Wellesley now has a three-way race for the mayor’s job, as former councillor Joe Nowak this week entered the fray.
The Wellesley Village resident served two terms on council before running for mayor in the 2006 contest that saw current mayor Ross Kelterborn win.
Nowak joins current councillors Paul Hergott and Jim Olender on the ballot in the October 27 election.
“It really started last fall. I started being approached by people here in the community asking me to do so,” Nowak said this week of his decision to run.
Now retired, he found talk of the election “rekindled an appetite” for returning to council via the mayor’s seat – “I have the time to commit to it.”
Supportive of the job Kelterborn was doing when the 2010 election rolled around, he opted not to throw his name into the ring (all five positions were filled by acclamation that year, in fact). Now, with Kelterborn opting not to seek re-election, the field is open.
“It looks like we’re going to have a race,” he laughed, noting he knows both of the other candidates, as well.
Unlike the provincial election he’s just come through – he’s president of the Liberal ridings association – there are no wedge issues at play in the upcoming Wellesley campaign. With the township’s finances in good shape and growth regulated – there are no development battles in the offing, for instance – the biggest issues will be related to infrastructure, he said.
The provincial Liberals promised billions of dollars for infrastructure, and the federal government is about to balance its budget. That provides an opportunity for Wellesley to take advantage of any available funds, Nowak argued, adding it’s a process he’s familiar with from his time on council.
“We need millions for roads alone. Recreation is going to be another area,” he said, pointing to a recent study indicating there’s a lack of parkland in the township. In the current climate at Queen’s Park and in Ottawa, there’s a chance to tackle a chunk of the infrastructure deficit.
Running again will help him be part of that effort, said Nowak. Having been associated with a range of community groups over more than 30 years – including the Wellesley Board of Trade, Wellesley Trails Association and Wellesley Preschool – he said the desire to be involved is in his blood.
Heading into summer, he plans to get his campaign ready for the push that’ll come as August runs into September, consulting with residents – “I do plan to spend a lot of time talking to people.”