Susan Swan wins Clinton mayor race by one vote

Incumbent councillor defeats former mayor and two other contenders.

Incumbent councillor Susan Swan has narrowly defeated former mayor Roland Stanke, and two other contenders, to become the new mayor of Clinton.

With the preliminary final numbers posted, Swan had 121 votes, while Stanke had 120. Incumbent councillor Diana Guerin received 81 votes, and Ira Zbarsky received 11 votes.

An informal recount on October 23 saw no change in the result.

Incumbent councillor David Park was returned, receiving 260 votes. Newcomers Sandra Burrage (242 votes), Christine Rivett (174 votes), and Kim McIlravey (165 votes) will be joining him on council.

Clinton had an impressive voter turnout, with 62.5 per cent of eligible voters casting a ballot.

Swan, who has served two terms as a councilor, said that the count on October 20 was “a real nail-biter.

“I was at the Memorial Hall for the count, which didn;t end until nearly 11 p.m. There was a period of time when I was kind of numb, when I was sure Roland had it. But I told myself ‘Don’t count yourself out yet.’”

She says she has a number of plans about what she wants to see happen in Clinton. “The most frequent thing that came up was the lack of rental housing. That’s a big one. I plan to work up a housing strategy with council and staff.

“And there are still no shovels in the ground on the seniors’ housing [the Liberal government promised $#2.9 million for a 10-unti seniors’ housing complex in Clinton in early 2017]. We need to continue to work on that.”

Swan says having more employers is another big issue. “Council can’t necessarily address that, but we can look to make things easier for businesses to set up here. ANd people won’t set up businesses if there’s no housing.”

Getting the public more engaged with what’s going on is another priority of Swan’s, as is work on the Village’s emergency preparedness plan.

“We have three brand new councillors, so I’m glad we have some continuity. I’m looking to David Park to help with that.”

Park, who is entering his third term as a councillor, says he’s looking forward to working with his fellow council members.

“We’re going to have some good debates and discussions. And I’ve worked with the mayor-elect for seven years; that consistency and continuity is great. I’m looking forward to the next term.

“We have two experienced council members, and it will be a learning curve for the other three. But we were all new [when we were elected] in 2011, and I’ve been really happy with the result.”

Park says that supportive housing for seniors is a big issue. “People have been working on that for many years. Infrastructure is another big issue. But I’m really confident going in. For me, that continuity is great.”

First-time councillor Rivett—the wife of current Clinton mayor Jim Rivett, who did not seek re-election—says she feels she has an advantage: “If I don’t understand the history behind something, I can ask, and I have someone there to bounce things off.”

Rivett intends to take advantage of the training available to newly elected officials. “I’ve been an office manager, and have run a community college, but there’s no job description for being in local government.”

She notes the mix of new and old faces on council, and says that the continuity will be good. “It’s nice to know the history, why decisions were made, even if we don’t agree with the decision. I feel that this council has done a really good job, and I want to keep the ball rolling.”

Rivett says that the proposed seniors’ living facility, when built, has the potential to free up 10 homes in the Village. “We need to get more people here, so that we can support more businesses.

“I’d like to see things go forward, see things propser. I’m looking forward to it.”

Burrage and McIlravey were not available for comment.



editorial@accjournal.ca

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