The new council for the Town of The Blue Mountains has officially taken office.
Members of council were sworn into office at a special meeting held at the town hall on Monday, Nov. 21. Members of council took their oath of office, assumed their seats at the council table and made opening remarks.
The new mayor, Andrea Matrosovs, opened the new term of council with an inaugural address after each member of council shared their thoughts. Beaver Valley Pipes and Drums piper Eobhann Bruce escorted the new council into the chambers for the ceremony and Reverend Grayhame Bowcott led the audience in the singing of Oh Canada.
Town Clerk Corrina Giles convened the meeting and called each member of council up to the lectern to take the oath of office and she presented the new mayor with the chain of office.
“We all represent the constituents. We make difficult decisions. We will share our points of view, our questions and our concerns. We may need to agree to disagree, but we will all own the decisions in the end.” Matrosovs said in her address. She praised town staff for their continuing support. “I’m excited to be able to continue to work with you for the next four years.”
Matrosovs promised “collaborative leadership” with council, town staff and members and organizations of the community.
“I accept this role as head of council. I step into this role with gravity and ready to serve,” she said, calling on members of council to lead the community. “In this role as head of council I call on us to set the tone of mutual respect at this council table for each other, mutual respect with community members and respect for our staff.”
Matrosovs also took time to recognize that for the first time in the town’s history four out of seven members of council are female. The mayor noted that she wore the pearls of her great-grandmother for the inaugural ceremony.
“My great-grandmother fought with her mother and father for the right to go get a teaching certificate, much against their wishes that she pursue a profession,” said Matrosovos, who noted that her great-grandmother’s husband was killed in the First World War. “Thankfully she had that profession to rely on and she was able to continue as a single mother. And that was all before women had the right to vote. Today, I sit here at the council table with a first in the Town of The Blue Mountains, a first for the Village of Clarksburg, the Village of Thornbury and Collingwood Township. I sit here with four out of seven members that are female.”
Deputy mayor Peter Bordignon said he expects great things this term.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues. This is going to be a great council. There is a lot of work to be done,” said Bordignon, who praised town staff and the community as a whole for its commitment to being involved with the governing of the town.
Coun. Gail Ardiel is returning to the council table after a four-year absence. She thanked her family for their support over the many years she has served in local government.
“Many hours are spent on their own. It’s not an easy task,” she said. “I truly want to make our community a better place to live. Teamwork is important. Let’s all work together.”
Coun. Paula Hope thanked friends, family and supporters for their support during the election. Hope said she looks forward to the “joys and challenges” of the coming four years and she urged the community to continue to be involved.
“We’re going to need your continued belief in us. I hope you will always bless us with your thoughts and prayers,” said Hope. “I look forward with great excitement to collaborating with my council colleagues.”
Coun. Alex Maxwell thanked his friends and family for their support. He also thanked town staff, local media and community organizations for their work during the election. He said he is ready to get to work.
“I look forward to representing and serving each one of you the next four years,” said Maxwell.
Coun. Shawn McKinlay said his election to council is a “monumental change in my life” and he said he is ready for the challenge.
“I’m looking forward to moving forward and working with everybody on this council and in the community,” said McKinlay.
Coun. June Porter said she is “humbled and grateful” for the support she received during the election and promised she would represent the concerns of constituents.
“I am accountable to you. I feel that’s very important,” she said. “I think we’re entering a very interesting time. We have the legacy of the council, which has done very good work. We also have Bill 23, affordable housing and a lot of issues to tackle. I really look forward to doing that in an environmentally sustainable way with a strong fiscal lens.”
The new council will hold its first business meeting on Monday, Nov. 28 at 9 a.m.