Voters in St. Clair Township will have an abundance of candidates to choose from during this fall’s municipal election. Unlike the previous election, where the mayor, deputy mayor and the two councillors from Ward 2 were all acclaimed, this year every position is being contested save for the Central Lambton Public School Board trustee, which was won by the sole candidate running, Greg Agar.
Sarnia and Lambton County This Week asked candidates running for mayor, deputy mayor, the five candidates running to fill the three council seats in Ward 1 and the three candidates running to fill the two council seats in Ward 2 to tell us why residents in St. Clair Township should vote for them.
Below are the responses from the candidates.
Mayor (four candidates): Jeff Agar, Steve Arnold, Brian Everaert, Ed Linton.
Deputy Mayor (two candidates): Peter Gilliland, Steve Miller.
Ward 1 Councillor (five candidates for three positions): Pat Brown, Jim DeGurse, Neil Fulkerson, Michelle Kelly-Maitland, Tracy Kingston.
Ward 2 Councillor (three candidates for two positions): Rose Atkins, Robin Donahue-Parsons, Bill Myers.
Occupation: Alliance Fabricating Ltd., Shipping and Receiving, current councillor
I have resided in Corunna for 35 years. My community is St. Clair Township, of which I am very proud to be a part of. I want to see it thrive so I am seeking your support for mayor. I have been married to my wife Sue for 33 years and have one son, Nick, and daughter-in-law Michelle.
I am just finishing my third term on council. Twelve years ago I had a vision to become mayor. I knew that it required much experience, knowledge and dedication of time and commitment. Which one can only acquire from being on council.
I am currently a member of the Moore Optimist Club, the Moore Agricultural Society in which I sit on the board of directors. I also sit on the board of the Children’s Safety Village and am a member of the Moore Presbyterian Church.
I made my intention known early for this election and I live by the model, “that good people rise with every challenge and I will rise above the challenge.” I feel confident it is time to take the next step. Being mayor takes leadership, which is important, but it also requires a team approach.
I have always approached council meetings with an open-mind and with the intention that I will do my very best to represent all residents of St. Clair Township. Honesty, integrity and experience is not just at election time it is my way of life. I have never brushed off any person or problem, I always call back do my best to help anyone with a solution.
I have been on three very active councils that completed many projects over the last 12 years. I have been on several committees and have been chair of the finance for eight years. I have always supported a low tax rate and reasonable fiscal management. I support open and honest communication with all residents. I have been active in lobbying and attaining grants and meeting ministers arranged by township staff in advance.
My platform consists of research of Internet for all residents. I understand what a vital link it provides not only for our urban users but also for our agricultural producers. I will continue to work with providers to ensure that this is made possible.
I would like to work to negotiate a way to bring natural gas to residents in the rural areas at a reasonable rate. We also need to continue the development and maintenance of a strong infrastructure. When infrastructure is strong it will attract new business small and large and promote residential growth.
Our recreational facilities are aging and need repair. We must be able to do this and keep our tax rate under the rate of inflation; it is vital to lobby for grants and fund raising to make this possible.
I would be that strong voice on Lambton County council representing all residents of St. Clair Township. We send to the county about 33 cents from every dollar so our interests must be protected.
In conclusion, these are my reasons for asking the residents of St. Clair Township for support in electing me as their next mayor.
“Change is Good.”
Occupation: Current mayor, retired after 35 years in the petro chemical Industry, farms with oldest son.
I bring honesty, integrity and fairness for all as demonstrated during my almost 27 years serving on Council including: 12 years as mayor, five years as Lambton County warden and deputy warden, Chairing the SCRCA and many other committees both through council and community organizations.
I believe that relationship building with ministers, our MP, MPP and community members is essential to forge partnerships to continue to receive grants and donations. These will help improve our many infrastructure and capital projects such as the twinning of our water supply, arena and golf course clubhouse upgrades as well as hard surfacing of our roads. I have worked at being in positions of leadership with the organizations that I interact with to bring a positive influence for our community. I have been fortunate to have a supportive Council and without them, our talented Staff and the strength of our volunteers we could never have been so successful.
What are a few tough challenges over the term: Challenges that we will deal with are the potential changes that we will see with a different provincial government in power, balancing our budgets, the desire for jobs and employment with the concerns we all share for our environment, and maintaining independence as a township. We will have LGS site repurposing, Nova construction and many other projects to ensure things are done to benefit our community. Solving high-speed internet and housing challenges will be a high priority during this term.
What solutions will you offer: I have taken an active role in acquiring grants and donations of over $50 million since I have been mayor and will continue with these initiatives. We have met with many Internet providers and have a number of solutions that are slowly being implemented. I will continue to bring suggestions and issues from all areas of the township and will help to facilitate positive relationships both inside and outside of the township to help find solutions for any situation we will encounter.
I would humbly ask for your support as your mayor to continue for another term.
Brian Marshall Everaert
Occupation: 20 plus years with the International Association of Bridge Structural and Ornamental Ironworkers Local 700
The citizens of St. Clair Township have the opportunity to choose the leaders and representatives of the municipality that they feel will best bring forth the voice of the citizens.
If elected mayor I will be exactly that. I will not just be a leader but a representative and an advocate for the people and the township.
My first priority will be to listen to and more importantly to respond to the needs of the community and concerns of the citizens. I will facilitate open lines of communication between citizens, council members and government. I will continue to foster my working relationships with local MPs and MPPs to address infrastructure, health and social needs within our municipality.
I see the challenges our township is facing as opportunities for positive change. I will take on such challenges and not be intimidated by accountability to ensure the people trust in me, if elected, is well placed. As mayor, I promise to bring forth honesty, equality and transparency as I work diligently at community betterment.
I look forward to working with council to meet the needs of the people. Together we will strive to make this township a united community we can all be proud of.
Occupation: Construction Boilermaker
My name is Ed Linton. I am a construction boilermaker and member of International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 128. I am currently working at Imperial Oil, Sarnia, for the maintenance contractor TAMS.
In December last year, I was unanimously re-elected as chair of the Worker Trade Committee, worker co-chair for the Contractor Joint Health and Safety Committee. I may lead these committees but we all work hard at finding workable solutions to sometimes life or death problems. With carrying out workplace inspections, I have some knowledge of building codes, electrical codes, fire codes, Industrial regulations and construction regulations. As a member of the “Roads” committee I have learned an enormous amount about road repair. The timelines, cost, planning and expectations. Snow removal and pre-planning of projected snowfall. Salting or not salting. Dust control and repair for gravel roads. Walkways, crosswalks and sidewalks.
Several years ago, I was a director for one of the big three political parties at the provincial and the federal level. I have declined offers to run as a candidate for two of these parties in the past, as neither offer was in my immediate riding. I still try to help and advise persons seeking elected office at any level if they ask, especially those just starting out.
I am a NFPA-certified Firefighter and severed as in St. Clair Township as a volunteer as well as an Advanced First Aid instructor.
I want to help all members of St. Clair Township community.
We need to establish one or more, after hours walk in clinics. Perhaps staffed with a crisis nurse.
We need improved medical diagnostic and testing capabilities locally.
We need to ensure the demolition of Lambton Generating Station is done properly and safely, following all standards and regulations.
We need to have a preference in the municipal bidding process for local contractors and urge the same from local business and industry.
We need to explore repairing roads ourselves. As opposed to uncaring, out-of-town contractors.
We need a united community.
We need a leader.
I have the knowledge and experience.
I like to meet problem head on. In person. It gets things done.
I am a leader.
Ed for mayor of St. Clair Township.
Occupation: Current Deputy Mayor
I am Pete Gilliland and again contending for the position of deputy mayor in St. Clair Township. I have been on council for 15 years, 12 of which as deputy mayor. This and my seat on Lambton County council makes me an experienced candidate and capable of carrying on the business of the township.
Although we are proud of past accomplishments, the list of tasks going forward is lengthy.
Infrastructure such as roads, streets, sewers, bridges, buildings, parks etc. are always a challenge to keep updated and in good order. Our sports complex is aging and upgrades are necessary for safety and efficiency. We will need to lobby for government funding and use our asset management system to address and prioritize these issues.
High-speed Internet is in need to outlying areas of the municipality and council would like to work with Internet providers to facilitate this effort.
Single tier is always a concern to the lower tier (Township) and we need to protect the autonomy of our St. Clair Township. We are a fiscally-sound township with reserves to address emergencies.
We have been successful in paving and curbing many streets and the replacement of storm sewers has solved many flooding problems that we have had in past.
Our expanded wastewater treatment plant will allow for housing development for many years to come.
Service clubs and community groups work tirelessly in our community and council should always support them in their efforts.
Occupation: Retiree of Imperial Oil, current Ward 2 councillor
I have been a councillor for 35 years in our community, with 18 years of experience with St. Clair Township and prior to that, 17 years with Sombra Township. This includes a short stint as acting deputy mayor in 2006.
With 35 years of experience, I know that I have the knowledge, expertise and dedication to continue leading our Township to grow and excel.
Committees I’ve worked on include: local community hall boards, the museum board, the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority’s board of directors, and the police services board.
Large projects I’ve been involved with:
• Prior to amalgamation, the paving of all streets in Port Lambton and Sombra;
• Courtright Sewage Treatment Plant;
• Restoration of erosion control along the St. Clair River;
• Nova Chemicals expansion project.
My future vision for our township includes:
• Street restoration;
• Hard surfacing of more township roads;
• Infrastructure repairs or replacement of the arena and golf course clubhouse;
• Reliable Internet service to all of the township.
My life outside of council:
I have been married to wife, Janice, for 46 years. We have four beautiful daughters and 10 wonderful grandchildren. I am an avid supporter of all their extracurricular activities and can be found cheering them on at the ball diamonds and arenas throughout the year. I enjoy a good game of golf and relaxing on my front porch enjoying the St. Clair River.
As your new deputy mayor, my vision is to see our township continue to grow and prosper and provide great opportunities for our future generations.
WARD ONE COUNCILLOR (three positions)
Occupation: Retired from Arlanxeo/Lanxess
I’ve lived in Corunna for 40 years and recently retired as a project coordinator from Arlanxeo/Lanxess. I am a retired member of UA Local 663, Plumbers and Pipefitters and I served as provincial appointee on the Lambton OPP Police Services Board from 2000-2006.
I believe that getting funding for local programs, projects and infrastructure from our provincial and federal governments is very important for St. Clair Township. I hope to work closely with both our MP and MPP to help make this happen. As well, maintaining services and infrastructure upgrades and keeping taxes fair is a challenge that I am up to. One of the projects I would like to see completed is the heavy haul /oversized load corridor. It is important that local fabricators and trades people be able to easily move large industrial orders through this area.
I support our minor sports and community groups that all contribute to making our township a great place to live. With my previous council experience on both the Moore and St. Clair Township councils, I would be a good fit to work for the residents of St. Clair Township. I believe in a cohesive council that can work together for the betterment of all residents.
Occupation: Retired electrician, current Ward 1 councillor
As your councillor seeking re-election, I bring forth 14 years of experience dealing with a variety of St. Clair Township issues and concerns.
I understand the responsibility that comes with having the honour to represent the citizens of the township and will continue to be available to listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and explain how decisions are made.
Being a current council member, I understand the importance of attending meetings, scrutinizing budget statements, and prioritizing activities based on fiscal responsibility.
As your councillor, I believe that the team approach accomplishes more. Part of the team includes listening to the residents in order to prioritize spending.
As your councillor, I will continue to support low tax rates without compromising essential services; responsible fiscal management; open, honest, and ongoing communication with residents; industrial, commercial, agricultural, and residential development; local policing; parks and recreation facilities; bicycle and nature trails; environmental protection – increased recycling efforts; upgrading sewage, water, and drainage systems; and improving streets and roads.
I look forward to representing the residents and businesses of St. Clair Township for another four years.
Occupation: Labour Relations Consultant at Bluewater Health
Serving on council is a tremendous honour and I am grateful for the opportunity to run as a candidate.
The decisions made by the next council will have a long-term impact on residents that will far surpass their term.
The challenges facing our community include the continued struggle of providing affordable internet options to all residents, the future of the township’s recreational facilities and ensuring that all residents feel as equal partners in the success of the township. In addition, we need a community strategy to support seniors.
With the new provincial government pledging to create new long term care beds, we need to advocate that St. Clair Township receive some of those beds.
I bring a fresh perspective to council and a passion for making the community a safe and affordable place to do business and raise a family. We can do this by creating an environment that makes St. Clair Township an attractive place to operate a business and raise a family.
I feel a deep sense of responsibility to those who have built our community and if elected, I intend to work to preserve our history and strengthen the township for future generations.
As a member of council, my goal will be to listen to the cares and concerns of all residents, work collaboratively with key stakeholders to make decisions in the longer-term best interest of the township and offer a positive vision where we build our future together.
Occupation: Full-time student /Yogi /fitness instructor
Voting is an important democratic right that affects the lives of all St. Clair Township residents. I believe that my fellow constituents should embrace this right and vote for someone who will represent council with integrity and passion. This is exactly what I am prepared to bring to the table.
I look forward to the opportunity to represent the public and to create positive change to ensure the success and well-being of the municipality.
Together I know we can embrace policies and programs that reflect our desire for economic security and stability, environmental stewardship and a transparent council.
I look forward to being someone community members can come to and I want them to know that I will always listen to their concerns. I have already heard many great ideas that we can action to ensure a bright future for St. Clair Township. If elected I will work with council to address concerns like rural high-speed internet, restoration /and or rebuild of the Moore Sports Complex and environmental sustainability programs.
Above all, I am a strong supporter of St. Clair Township. I have a strong connection with our tight-knit communities, our local businesses and our services and programs. I will work hard to keep the small town feel we have all come to love.
Occupation: Florist, owner of Kay’s Petals & Plants, current Ward 1 councillor
I am committed to finding sound and sensible methods to deliver services and projects that have a direct impact on the community.
I believe in cooperation and working as a team and I am committed to continue to be part of beneficial and effective decisions that may have long term affects on the health and welfare of the population.
When posed with a query or concern, I address it promptly or refer it an on the ground change maker so together we create a solution we are proud of.
To develop my slogan “Caring for our Community” I would like to create Community Care Teams to develop beautification plans for our villages. To better understand the community’s needs I would like to hold focus groups to gather information. I believe giving people a clean, well-kept community gives people a place they will care for and be proud to call home.
Some of the projects I would like to see completed during another term as councillor is odour mitigation at the Courtright Waste Water Treatment Plant, continued shoreline and road rehabilitation, playground upgrades and the oversized load corridor.
Another future challenge is the restoration and improvement of the Moore Sports Complex. This will take immense commitment, fiscal responsibility and creative fundraising.
I am a wife, mother, and small business owner. Kay’s Petals & Plants has been in our family for 42 years and has given me the opportunity to build strong relationships in a very supportive community.
Being involved with the Moore Optimist Club, the Canadian Cancer Society and numerous community events, has given me strong leadership, diplomatic, planning and organizational skills.
Your vote is my incentive to make sure St. Clair Township continues to be a vibrant and exciting place to live, work and play.
WARD TWO COUNCILLOR (two positions)
Rose Atkins (Moran)
Occupation: Retired, County of Lambton
Through both my professional career as a health promoter with Lambton Public Health and my extensive volunteer involvement with grass-route committees, I am experienced in planning and implementing supports to create safe and vibrant communities.
I am trained to define problems and use intuitive and innovative thinking to find solutions that are systematic, systemic, and sustainable. My 20-year involvement with the St. Clair River Trail, Lambton County Trails, Ontario and TransCanada Trails includes negotiating with various levels of government to move projects forward. I have been successful in securing corporate, provincial, and federal funding to support many community projects including the St. Clair River Trail.
St. Clair Township council will undergo a shift in members as a result of this election. The transition will provide the opportunity for both experienced and new council members to review township bylaws, policies, and strategic plans. If elected, my lens will look to developing strong partnerships between our municipality and various organizations, businesses, and individuals to deliver effective community-driven services at a price that taxpayers can afford. As a councillor, I will encourage improved clarity, consistency, and transparency of information to help residents feel a better sense of satisfaction with municipal services.
My honest, respectful, and inspiring leadership style gains the trust and confidence of colleagues and members of the public that I serve. I would be honoured to represent Ward 2 residents on St. Clair Township council.
Occupation: Human Resources Support at Lambton County
I bring 16 years of administrative experience in municipal government at both the local and county level. My career with St. Clair Township began in the Public Works department, which also included two years of work experience at the Moore Sports Complex.
I eventually moved into the Clerk’s department and throughout my whole work experience, I was employed for nine seasons at the St. Clair Parkway Golf Course. These various positions throughout the Township offered me a deeper understanding of the function of our municipality with infrastructure, municipal drains, administration, recreation fire protection, public safety, culture and general governance.
I am currently employed by the County of Lambton and my previous role as the Confidential Secretary to the Chief Administrative Officer allowed me to work with our presiding warden, mayors and deputy mayors from the 11 municipalities that form Lambton County.
With my work experience and educational background in tourism, I have a unique insight on how government should function. I am eager to be a part of a council who will rise to meet challenges in the most cost effective ways. I feel that I have the enthusiasm, energy and experience to help address change, challenges and growth for the betterment of our communities and I look forward to helping with the continuation of building initiatives that council has already begun.
I will always cast my vote in the best interest of our magnificent township while taking into account your needs and concerns. I plan to focus on enhancing our marketing and communications strategies, responsibility and integrity. I would appreciate the opportunity to represent St. Clair Township.
My name is Bill Myers and I am running for a position as councillor for Ward 2 in St. Clair Township.
I live in the former Sombra Township with my wife Kathy and my two daughters, Lindsay and Taylor. Since graduating from St. Clair College in Windsor, I have worked as a machinist in Wallaceburg.
As a member of the former Sombra Township, I believe in community and in the power of volunteering. Although politics is new to me, I have experience in the boardroom with my many years as a board member with the Moore Agricultural Society including three terms as president. This experience has helped me know the importance of working well with others to achieve a common goal and being organized and ready to do your part.
Over the years, I have been volunteering in a leadership role starting with Boy Scouts then as part of the boards of the Wallaceburg Museum, the Wallaceburg Snowmobile Club, helping at smaller one day events such as raising money for people and organizations in need.
I believe in being fair and honest. I believe that the people of our community are knowledgeable and that by listening to their ideas we will be able to work together to find solutions to issues that arise in the community. I’m a self-starter that believes in getting things done and I look forward to getting things done as your councillor.
An issue for our township is supporting the reconnection of an international border in Sombra. This is an important border crossing for residents because families and businesses depend on this service. I know that our current council has worked to try to find solutions but I am open to finding a way to approach our new provincial government to see if they can find solutions through new programs that may be available since the change in government.
I’d like to see the continuation of shoreline maintenance and conservation projects. Through our corporate sponsors and conservation programs we can continue to protect and preserve our various natural habitats for future generations. I also believe we need to be supportive of our industrial and farming partners to ensure places for employment and a solid tax base.
Being new to the role of councillor, there are probably many issues that I’m not even aware of yet but I feel that with my experience I will be able to work collectively with others to find solutions to issues that arise in a timely manner.