Voter turnout in North Dufferin was disappointing

October 29, 2014   ·   0 Comments

A minority of North Dufferin’s eligible  voters exercised their democratic privilege Monday and delivered new councils to the next four-year term of municipal office.

Voter turnout was low, with only 36% of those eligible casting ballots in Shelburne, 35.9% in Melancthon Township  and 35.79% in Mulmur Township.

Most surprising was Melancthon, where residents continue to face development threats to land, water and community.

Newly elected Council members in the Town of Shelburne include: Mayor Ken Bennington, who received 1,128 votes of the 1,428 ballots cast to 259 received by newcomer Frank Hunt Jr.

Incumbent councillor Geoff Dunlop was unopposed for deputy mayor, and the five successful councillor candidates were Wade Mills with 937 votes, Dan Sample with 815, Randy Chambers with 810, Walter Benotto with 752 and Tom Egan with 735. Gordon Montgomery finished ahead of incumbent AJ Cavey with 588 votes to her 585, and the other unsuccessful candidates were Joshua Oatman who polled 436 votes and Kevin Flear who got 294.

Mr. Bennington said his first job as successor to long-time mayor Ed Crewson Mayor would be to “meet with our new Council and gather all the feedback from the community that each candidate has collected throughout their campaign.  These comments will be beneficial to all of Council, as we chart our course for the next four years.”

According to Mayor-elect Bennington, the biggest challenges Shelburne will face in the next term will include sewage capacity as the new subdivisions are built out and the Town’s sewage capacity continues to diminish; developing the local economy and the downtown; replacing experienced staff who may retire in the next term; balancing the budget as development slows down; and filling Mr. Crewson’s shoes as the town’s Mayor and ambassador.

In Melancthon, newcomer David Thwaites gave current Deputy Mayor Darren White a run for the Mayor’s seat with 388 votes to Mr. White’s 470. A familiar figure at community events and rallies, Mayor-elect White gained the support of the voters after proving that he knew the issues at the all candidates’ debate in September. Councillor Janice Elliot was unopposed for the Deputy Mayor’s position and new councillors include Dave Besley, who topped the polls with 445 of the 880 votes cast, James Webster following with 445 votes  and Wayne Hannon filling the third councillor’s seat with 406 votes. Unsuccessful candidates were Michael  Swidersky with 299 votes and Bart Malloy with 258.

There were 2,451 eligible voters in Melancthon.

Meanwhile, just 1,244 of the 3,476 eligible cast their votes in the Township of Mulmur, where it was not much of a race with Mayor Paul Mills and Deputy Mayor Heather Hayes having both won by acclamation and only four candidates running for three Council positions, Earl Hawkins, Lynne Hilchey, Janet Horner, and Keith Lowry. The successful candidates were Mr. Hawkins with 846 of the votes cast, Ms. Horner with 945 votes, and Keith Lowry with 811 votes. Ms. Hilchey received 543 votes.

Congratulations to all candidates and extended best wishes to the newly elected members of all the North Dufferin councils as they begin their political adventure.

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