The new council for the Municipality of Grey Highlands has taken office.
Grey Highlands held its inaugural council meeting on the evening of Dec. 5 at the Kinplex in Flesherton. Members of council took the oath of office, the Code of Conduct oath and gave brief speeches to open the term 2022 - 2026 council term. Council will hold its first business meeting on Dec. 7 starting at 9 a.m.
Clerk Raylene Martell chaired the meeting and administered the oaths of office for each member of council. Martell also read greetings from Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MP Alex Ruff, who was unable to attend.
CAO Karen Govan welcomed the new and returning members of council and also read greetings from Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Rick Byers.
“Putting your name on a ballot is easy. Making decisions over the next four years that will impact future generations – that will be the hard part,” said Govan, who said she is impressed with the commitment and passion the new council has shown already. “They’re engaged, prepared and ready to work hard for Grey Highlands.”
Mayor Paul McQueen was sworn in to begin his third term as mayor and his sixth term as a member of council and gave his mayor’s inaugural address after completing the oath ceremony.
“I am humbled and honoured to have been reelected once again as your mayor of Grey Highlands,” said McQueen, who took time to thank the members of the previous council who either retired or were not reelected. “Your commitment has moved the municipality forward, even through the trials and tribulations of a world-wide pandemic.”
McQueen also thanked municipal staff for their diligent work during the election period and their subsequent commitment to getting the new council up to speed with training and orientation.
“The election is over. The voters have spoken and with that comes a tremendous sense of responsibility,” said McQueen. “Over the next four years, the seven of us will be committed to engaging with the community to deal with the challenges and opportunities in Grey Highlands. We are committed to doing the very best we can for the community as a whole.”
McQueen looked forward to the coming term and mentioned several key projects including the drive to get the Grey Gables project back on the agenda at Grey County council, the upcoming completion of the new Markdale Hospital, the return of the Ram Rodeo to the community, a major development expected to begin soon in Markdale, getting a new Beavercrest School built and the continued revitalization of downtown Markdale.
“This past week, I have met with each newly elected councillor individually. I’m excited about our new team, Team Grey Highlands!” said McQueen. “We are ready to roll up our sleeves and work hard for the people of Grey Highlands.”
Each member of council also spoke briefly after taking their oaths of office. McQueen is joined by three returning councillors: Deputy Mayor Dane Nielsen and Councillors Paul Allen and Tom Allwood. Three new councillors were also elected for the term: Nadia Dubyk, Joel Loughead and Dan Wickens.
“Today is the start of the next four years,” said Nielsen, who forecasted stormy economic clouds in the coming years. “I have full confidence in this council’s ability to take on that challenge. We all have the same goal: make Grey Highlands a wonderful place to live, work and play.”
Allen said he is excited about the possibilities of the coming term.
“I feel that over the next four years we will do well for Grey Highlands and I’m looking forward to it,” said Allen.
Allwood said he is grateful for the chance to continue to serve.
“It really is an honour and a privilege to serve you, the ratepayers of Grey Highlands,” said Allwood. “I think this will be a pivotal term of Grey Highlands council.”
Loughead said he is ready to get to work with his new colleagues.’
“We have an incredible council. We all have an excellent feeling about our ability to work together,” said Loughead. “I look forward to being your councillor.”
Wickens pledged to serve to the best of his ability and said he has been impressed with his new council colleagues.
“I have a really good feeling. I look forward to doing the very best I can,” he said.
Dubyk promised to work collaboratively with staff, council and the community.
“I’m honoured to be elected to council,” she said. “We will continue our path to build the best Grey Highlands we can.”