projects. I think that experience will help.”

A 25-year Wellesley resident, van der Maas’ track record includes a tenure as president of the Wellesley and District Lions, service on the athletic board, and coaching hockey, soccer, and T-ball.

“There’s a togetherness,” he said of Wellesley. “Not that we get along all the time – good neighbours should be honest neighbours too, so there will be disagreements. But everything has been resolvable – people are willing to accept other points of view. It’s easy to work with people around here.”

When asked his major concerns, van der Maas offers, “The biggest thing that we have to deal with over the next little while is the further development of the residential area, and ensuring that there are enough recreational facilities. We don’t have any land left in the village proper for recreation, so our ability to provide services has been restricted.”

He calls the proposed skate pad, which has drawn controversy for allegedly overcrowding the Wellesley Community Centre, an important idea. “I think we’ve made some mistakes in dealing with it. It’s a new thing – it’s not like a soccer field or a ball diamond where everyone knows exactly what you’ve got. This is something new that we’re doing, and it’s not clear what the right decisions are. But I think we’ll have one – I think it’s necessary.”

He adds that he is concerned that new residents may regard Wellesley as a bedroom community.

“I think that’s a little naïve or self-serving, because they’re going to have kids, and these kids are going to want to play sports and want to get involved in clubs, and they’ll be on the skate park. We need those people to step up and contribute to the resources we’ll be using.

“If I’ve got an agenda, that’s it – getting those people out.”

Wellesley Township voters will go to the polls October 27.

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Will Sloan
Will Sloan was a photo-journalist with The Observer. Currently Will is Writer at Ryerson University. Will Sloan has a bachelor’s degree in cinema studies from the University of Toronto and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. He has been an editor, intern, reporter, film critic, humorist, and columnist, and has written for NPR, The Grid, Exclaim, Toronto Standard, Thought Catalog, Sharp, Hazlitt, and Waterloo’s dearly departed Echo Weekly. He once met Dolph Lundgren.