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Swearing-in ceremony marks new chapter for Sarnia council

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Tara Jeffrey

Sarnia’s new city council was sworn in Tuesday during its inaugural meeting at City Hall.

Led by Aamjiwnaang Chief Chris Plain, the ceremonial meeting officially kicked off the 2022-2026 term for Mayor Mike Bradley and councillors Dave Boushy, Terry Burrell, Bill Dennis, Anne Marie Gillis, Adam Kilner, Chrissy McRoberts, George Vandenberg and Brian White.

The oaths of office were administered by Justice Paul Kowalyshyn, whose late father served multiple terms on city and county council.

Piper Terry Mills leading the procession at the inaugural meeting and swearing in of the new Sarnia council. Also pictured are Justice Paul Kowalyshyn and departing Coun. Mike Stark. (City of Sarnai photo)

“This is obviously a very near and dear place in my heart,” he said.

Youngsters from Aamjiwnaang’s Binoojiinyag Kino Maagewgamgoons Early Learning Centre were also on hand to sing ‘O Canada,’ as well as an Eagle and Honour song for the new council, and departing councillor Mike Stark’s longtime council service was acknowledged.

Coun. Bill Dennis was also appointed acting mayor.

It was the twelfth swearing-in for Bradley, who highlighted the city’s longtime relationship with Aamjiwnaang First Nation.

“We’ve gone through some big challenges over the years,” he said with emotion. “But we continue to keep talking, and talking to each other. And I think that’s critically important for any relationship.”

Bradley also pointed to the work of the previous council, including, “getting through the toughest pandemic in 100 years.

“We had stable leadership, we kept the taxes low, and we got the debt reduced further.”

He highlighted the announcement of a 24-bed addictions hub, the city’s Waterfront Plan, redevelopment of the Bayside Mall, SCITS and Mitton Village, and ongoing efforts to attract newcomers and international students, “who have brought diversity to the community, brought money to the community and brought a whole different point of view to the community,” he said, pointing to the work of Judy Morris who heads the President’s Immigration Taskforce, and her work “trying to develop a strategy to get more people here.”

“And for those who say the status quo is OK? You are fundamentally wrong.”

“We’ve had the best real estate sales and housing sales in our history,” he added. “We’ve also had the other side of the issues that come from that — as it relates to homelessness and additions and high rental prices.”

Bradley stressed that the new council “has some difficult times ahead” pointing to rising inflation rates, interest rates, and talk of a looming recession.

“So this first year to me, is going to be the ‘batten down the hatches’ year,” he said. “We just try to do the fundamentals, do the basics, and then continue to implement these plans that we’ve inherited from the past council that have been very helpful to us.”

Sarnia’s new city council: Chrissy McRoberts, Brian White, Dave Boushy, George Vandenberg, Mike Bradley, Bill Dennis, Anne Marie Gillis, Adam Kilner, and Terry Burrell. (City of Sarnia photo)

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