WASAGA BEACH STOCKWELL REPORT
A tip of the Wasaga Beach cap to the lady that took me to task for pointing out a spelling error in last week`s Report when this blog has spelled the word “calendar” wrong on our masthead, for three straight weeks. Her observation was certainly correct and I have asked our “blogmaster” to correct the error.
My blog….my bad, and I won`t be critical of questionable spelling in the future. I promise.
Earlier this week the members of the Wasaga Beach Council went through a process of hearing presentations from 17 residents who submitted their applications to become the fifth municipal Councillor, replacing Ron Anderson, who resigned from Council a few weeks back.
Each candidate was given ten minutes to present their credentials to Council members, and the general public, giving reasons why they should be chosen to fill the vacant position. After their presentations Council members were allowed to ask up to two questions of each candidate, should they wish to do so.
All the presentations were well thought out and were delivered with sincerity. Those who had previous Council experience clearly picked up points for their past service. However, when called upon to defend some of the decisions made by those Councils, some fell short in doing so.
Those candidates that had not served on previous Councils were easily split into two groups. Those that had a working knowledge of the responsibilities of local municipalities compared to the responsibilities of the upper tier municipalities (i.e., Counties), and those that did not. All had valid concerns; however, not all of those concerns fell within the purview of the lower level municipality.
A common thread that ran through nearly all of the presentations was that of volunteer community service. The group, as a whole, was steeped in community service.
As someone who was charged with casting a vote at the end of the evening, I rated the presentations as each candidate spoke. In my opinion, four of the seventeen presentations stood out above the rest. Each of the four presented a strong commitment of working with Council in moving the municipality forward, even though they were not necessarily in lockstep with every decision made during the present term of Council.
In my opinion, the best presentation of the four was made by Joseph Belanger. As the volunteer Co-Chairperson of the Wasaga Beach Blues Festival he has worked with both the business community and the general public, and has a record of success in guiding this popular event.
I well remember Mr. Belanger addressing Council a year ago when the question of purchasing properties on Beach One was under consideration. He was one of sixteen ratepayers who addressed Council, speaking either for, or against, the purchase. What stood out in my mind was his total support of the purchase and his understanding of how it would move the municipality forward in reversing a downward spiral in tourist visitations that saw the loss of over a million tourists in the previous twelve years.
At that time he wasn`t standing for an appointment to Council, he was simply a resident that was interested enough to make his voice heard regarding the future of his home town.
When Council was called upon to cast their ballots Mr. Belanger received support from Councillors Ego and Smith, as well as Yours Truly on the first ballot. Ex-Councillor George Watson received two votes from Deputy Mayor Bifolchi and Councillor Bray. Gary Cerantola, the Chairperson of the Wasaga Beach Film Festival, received one vote from Mayor Brian Smith.
According to the rules agreed upon by Council, a majority of votes were required to appoint a successful candidate. As this was not obtained on the first ballot, the candidate with the least votes would be removed from the ballot and a second vote would take place.
As a result of the first ballot, Mr. Cerantola was removed, and a second ballot was issued.
On the second ballot, Joseph Belanger received votes from Mayor Smith, Councillors Smith and Ego, and Yours Truly. George Watson received votes from Deputy Mayor Bifolchi and Councillor Bray.
Joseph Belanger became the fifth Council member of Wasaga Beach.
I thoroughly believe that over the next two years we will be hearing a lot more positive comments from, and about, Joseph Belanger.
Paraphrasing the late Humphrey Bogart of “Casablanca” fame: who knows, this may be the start of a beautiful political career.