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Mayor-elect Steve Ferguson and nine new faces for County council

Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff and his wife Susan congratulate Mayor-elect Steve Ferguson and his wife Mary Malone.

By Sue Capon and Olivia Timm
Prince Edward County voters expressed their desire for change, electing nine new faces to the horseshoe at Shire Hall, and ousting seven incumbents.

Mayor-elect Steve Ferguson earned just over 50 per cent of the vote, edging fellow councillor Dianne O’Brien while newcomer Richard Whiten gained just over nine per cent of ballots cast.

“I’m really thrilled,” said Ferguson, surrounded by supporters, candidates, family and friends watching the results displayed on the overhead screen set up at the Wellington Community Centre. “We’ve got a lot to do and I’m optimistic we are going to be able to accomplish great things in the next four years and beyond.”

Ferguson said he sensed while campaigning that there was going to be some turnover of councillors, hearing a call for change.

“I don’t disagree with some of that, but we do need some continuity, history and experience the councillors have always brought to the table.

“But change won’t wait because our County faces urgent issues that must be addressed – issues such as revenue shortfall, health care, short-term accommodations and our sense of place, attainable housing, skilled workers, training facilities and environmental protection,” he stated. “In addition, we will have to manage the legalization of cannabis products.”

New faces to council include Kate MacNaughton and Phil St. Jean in Picton; Phil Prinzen (joining Brad Nieman) in Bloomfield; Mike Harper in Wellington; Bill McMahon and Andreas Bolik (joining Janice Maynard) in Ameliasburgh; Ernie Margetson in Hillier; Stewart Bailey in North Marysburgh and John Hirsch in South Marysburgh. Jamie Forrester was re-elected in Athol and Bill Roberts was acclaimed in Sophiasburgh.

Incumbents not re-elected include Barry Turpin, Gord Fox, Jim Dunlop, Roy Pennell, Steve Graham, David Harrison and O’Brien.

Ferguson plans to meet with each of the new and returning councillors “to understand each other and our priorities, to hit the ground running on December 1.”

But with budget time looming for January, he’s already planned their Christmas present.

“The councillors’ elect Christmas present will be a six-inch thick binder of budget materials with a card saying ‘Merry Christmas, have a good time with your friends and family, but make sure you come prepared in January,” said Ferguson.

“During my campaign, I introduced ideas at public meetings, on social media and in conversation with residents’ groups such as task teams, a water commission, an environmental advisory committee, better communication and more regular, open and transparent public engagement, as well as ideas to increase revenue and reduce costs.”

Also high on his agenda is making sure the County gets its new hospital.

“As far as I know the provincial government is supportive of a new hospital for Prince Edward County. I will be working with the Foundation and with the provincial government to make sure that they live up to that word.”

The new council, he said will find solutions to these and other issues, “Each councillor has to make decisions for all of the county not just the local ward they represent,” he said. “It’s going to be a very busy four years.”

Ferguson congratulated O’Brien and Whiten on running good campaigns and said he hopes they will continue to be involved in the County.

Family members Denise O’Brien and Barbara Down with Dianne O’Brien, Lorraine Farnsworth and Stewart O’Brien joined friends and supporters at Dianne’s campaign office in Bloomfield.

O’Brien was surrounded by friends, family and supporters at her Bloomfield campaign office.

“This has been such a new and thrilling experience with ups and downs,” she said. “Over this campaign, one of the most surprising things to learn, for me, is how happy people truly are, to live in Prince Edward County. Overall, there’s issues with roads and housing and those are big issues – but generally, most people are happy and proud to call it home.”

O’Brien said she hopes the new council works on conflict resolution and really considers changes to the budget.

“There should a strong, united, cohesive council,” she said. “And I know everyone says it, but affordable housing is a huge issue.”

O’Brien said she’s also grateful for the support she has experienced.

Her brother, Stewart, and sister, Denise, expressed pride in O’Brien’s campaign.

“Dianne has worked very hard to get where she is,” Stewart said. “She’s a dedicated and hard worker. She sat on council for 12 years, and I was on council for 14 years. I really understand how Dianne ran such a great race.”

Denise echoed his comments.

“Dianne’s strength is being able to connect with people and she’s so interested in what they have to say. I think that makes a huge difference. She understand the County, because she lives it. She genuinely gets it,” she said.

With just over 900 votes separating them, O’Brien wished Ferguson all the best as the new mayor of Prince Edward County.

“I wish Steve good luck and continued success. He did work hard in this campaign. He worked hard as a councillor and I’m sure he will work hard as the mayor.”

Richard and Amanda Whiten were also surrounded by family, friends and supporters as they watched the numbers come in.

Richard Whiten said he was overwhelmed at the support received during his campaign – an also on election night as a few councillors came to support him while watching election results with family and friends at the 555 Brewing Company.

“It’s been a long road and I’ve really, really enjoyed the whole process,” he said. “Meeting everyone that I’ve met along the way has been probably the best part. It’s been such a good learning experience for me.”

The new council, he said will be positive for the County.

“I’m going to stay involved; even more than I’ve been. I’ve been sitting on the sidelines for years watching local politics and I intend to make my voice heard and the voice of others around me.”

Whiten wished the mayor-elect well and said he’s also grateful for the support from O’Brien.

“She has been so supportive for me going through this whole process, especially with attending events and public speaking, which isn’t much in my comfort zone,” he said.

Still in charge for the coming month, retiring Mayor Robert Quaiff congratulated Ferguson at the Wellington Community Centre and welcomed him to meet at Shire Hall for a smooth transition before the new council takes over Dec. 1.

“I will tell him what I think is important and why – such as continued involvement in the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus, and I will recommend to continue to be involved with 8 Wing, CFB Trenton. They treat us so very well, like neighbours.”

Quaiff said he’s looking forward to retiring and spending time with he and wife Susan’s seven grandchildren.

“It’s time to step back and enjoy life,” said Quaiff. “It is the best job I’ve ever had.”

Unofficial results: (elected in bold)
Steve Ferguson 4981 50.17%
Dianne O’Brien 4043 40.72%
Richard Whiten 904 9.11%

Picton Ward 1
Kate MacNaughton 723 27.12%
Phil St-Jean 633 23.74%
Mark Rose 471 17.67%
Barry Turpin 360 13.50%
Ray Hobson 325 12.19%
Stephanie Bell 154 5.78%

Bloomfield/Hallowell Ward 2
Phil Prinzen 1162 39.88%
Brad Nieman 802 27.52%
Gordon Fox 619 21.24%
Gil Leclerc 331 11.36%

Wellington Ward 3
Mike Harper 822 68.50%
Jim Dunlop 242 20.17%
Brent Kleinsteuber 136 11.33%

Ameliasburgh Ward 4
Janice Maynard 907 18.39%
Bill McMahon 764 15.49%
Andreas H. Bolik 742 15.04%
Terry Shortt 697 14.13%
Roy Pennell 589 11.94%
Michael McLeod 575 11.66%
Paul Boyd 544 11.03%
Tim Fellows 115 2.33%

Athol Ward 5
Jamie Forrester 321 46.86%
Bob Rogers 193 28.18%
Nicola Chapman 171 24.96%

Sophiasburgh Ward 6
Bill Roberts acclaimed

Hillier Ward 7
Ernie Margetson 611 74.15%
Angie Baldwin 134 16.26%
Steve Graham 79 9.59%

North Marysburgh, Ward 8
Stewart Bailey 399 53.34%
David Harrison 349 46.66%

South Marysburgh, Ward 9
John Hirsch 207 37.77%
Elis Ziegler 174 31.75%
Brian Sword 118 21.53%
Geoff Church 49 8.94%

Hastings & Prince Edward District School Board – Wards 1, 2, 5, 8 and 9
Alison Kelly 2656 58.66%
Dwayne Inch 1544 34.10%
Matti Kopamees 328 7.24%

Hastings & Prince Edward District School Board – Wards 3, 4, 6 and 7
Jennifer Cobb, acclaimed

Algonquin & Lakeshore Catholic District School Board
Gregory Speagle acclaimed

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  1. Emily says:

    Thanks Michelle for enlightening us to the dangers of online voting. If people did not feel the need for immediate results, the old paper ballot that can be accurately counted and verified tops all options, especially for recounts!

  2. Gary Mooney says:

    There wasn’t much voter data involved. Name and address and voter ID (received in the mail and not useful for anything else). You can get name and address from telephone directories.

  3. Michelle says:

    There were certainly glitches for online voting and delayed results as much as 24 hours. The biggest concern is hacking and so much access to a voters personal information. Hard to beat the paper ballot being counted with scrutineers. Removes all doubt.

  4. Chuck says:

    Given that 51 Ontario municipalities experienced on line voting glitches run by a United States company, are we confident results are accurate?

  5. snowman says:

    Congratulations to everyone who ran for office. Not easy to put yourself out there.
    To the new Mayor and Council: Please check your ego at the front door of Shire Hall. Remember who you are representing.
    The Mayor was elected by 5000 of us to lead council. Some of you were elected with as few as 200 votes and even the highest vote getter received 1100.
    We need a strong Mayor willing to work with every member of Council to get things done.

  6. Gary Mooney says:

    I’ve prepared a short analysis of election results, available at http://www.pec2018acs.wordpress.com.

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