All five men elected to the new Erin council were unanimous in their vow to help restore “decorum” and teamwork to the table, things many residents say have been lacking under the town’s current leadership.
“We need a council that works together, which I think will be easy to do with the team that’s been elected,” Allan Alls said moments after he was announced as the town’s next mayor on Monday night.
In what many regarded as essentially a two-man race, Alls received a resounding 2,403 votes (60% of the total cast for mayor), handily defeating opponents Rod Finnie, who garnered 1,120 votes (28%), and David Lyver (464 votes or 12%).
“I think I’m well respected in the community and I hope that I can continue that as mayor,” Alls said with a smile.
He thanked his election team and noted he will be quitting his job as a local real estate agent to concentrate on being a “full-time” mayor.
Alls said the biggest issue facing council will be how to address the town’s wastewater issues to pave the way for growth.
“We do need some growth – but controlled growth,” he said. “We need industry and commerce more than anything.”
In a brief speech following the results announcement, Alls said he will lean heavily on Finnie for advice over the next term.
Finnie, who has served as Erin’s mayor in the past, said residents wanted a change “from what the last four years have been.”
“I guess he’s a better salesman than I am,” Finnie said with a laugh of Alls.
However, Finnie said both he and the mayor-elect “both tried to run a good campaign,” and he also complimented the other members of the new council.
“I think they have a lot of good people there,” he told the Advertiser.
For the second election in a row, John Brennan topped the polls for council, receiving 1,990 votes (14.2%).
“It means that for an awful lot of people I was at least their fourth choice,” Brennan said with a laugh when asked about his popularity with voters.
He added, “I think we have a really strong council and I look forward to working hard with them.”
Also elected to council were former councillor Jeff Duncan (1,936 votes or 13.8%) and newcomers Matt Sammut (1,735 or 12.4%) and Rob Smith (1,429 or 10.2%).
“I do think people wanted a change in attitude and decorum at the town,” Duncan said. “But they didn’t want all new people either.”
In addition to improving communication and its attitude with the public, Duncan said the township must tackle its Servicing and Settlement Master Plan.
Sammut said he is “very pleased” with the outcome of the election, noting his team worked very hard during the campaign.
“I was thrilled all the support thrown at me came to fruition at the polls,” he said.
He noted the communication issues and bickering of the current council will likely be solved just by a change in personnel at the table.
“We all want to make a difference in our town,” said Sammut. “It doesn’t mean we won’t disagree, but we will do it in a civil manner.”
Smith too acknowledged the new council will address some of the problems plaguing the current council, not the least of which are marathon council meetings often lasting four-plus hours.
“I think it’s a great council,” he said of the new team elected. “I think we’ll work well together.”
Smith, who also noted the need for an operational review at the town, said he thinks it’s no secret why he was elected.
“Probably because I’m not rehearsed … what you see is what you get,” he said, adding,
“I’m one of the people … and I do a lot in the community.”
The rest of the candidates for councillor in the election finished as follows: Jamie Cheyne 1,396 votes (9.9%), Chris Naraysingh 1,369 (9.7%), Evelyn McLean 1,198 (8.5%), Josie Wintersinger 1,009 (7.2%), Shawn Wilson 742 (5.3%), Craig Porterfield 679 (4.8%) and George Silva 549 (3.9%).