Wellesley council will have three new faces – two who won seats in Monday’s municipal election and one by acclamation – in its next session.
In Ward 2, Derek Brick defeated Mary Lichty by 613 to 356, while Claude Hergott beat Robert Caskanette 423 votes to 297 to take Ward 4.
The newly elected representatives will join Mayor Nowak, who was acclaimed to a third term, and Ward 1 Coun. Shelley Wagner, who was acclaimed to a fifth term. Newcomer Lori Sebben was acclaimed in Ward 2, where Herb Neher, joining current councillors Peter van der Maas (Ward 3) and Carl Smit (Ward 4), opted not to run again.
With just two races, voter turnout was just 24.15 per cent, as 2,029 of the 8,402 eligible voters cast ballots.
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Brick, who was working Monday evening, kept a close eye on the Wellesley results as they came in.
“It was exciting to listen, and then friends and family reached out with congratulations,” he said.
During the campaign, Brick heard from many people bringing attention to issues in the community.
“It was nice to see people that were engaged in what was happening in the community. Without a mayoral race, there wasn’t really much debate-wise, but it was good to see there’s so many people from within the community coming out and asking questions that they were showing interest in the politics, which was nice,” Brick said.
Even if Litchy had won, the community would have been in good hands, he added.
“It was nice to see Mary’s name in the race. She’s obviously been active in the community for a long time. I’m excited to take on the role and the challenges that it brings.”
Brick is looking to build off of what the former council has been doing.
“They’ve done well in the past here so we’re lucky we’re in a good spot to kind of carry that forward. I’m excited to see our new arena get built. I think that’s going to bring a lot of great opportunities to the township. And I’m also excited to expand our recreational footprint and offer more to our community,” he said.
He added he hopes to bring more amenities to the township.
Hergott said he was pleased with the results.
“I am looking forward to it. I am glad that the campaign is over and I’m excited to get started. This is my first time running and campaigning – it was all new to me, but it was interesting and I learned a lot. I got to reconnect with some old friends while campaigning,” he said.
Nowak said it will be a learning curve for all three new councillors and himself.
“Just to get a sense of what people’s priorities are, I have followed with interest some of the platforms that the individuals have put on social media. It seems to me that they understand some of the challenges that we’re facing and are really encouraged. They all seem to be there for the right reason; they want to improve things in the township for our residents, so I’m encouraged. I think we’re going to have a positive council. I think we’re going to have one that is going to work together and then move this community forward,” said Nowak.
Nowak expects the first few months of the new term to be busy.
“We have a lot of big issues that we’re going to be dealing with. The first one will be the budget. It’s going to be a very challenging budget. And we’ll have to see what the expectations are. But I think we’re all there for the right reason,” he added.
Nowak also expects affordable and seniors’ housing to be a big issue for the council going forward.
“I think that was something that was on everybody’s list.”
Nowak also acknowledged the two candidates who didn’t win.
“I congratulate those that have put their name forward. I think that just to do that takes some courage….The people made their choice, but I think we’re all winners because of the debates and discussion. And [with] the new ideas that were brought forward, I think that this council is going to have an opportunity to redo some of those issues and move forward.”