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Grey Highlands has a record number of candidates

The election brings a three-way races for mayor and deputy mayor and 17 candidates for the five seats on council
2020_08_19 Grey Highlands highway sign_JG

Interest in the municipal election in the Municipality of Grey Highlands is at an all-time high.

Unlike many communities that struggled to fill a slate of candidates for the election on October 24, Grey Highlands set a record for the most candidates in an election since the municipality was formed.

A total of 23 candidates are seeking council seats in the election. The election features three-way races for mayor and deputy mayor and 17 candidates for the five seats on council.

Two members of the current council are not running for reelection. Deputy Mayor Akash Desai and Coun. Cathy Little are both leaving local government. Mayor Paul McQueen and Coun. Danielle Valiquette are both running for mayor in a three-way contest with Don Alp. 

With multiple members of the current council not returning after the election, Grey Highlands is now in a lame duck situation and council has limited decision-making power.

A provision of the Municipal Act triggers lame duck status for councils in this situation, which is meant to prevent an outdoing council from operating in a way that would disadvantage the incoming council. 

During the lame duck period, which will last until a new council is sworn in on Nov. 15, staff or officers of the municipality cannot be hired or dismissed, property belonging to the town valued over $50,000 cannot be sold or donated, and the town cannot make any purchase exceeding $50,000 that has not already been approved through the budget, unless it is an emergency situation.

In 2019, Grey Highlands passed a bylaw that delegates authority to senior staff during the lame duck period. Decision-making authority has been delegated to the CAO with sign-offs from the treasurer and one other senior manager required.

Grey Highlands has 23 candidates for council and a further eight candidates for the local school board positions.

The candidates are:

Mayor (one to be elected):

Paul McQueen, Danielle Valiquette and Don Alp.

Deputy Mayor (on to be elected):

Dane Nielsen, Stephen (Steve) Patrick Maloney and Melanie Ann Seeley

Council (five to be elected):

Lynn Silverton, Dan Wickens, Tom Allwood, Paul Allen, Joel Loughead, Gary Franklin, Brian McCulloch, Reid Dennison, Emmett Ferguson, Joe Van der Vechte, Joyce Hall, Nadia Dubyk, Jessica Hammond, Roger David Tumminieri, Lorraine Ann O’Halloran, Christine Wagner (Jantzen) and John van Goch.

Bluewater District School Board trustee for Grey Highlands and Southgate (one to be elected):

Janice Kaikkonen, Bryden Jones and Shenika Reid

French Public Trustee – Conseil Scolaire Viamonde (one to be elected):

Eric Lapointe and Saveria Caruso

Bruce Grey Catholic District School Board (one to be elected):

Robyn Garvey Wiseman (acclaimed to the position)

French Separate Trustee - Conseil Scolair Catholic Providence (one to be elected):

Sylvie C. Barbeau-Chmielewski and Meghan Reale

Election day province-wide is October 24, 2022. For this election, Grey Highlands has approved both internet and in-person voting methods. In-person voting will be available on Election Day from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Grey Highlands Municipal Office in Markdale.

In addition, there will be four Advanced Voting Centres established at various locations throughout the municipality including:

Sat. Oct. 8 – Feversham Community Centre 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Sun. Oct. 9 – Markdale Community Centre Arena 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Sat. Oct. 15 – Rocklyn Community Centre 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Sun. Oct. 16 – Flesherton Kinplex 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Internet voting is also available through the services of Dominion Voting Services. This means that voters will have the ability to vote anytime, anywhere on their computer or other device starting at 10 a.m. on October 7, 2022 and continuing through until election day. Full election information is available at the municipality's website.

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About the Author: Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Chris Fell covers The Blue Mountains and Grey Highlands under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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