Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Vote in the Ward One By-Election

If you live in Ward One, you will have likely seen some by-election signs displayed on a few people’s lawns. Well, they won’t be there long…the by-election is on Monday!

You will recall that following the resignation of Debbie Urbanowicz from Pelham Town Council, Councillors debated our options to replace her.

Essentially, the Municipal Act provides two possibilities: Council may appoint an “eligible” person – a Canadian citizen over 18 years old and who resides in the Town; or Council may hold a by-election for that specific, Ward seat.

Initially, the majority of Councillors opted to appoint someone. They wanted to advertise in the paper, interview applicants, and pick the new Councillor during a special closed-door session. (I disagreed with the idea and voted against the plan.)

Well, Councillors and I were overwhelmed by the feedback from the community! I had so many people contact me that I had to keep track of the phone calls, emails, and conversations in a spreadsheet. When I analyzed the results, I found that more than two-thirds of the households that contacted me suggested we hold a by-election. Interesting, if you broke that down by Wards, more than 84% of Ward One households called for a by-election.

The majority feel that it is far better that hundreds and hundreds of people choose their new Councillor instead of a few people around a Council table.

Council listened to the feedback, and, on March 21, voted to hold a by-election. The Town’s Clerk called for nominations from the community from April 5 until May 6.

Following that nomination period, a total of five people put their names forward for the by-election. They include: Louis Butko, David Emmons, Rob Fraser, Jim Lane, and Richard Rybiak.

Interestingly, only two candidates – Richard Rybiak and Jim Lane – actually live in Ward One. (Each of the other candidates lives in Ward Two and can’t even vote in the by-election.)

So, today is the Advance Poll day from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM at the new Pelham Fire Station #2 at 766 Welland Road, Fenwick.

Voting Day will be Monday, June 20 from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM at either the new Pelham Fire Station #2 or at the First Presbyterian Church, 602 Metler Road, North Pelham. (For more information about Voting, please visit the Town’s website at

This is your opportunity to have your voice heard. If you are an eligible voter in Ward One, please vote!