Centre Wellington resident Rob Black garnered nearly twice the vote of his two opponents in the Wellington County Council Ward 5 race on Monday night.
With 2,174 votes, Black handily defeated incumbent Jean Innes (1,314) and Allan Hons (709).
In a telephone interview with the Wellington Advertiser, Black stated he was in Ottawa and unable to be in town on election night.
While new to the position of Wellington County councillor, Black said, “I believe I have the skills, the connections and the networking abilities to help me as a county councillor.”
Black noted throughout his campaign, he had heard many good things about Wellington County. Although he did hear comments about the condition of sidewalks and bridges, he said, “we live in a pretty good place.”
As some of the concerns were discussed, Black said he could not just tell people certain concerns were not a county issue.
While he feels there needs to be a better understanding of the division of duties between local and county levels of government, he contended the goal should be for both levels of government to work closer together to fix what needs to be solved.
He said his current job involves bringing people together. “We need to listen and communicate regularly – to help clear the muddy waters.”
He added “I’m not going to say ‘that is not my problem.’”
Black said with the exception of a few years, Centre Wellington has been his home.
But his campaign took him to new places in Ward 5 – “I saw places I never knew existed.”
He explained campaigning door to door allowed him to see the community from a different perspective.
Alluding briefly to the issue of the boundary concerns raised in Centre Wellington, Black said both the county and Centre Wellington should work on together.
Candidate Allan Hons was philosophical about the campaign.
“It’s always good to get out there and talk to the community and share your ideas,” said Hons.
In the coming term he would like to see the county pay more attention to the local levels of government, stating, “I feel (the county) has drifted away from the concerns of its townships and citizens.”
Jean Innes stated the election process gave her the opportunity to publicise the Wellington Place Concept Plan, which maps out the greenland, roads, trails and buildings that will one day be on the Wellington County lands between Fergus and Elora.
“I regret not talking more about how the move could be funded, it seemed obvious to me that the vacated buildings in downtown Guelph would be sold to support their relocation to land owned by the county.”
“That’s exactly where I believe the direction of county should be headed right there in the future, geographically anyway.:
She added that anybody who wants to see the Wellington Place Concept Plan for themselves will find it on the Wellington County website.