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