-10.6 C
Friday, January 17, 2020
Connecting Our Communities

Wellesley residents got to meet the candidates


News Briefs

Woolwich nixes traffic islands Displeased with the troublesome pedestrian islands installed during the Region of Waterloo’s reconstruction of Church Street...

Woolwich proposes 5% tax hike for 2020

Budget talks underway this week, Woolwich council is looking at five per cent hike in property taxes, a...

20-year-old agreement causes a stir

An Elmira environmentalist’s “smoking gun” appears to be shooting blanks. Al Marshall, a long-time critic of cleanup efforts at...

Chicken barn destroyed by fire Thursday morning

Fire completely levelled a two-storey chicken barn on the Third Line of Mapleton Township Thursday morning....


light rain
-10.6 ° C
-8.3 °
-13 °
66 %
75 %
-8 °
-4 °
4 °
-6 °
-7 °

Going head-to-head may be an overstatement, but last week’s all-candidates meeting was the first and only time all of the Wellesley election hopefuls gathered to make their pitches.

Joining all other Ontarians, township residents will be voting this month in a municipal election.

Some 150 people made it out to the Wellesley Community Centre on September 26, the better to inform themselves about their options ahead of the October 22 vote.

The meeting features a question-and-answer format rather than a debate. Hosted by 570 News’s Jeff Pickel, the event saw each candidate given a five-minute introduction before they were put on the spot with questions predetermined by the Woolwich Observer and New Hamburg Independent.

All of the candidates were able to attend: mayoral hopefuls Joe Nowak (incumbent) and Bernia Wheaton; Ward 2 candidates Herb Neher (incumbent) and Mark Witmer; Ward 3’s Joyce Barker, Grant Kingsbury and Peter van der Maas (incumbent).

Ward 1 councillor Shelley Wagner and Ward 4 Carl Smit will return to their seats by acclamation.

The first question was directed at the mayoral candidates, inquiring how they intended to make Wellesley’s voice heard at regional council.

“I want to be a strong voice,” said Wheaton. “And to me, that means being knowledgeable and being prepared. It is being articulate, and informed. It is being persuasive and convincing. It means being able to have a valid position and being able to defend it. And it’s about building credibility. I have found in my professional life that building relationships with the people that you work with around the table goes a very long way.”

“I worked very hard to convince the regional staff that we should have that roundabout. And we got the $ 1.4 million investment for that project,” said Nowak, referring to the roundabout at the intersection of Ament Line and Herrgott Road. “I’ve built very good relationships with the other councillors. The four rural mayors get together on a quarterly basis, so when a rural issue comes to the table, we work together.”

The second question, fired off at the Ward 3 candidates, involved how to make Wellesley more than just a bedroom community.

Van der Maas’s response involved focusing on creating a community that has a vital character.

“Where people are volunteering, coaching teams, shopping here, playing here, and using the facilities here,” he said. “So it’s not what I plan to do; it’s what we plan to do to work together to create a community.”

“We need to increase and develop the land where we can afford jobs,” said Kingsbury. “Where we can have the youth working. We can have more local opportunities for our local people to be working in town. To not have to drive to Kitchener, to Waterloo, to Cambridge, to Stratford, for meaningful employment.”

“What makes our village special, that people are going to continue to come here, is all of you,” said Barker. “It’s a wonderful place to live. We do have to look at some commercial development down the way, possibly with one of the pieces of land that’s being considered for rationalization.”

Members of the audience were presented with slips of paper on which they could pose anonymous questions to the candidates. Among the concerns were reducing the damage from truck traffic and whether or not to increase waste collection schedules. The submissions included, “What are you looking the most forward to when the council begins?”

“Sometimes we’ve got to make sure we don’t suck and blow at the same time,” said Neher. “We talk about expanding, we want more houses, we want more business, but we want to keep our quaint little community. Sometimes you can’t have it both ways. This is where it’s very difficult to balance that out. Council sometimes need more direction from the community.”

“I have to agree with Herb 100 per cent here,” said Witmer. “I honestly believe we elect a council and a mayor to do what we think they’re going to do. When you have a huge decision, with the relocation of boundaries, maybe that’s something we should put out to the township as a whole and say ‘Do you want this, or don’t you want this?’  and see what the people want.”

After audience questions concluded due to time constraints, a more informal meet-and-greet took place.

Voters can cast their ballot online or through telephone starting October 9 starting at 10 a.m. until October 22 at 8 p.m.

A live recording of the full meeting is posted on the Wellesley Ontario Community Connections Facebook page, and more information is available at The Township of Wellesley website.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to The Observer's online community. Pseudonyms are not permitted. By submitting a comment, you accept that The Observer has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner The Observer chooses. Please note that The Observer does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our submission guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.


The new face of health promotion

There’s a new face around the Woolwich Community Health Centre. Gebre Berlihun has taken on the role of public health promoter after the retirement of 25-year employee Joy Finney in October.

In Print. Online. In Pictures. In Depth.

You obviously love community journalism. Thanks for visiting today. If you have a great local story, let us know.

Kings win two more to keep streak alive

The Elmira Sugar Kings extended their 2020 winning streak and their hold on the conference standings with a pair of wins over the weekend.

EDSS student wins U.S. baseball scholarship

It’s January and nowhere near Florida, but St. Jacobs’ Blake Jacklin is in a baseball frame of mind. That’s not a passing fancy,...

Applejacks extend winning streak to three

The new year continues to be good to the Wellesley Applejacks, who picked up a pair of wins over the weekend to make...

New app a one-stop shop for region’s waste program

Not sure when your garbage will be picked up? What’s currently allowed in the recycling bin? There’s an app for that.

Choir to bring the sounds of Africa to Elmira

An Elmira church will play host to a lively performance by an internationally-acclaimed children’s choir from Uganda, Africa. The Watoto...
- Advertisement -