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Mayor Quaiff ready to retire from ‘best job I’ve ever had’

Councillors, staff and members of the gallery at Shire Hall give Mayor Robert Quaiff a standing ovation as he closed the final meeting of the current council.

Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff closed the final meeting of the current council thanking his family, councillors, staff and the community, for what he has often called ‘the best job’ he’s ever had.

Robert Quaiff

On his first day on the job, he recalls arriving in the Shire Hall parking lot with his wife, Susan, and explaining there were three ways to get to his office – through the back up the stairs, at the side of the building, or through the front door.

“She said ‘Robert, if you ever do anything but go right through that front door you’ll be answering to me’,” he said, adding that “it was a pleasure to walk through that front door every morning” and an honour and a pleasure to serve the residents of Prince Edward County, council and staff.

“Yes, you don’t always see eye-to-eye, but that’s why we get elected. But at the end of the day when you can sit down and just go over the list of accomplishments that we did, we did it collectively, together. I thank you for that.”

Over his term, he has expressed particular pride in council and staff for accomplishments through two state of emergency events, the revitalization of Picton’s Main Street, the opening of new fire halls in Picton and Consecon, reconstruction of County Road 3 and the welcoming of  Their Royal Highnesses Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Quaiff may forever be known as the champion of the need for repairs on Highway 49 – bringing the issue to provincial and federal levels as well as notoriety as the CAA’s Worst Road. He has also been honoured for continuing instrumental work to help the County get on the road to a new hospital.

He points to the passion that comes with being born and raised in the County.

“And that passion, I have tried my very best to spread across the entire province – to bring notice to everyone across this province that Prince Edward County is the best place to live, and to raise a family, and to retire.”

Some of his favourite memories are of attending provincial conferences and workshops and witnessing the growth and successes of the County through the eyes of those from other municipalities.

“They wanted to talk to us because we were from Prince Edward County and they wanted an update on all the wineries, breweries, the new food places, Sandbanks and all that is right here in our glorious back yard.”

The limelight, however, he shines on County staff.

“I especially want to thank staff. I’ve always said ‘if a municipality or city has good staff, you’ve got one hell of a good council; because staff make council look good,” he said. “They are the professionals in the fields that they work. They’re the ones that create the reports. They’re the ones that make us look good. And I’ve appreciated the expertise, the experience and the professionalism of each and every one.”

Quaiff also has fond memories and proud accomplishments having served on the police board, and as its chairman; as chairman of the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus, as a member of the Eastern Ontario Leadership Council and as a director with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and member of the Eastern Ontario Mayors Caucus.

He recalled another comment spoken very late one evening by his wife.

“‘Sometime, you’ll have to close your eyes,’ she said.”

Having just become an official senior, at age 65, he is ready to take some time to enjoy their seven grandchildren; he hopes to enjoy some sunny weather in Florida and maybe even get his golf game back up to snuff.

In his honour, councillors, staff and members of the gallery thanked him with a standing ovation.

Councillors finishing their terms also expressed thanks during the meeting to the mayor, their peers, staff and the community.

Mayor-elect Steve Ferguson echoed their sentiments and noted departing councillors’ cumulative years of service represented 100.7 years.

Kevin Gale 21 years; Barry Turpin 15 years; Dianne O’Brien, 12 years; Robert Quaiff 11.7 years; Jim Dunlop 11 years and Gord Fox, 10 years. Lenny Epstein, Steve Graham, David Harrison, Roy Pennell and Treat Hull have each served the past four years.

“They are departing with the expertise, their passion, their history and the experience that they have brought to this council,” said Ferguson. “Over the course of four years, my first term, your mentorship, your leadership, and your leading by example has been very much appreciated… and will inform the way I conduct myself for the next four years in the position of mayor – following in the footsteps of Mayor Quaiff whose leadership has been exemplary. He has taught me so much about what leadership is all about, particularly within a municipal environment.”

Returning councillors Janice Maynard, Bill Roberts, Brad Nieman and Jamie Forrester will join new councillors Kate MacNaughton, Phil St-Jean, Phil Prinzen, Mike Harper, Bill McMahon, Andreas Bolik, Ernie Margetson, Stewart Bailey and John Hirsch.

The public is invited to attend the inaugural meeting of council as they take their oaths of office Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Regent Theatre. A reception in the lobby will follow the swearing-in ceremony. There is no cost to attend.

A look in photographs at Mayor Robert Quaiff over his term:

North Marysburgh councillor Robert Quaiff signs his nomination forms in the presence of Prince Edward County Clerk Kim White and his wife, Susan Quaiff.

Susan and Robert Quaiff celebrate victory as the final polls report in.

Mayor Robert Quaiff during his inaugural address to council.

Mayor Quaiff flies a simulator at 8 Wing Trenton and remarked about the importance of being good neighbours with CFB Trenton.

Robert and Susan Quaiff met several times with the province’s Lt.-Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and MP Neil Ellis greet Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff.

Mayor Quaiff with Premier Kathleen Wynne observe His Royal Highness Prince Charles pose for a photograph with Honey King, at the Wellington Farmers’ Market.

Mayor Robert Quaiff used this photograph of chunks of concrete he retrieved from Highway 49 during conversations about its poor condition while attending Ontario Good Roads Association / Rural Ontario Municipal Association conferences.

 

Special guests mayor Robert Quaiff and councillor Kevin Gale give Quaiff’s sister-in-law a hard time as they joke about whether her winning ticket is valid at the annual Kinsmen Charity Auction.

Mayor Robert Quaiff brought Prince Edward County matters to Parliament Hill during the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus annual Breakfast with MPs.

Mayor Robert Quaiff with Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health, MPP Todd Smith and Doug Socha, Hastings Quinte Paramedic Chief, touring Picton’s new fire hall and paramedic facility.

PEC Mayor Robert Quaiff, and councillors Gord Fox, Jim Dunlop and Steve Ferguson handed out more than 250 bottles of water to Friends for Life cyclists.

Quaiff’s ‘Quicksteppers’ make their way across the County Marathon finish line.

Mayor Robert Quaiff, councillors, staff, BIA members and construction company members officially open Picton’s Main Street following its reconstruction.

The Wellings of Picton was officially opened by General Manager Rachel Henry, MP Todd Smith, PEC Mayor Robert Quaiff, Nautical Lands Group CEO Kirk Hoppner and COO Kevin Pidgeon.

Bay of Quinte MP Neil Ellis and Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff waved their way along the Pumpkinfest parade route. Though Quaiff’s bid for the provincial Liberal seat fell through, he says he has no regrets.

Susan and Robert Quaiff at his announcement that he will not seek another term as Prince Edward County’s mayor.

A relaxed, now bearded, mayor cooked up pancakes this past weekend in support of Hospice Prince Edward.

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