Lennox defeats Yake, reclaiming Wellington North mayor’s seat

Penny Renken wins seat on council in only other real race in township

KENILWORTH – Andy Lennox will return as Wellington North mayor after defeating challenger Dan Yake on Monday night by 171 votes.

Yake, current Ward 1 councillor, garnered 1,475 votes – not enough to unset Lennox, who received 1,646 votes.

Turnout for the vote-by-mail election is down from 2018’s election, according to data provided by municipal clerk Karren Wallace.

The 2022 turnout is officially 36.7 per cent, down from 42.7% in 2018.

Reached by phone while celebrating with friends and family on election night, Lennox said, “I’m delighted to have the trust of the community placed in me to tackle another four years of the challenges ahead for us.”

Lennox has previously discussed at public forums and candidate meetings the growing pains facing the township and the cost of maintaining and building new infrastructure.

Lennox said he feels good about his campaign, with its unique challenges.

“Every campaign I find is different, so this one was no exception,” he said.

The difference this time around lies not only in the competition against Yake for the mayor’s seat, but also the increased demands of the job, especially with the loss of key staff and a pandemic to sort through.

“I think the first thing we need to do is get together as a group and look at what our collective priorities are,” the mayor said.

“We’re far more successful if we’re all pulling in the same direction.”

Yake did not respond to requests for comment before publishing time.

Current councillors Lisa Hern (Ward 3) and Steve McCabe (Ward 4) have been acclaimed.

Ward 1

In a three-way race for Ward 1, Penny Renken received 382 votes, enough to defeat challengers Shawn McLeod, who received 289 votes, and Jeanean Mousseau, with 165.

“I wasn’t quite sure how it was going to play out,” Renken said by phone on Monday night.

I thought I worked hard for it, and I certainly talked to a lot of people,” she added.

Her focus moving forward, she said, is to “listen and learn,” referencing the old adage about having two ears and one mouth.

Renken thanked constituents for opening doors and sharing their concerns and thoughts with her.

“If I can help, that’s my goal, what’s what I’m here for,” she said.

Reached by phone on Tuesday, McLeod said he was disappointed with the results and he had hoped to fare better.

“The turnout was expected; I wasn’t pleased because I’d still like to see more people involved, but certainly it’s on par with what it’s been,” he said.

McLeod thanked the community for its support and congratulated his fellow candidates.

Mousseau said campaigning was “definitely a learning experience” she appreciated.

She congratulated Renken on her win, saying, “I know that she worked really hard on her campaign, and it paid off for her.”

Ward 2

As expected, incumbent Sherry Burke cruised to victory in Ward 2.

Her opponent, Menno Klunder, belatedly tried to withdraw from the race and expressed a desire not to run, but his name still appeared on the ballot.

Burke garnered 843 votes, and 109 people cast their ballot for Klunder.