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Title - The View from Dundas
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Will Byvelds run for a second term
By Phillip Blancher
OurHometown.ca

Will Byvelds run for a second term
From left to right: Guy Lauzon, Member of Parliament for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, Steven Byvelds, Mayor of the Township of South Dundas, and Grant Crack, Member of Provincial Parliament for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, break ground on major upgrades to the Iroquois Wastewater Treatment Plant.
PHOTO CREDIT - Infrastructure Canada

South Dundas - June 21, 2014 - Will Steven Byvelds run for a second term as Mayor of South Dundas?

As reported in various media since the opening of the nomination period of the 2014 Municipal Election, Mayor Byvelds said he would wait until summer to announce his intentioned. A comment echoed to this writer when I asked the Mayor after a committee meeting a week and a half ago. His comment was that it was not summer yet.

In the interest of disclosure, I serve on the Morrisburg Waterfront Implementation Committee along with Mayor Byvelds.

It is almost summer however, and now that the Provincial Election has been settled, the focus turns on to the local municipal race.

Byvelds has a fair record to run on. Advancement of both Iroquois and Morrisburg waterfront issues, a new Township, er I mean Municipal Centre, and new medical centres in both Iroquois and Morrisburg were built. The recreation centre in Dunbar was rebuilt after a fire, the former township hall in Williamsburg was leased out to a school, Morrisburg has a new library, and Williamsburg is getting a new library.

Lakeshore Drive in Morrisburg is undergoing a massive reconstruction to fix storm water drainage issues, the industrial park in Morrisburg is undergoing a roadway expansion, despite issues with rare tree species, and the waste-water treatment facility in Iroquois is currently being replaced. All of this, without major tax increases to the ratepayers. And the Iroquois Golf Course hasn't been an issue for the last few years.

From the outset, it looks like Byvelds has a "builder" record to run on. The "Infrastructure Mayor". His term, so far, as mayor has not been without controversy. Residents on Lakeshore Drive near the former industrial tank farm has taken exception to his support of the installation of grain storage bins at the port facility. Some residents, including this columnist, were upset with the rebuilding the underused recreation facility in Dunbar, and how the closure of the Williamsburg Library was handled.

Council, led by Byvelds, passed a motion to be an "unwilling host" to wind turbines near Brinston only after the contracts were signed. The Williamsburg Library issue now is costing taxpayers over $200,000 for a new library, after leasing out the location of the old library. Council also played banker, lending money to the local BIA for a digital sign board, something that could have been done by the BIA through one of their member banks.

However overall economic development in the municipality has not been stellar. With areas like Cornwall, South Glengarry and South Stormont adding distribution centres and other industrial activities, South Dundas has not faired well in that aspect. The relocation and expansion of the MacEwan Gas Station and McDonalds does not add to long term industrial growth which creates jobs.

Many residents, including this one, have had exception with how municipal administration has dealt with issues, a lack of communication between administration higher-ups and the residents. There has also been too much "sole-sourcing" of contracts and far too many consultants hired in the last four years for some residents.

Despite some of the issues this term however, the mayor has a fairly strong record to run on. But will he run? Current councilor Evonne Delegarde has filed her papers to run for Mayor. In a two way race between Delegarde and Byvelds, record and vision for the future matter much more, as does personality.

There is a strong possibility that one, if not two, former candidates for mayor from past elections will be filing their nomination papers. If that is the case, and Byvelds chooses to run, the election will favour the incumbent.

Listening around the local coffee shops (there are more of these than just Tim Horton's), the consensus is that Byvelds is a straight-shooting, matter-of-fact mayor who hasn't done a bad job the last four years. A "steady hand at the tiller" as one person commented. Listen around though and you will hear some rumbles of dis-contention.

Byvelds has not come out and said "yes" or "no" to an attempt at a second-term, but there are no indications that he has ducked-out of the race just yet. Summer just around the corner.

Follow Me on TwitterPhillip Blancher is a writer, web geek and communications professional by trade. He has written for a number of publications in Eastern Ontario and Northern New York State and also was a weekly morning show contributor for two area radio stations. As a resident of South Dundas for the last seven years, this long-time political buff has taken on an appreciation of small-town/rural life while also being a father of four and a soccer coach. Blancher's columns on OurHometown.ca will cover a range of his interests from politics, parenthood, local history and on his favourite NHL team, the Buffalo Sabres. If you have questions or wish to contact Phillip, you can email him at pblancher@ourhometown.ca






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