Sarnians woke up today with only two new faces and a former councillor on their nine-person city council.
New to political life are Mitton Village champion Chrissy McRoberts and United Church minister Adam Kilner. Former city councillor and unsuccessful 2018 mayoral candidate Anne Marie Gillis has returned to serve the city after narrowly beating council candidate Michelle Parks.
Of particular note, Mayor Mike Bradley is back for his 11th term at the helm, making him Sarnia’s longest service mayor and one of the longest serving in Ontario.
“When people ask how you last so long, all these years, you know, 11 terms and all that, I say it’s real simple,” he told a cheering crowd of supporters at Paddy Flaherty’s Irish Pub Monday night.
“Citizen service. Citizen service. And understanding I’m not above the people. I am not below them. I am the people. And I never forget that every day,” said Bradley.
He said he looks forward to working with the new council.
“All I ask is they have integrity and check their egos at the door.
“It’s not about them, it’s about the city.”
He defeated one-term councillor Nathan Colquhoun by approximately 4,000 votes.
Colquhoun, 38, spent the campaign urging Sarnians to vote for change. At age 67, Bradley was elected to city council in 1985 and has served as mayor since 1988.
“I did my best. I’m not sorry I ran for mayor,” Colquhoun said, surrounded by his supporters at Maud’s Variety. “It was about the conversation and we have all had a very unifying conversation.”
Colquhoun said he is excited that McRoberts and Kilner won council seats because they represent the change that is needed for Sarnia.
“I think this is going to be a council that works well together,” he said. “I see the new council as more progressive, thinking of the city before themselves.”
Colquhoun said he enjoyed his one term on council and has not discounted future political endeavours although they might not involve becoming an elected official.
“I’ll never be done being political,” he said. “Everything I do, all my businesses and all of my passions will always be centred around improving this city.”
Incumbents Bill Dennis, Brian White and Dave Boushy will join McRoberts representing Sarnia both at city council and Lambton County council. Dennis topped the polls with an unofficial count of 9,669 votes. McRoberts was close behind with 9,526.
Incumbent councillors Mike Stark and Margaret Bird were defeated.
White was one of only a few gathered at city hall waiting for the results to be posted in council chambers. It’s a longstanding tradition that appears to be disappearing now that election results are posted online in Sarnia.
“This campaign felt really quiet,” White said. “There seems to be less engagement and it felt drawn out over three months.”
When it was apparent he would retain his seat, White said he was grateful because there are numerous projects he wants to see through to fruition including rejuvenation of Mitton Village, waterfront redevelopment and climate change protocols.
Winners of the four city seats are incumbents George Vandenberg, Terry Burrell, Gillis and Kilner.
The 2022 election attracted a robust group of candidates including 25 who wanted to fill the city’s four seats and another nine who wanted the four city/county seats.
Unofficially, Jennifer McCann and Linda Ward were elected as trustees for the St. Clair Catholic District School Board. For the Lambton Kent District School Board, David Shortt, Jack Fletcher and Melinda Little were elected.
Official results of both the in-person and online vote will likely be confirmed later today along with Sarnia’s voter turnout.
For updated results, go to: sarnia.ca/2022electionresults.