Orangeville voters elect seven fresh faces to serve on municipal council

October 30, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Baker

There was a sense of shock, intrigue and, finally, excitement in the air on Monday evening as Orangeville residents who took to the polls delivered an emphatic message by voting in an entirely new municipal council for what is believed to be the first time.

As results started to roll in shortly before 9 p.m. it quickly became apparent that voters wanted to see a change at Town Hall, and that was exactly what they got. At the top of the card, local real estate agent Sandy Brown led the way in the mayoral race, securing 3,413 votes. Darrin Davidson finished in second place with 2,914 votes, while incumbent Jeremy Williams finished far behind in third with 1,477 votes.

“This has been a night of real change,” Mr. Brown told the Citizen shortly after his victory speech in front of a packed crowd at the Black Wolf Smokehouse. “I feel the town did a good job at the polls – they got things right.”

Former fire chief Andy Macintosh secured the deputy mayor’s seat in a landslide over veteran politician Nick Garisto, receiving 5,685 votes to Mr. Garisto’s 2,014.

There was a complete change at councillor level, too. In what has been described as one of the strongest candidate pools in decades, Todd Taylor (4,913 votes), Grant Peters (4,204), Debbie Sherwood (3,742), Joe Andrews (3,588) and Lisa Post (3,528) were the five individuals elected to round out Orangeville’s next council. Incumbent Don Kidd finished seventh overall with 2,408 votes, well behind Simran Bhamu, who secured 3,112 tallies.

The rest of the councillor candidate votes were as follows: Kelly Zammit (2,303) Robert Duthie (1,717), Vic Thapar (1,490), Trevor Castiglione (1,451) and James Jackson (948).

In what may come as a surprise to some considering the publicity this year’s election received across all forms of media and the apparent unrest amongst Orangeville residents regarding antics at Town Hall over the past four years, voter turnout was down from the 2014 municipal election. Only 7,899 of the community’s 20,321 registered voters cast their ballots this year, bringing voter turnout to 38.87 percent, down from 39.3 percent in 2014.

This marks the first time in at least 40 years that Orangeville will enter into a new term of council without any member previously having council experience. That, according to mayor-elect Brown, is a sign of the community’s discontent over the way things have transpired at Town Hall over the past four years.

“I definitely think this is a reaction. If there’s one thing I’ve heard from people on my campaign trail it’s how dissatisfied they’ve been with this current council. In the end, I think the people just had enough,” Mr. Brown said.

He commended voters for “doing their homework” ahead of the vote, believing the seven candidates now charged with steering the proverbial municipal ship will come together to make an effective team.

“I really think the other six individuals voted in are excellent choices. Orangeville won in a big, big way this evening,” Mr. Brown said. “I’m really looking forward to the next four years, working alongside experienced, quality individuals.”

Speaking from his election night HQ at Mill Creek Pub, Darrin Davidson was full of pride as he reflected on his three-month campaign.

“Nobody should feel sorry or bad for losing. If there’s one thing we learn from sports, it’s if you don’t know how to lose, or if you’re not prepared for it, then don’t play the game. What remains here tonight is a desire still to implement a vision and key ideas in Orangeville,” Mr. Davidson said. “You don’t have to be mayor to make a difference in the community.”

He went on to congratulate the seven individuals elected to Orangeville’s next council, noting the community will be watching on with interest.

“I think the town is stoked. We’re all pretty excited to see what these people are going to do. I imagine it’s going to be great things,” Mr. Davidson added.

Outgoing mayor Williams had indicated prior to election night that he would ring in the results at a special election night party at Stomping Grounds. In the end, he decided to watch results come in at home with his family. He issued a brief statement to the Citizen following his loss.

“It’s the end of one task and the beginning of another,” Mayor Williams stated. “I am truly excited for my next challenge.”

Mr. Brown reserved praise for both Mr. Davidson and Mr. Williams when speaking further with the Citizen, noting both men deserved credit for putting their name forward for municipal office.

“Jeremy’s passion for Orangeville is clear for all to see. He has worked hard and done a lot for this town. I wish him well and his family well,” Mr. Brown said. “As far as Darrin goes, again, he has an incredible passion for this town. I think he’s a good man and I hope he will stay involved in some capacity. Perhaps there’s a committee he could look to chair. I’d like to keep him involved and would invite him to work with us moving forward.”

Incoming deputy mayor Andy Macintosh feels the makeup of this next council will make for “some real positive changes” in the community over the next four years.

“I think the town has said, clearly tonight, that they want change. Boy, did they get it,” Mr. Macintosh said. “I’m looking forward to working for the people. We have a really good council coming up – I think people will be pleasantly surprised by what we will accomplish. I’ve had conversations with everyone, we know each other, we know the issues and we know we have to pull together to fix them. I truly believe this is going to be a great council.”

Mary Rose, a former mayor who has lived in town since 1975, said that since when she was first on council there were nine members, it is highly unlikely there was a prior occasion when the town had a council in which none of its members had prior council experience.

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