St. Clair election ‘highly acclaimed’

Tara Jeffrey

There won’t be a record voter turnout in St. Clair Township this month.

With the majority of council already acclaimed, some residents won’t be casting votes at all.

“I would say this is highly unusual,” said clerk Jeff Baranek, noting that Ward 2 residents who support the Catholic school board system won’t have the opportunity to vote in the upcoming municipal election. “In some cases, your neighbour will be getting a ballot, and you won’t be.”

The mayor (Steve Arnold), deputy mayor (Peter Gilliland), and both councillors (incumbents Steve Miller and Darrell Randell) have all been acclaimed in Ward 2 (the former Sombra Township), along with the lone English language St. Clair Catholic District School Board trustee (Carol Bryden).

“So you’ll only be getting a ballot in that ward if you support the public school system,” Baranek said.

There is still a five-way race for three council seats in Ward 1 (the former Moore Township). A ‘Meet the Candidates’ event was slated for Wednesday, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Courtright Community Hall.

This marks the third municipal election involving mail-in ballots for more than 11,000 eligible voters in St. Clair Township. Voter kits are expected to arrive this week, and must be mailed by Oct. 18, or dropped off at the St. Clair Civic Centre in Mooretown by 8 p.m. on election day, Oct. 27.

A brief description of the five Ward 1 candidates (three to be elected):

 Jeff Agar

– Seeking 3rd term on council.

The issues: maintaining low tax rate while keeping infrastructure strong to attract new business and residential growth; securing more funding for the Shell Rapids Health Clinic, attracting more doctors.

 Jim Degurse:

– 10 years experience as municipal councilor

The issues: maintaining low tax rate while dealing with infrastructure needs, policing costs, revenue loss from LGS closure and addressing environmental concerns when considering expansions/new projects.

 Pat Brown:

– Employed at Lanxess, member of Local UA 663

Served on council in the mid-80s; and from 2006-2010

The issues: loss of jobs, tax revenue; attracting industry; environmental issues

 Tracy Kingston:

– Business owner (Kay’s Petals & Plants)

The issues: Feels there is a lack of female representation on council; plans to advocate for small business; increasing costs of electricity and power outages; lack of Internet service in rural areas

 Patricia Carswell-Alexander:

– 17 years on council

The issues: Keeping taxes down; attracting more business, jobs; Keeping our young people here