The 8th Council of the Township of North Dundas was officially sworn in during an inauguration ceremony taking place on November 15. The ceremony proceeded smoothly, opening with the singing of O Canada.
It is typical for politicians from throughout the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry to be invited to attend local swearing-in ceremonies, and those who are available attend. North Stormont’s new Deputy Mayor, Andrew Guindon was the only area politician available to attend North Dundas’ ceremony. He spoke briefly, commending the soon-to-be sworn in Council members for their commitment to serving their community. Member of Parliament Eric Duncan and Member of Provincial Parliament Nolan Quinn were unable to tend and sent their regrets.
Each of the elected Council members was introduced by an invited guest. Shawn Doolan went first, introducing Councillor-elect John Lennox. Shawn spoke of John Lennox’s military service, and attested to the quality of his character. John then took the podium to recite the oath of office.
Next, Owen Shortt introduced Councillor-elect Matthew Uhrig. He opened by stating his confidence that all five members of Council #8 will serve in their positions honourably. Owen also thanked outgoing Council members Gary Annable and John Thompson for their service. Owen continued with a story about how he met Matthew Uhrig and his wife, inserting some humour that drew laughs from the crowd. He also spoke of Matthew’s gentle and professional character. Matthew then took the oath.
Vince Zandbelt was chosen to introduce existing Councillor Gary Annable for the swearing-in of his new term. Vince talked about Gary’s accomplishments thus far on Council, and how he is eager to continue the work he has started. Vince also pointed out that Gary is known as a very active community volunteer, and is a lifelong resident of Winchester, whose family history includes others who have served in municipal government positions locally as well. Gary then took his oath, like those before him.
Sue Hamilton was tasked with introducing new Deputy Mayor Theresa Bergeron, who served a partial term as Councillor last term. Sue is a friend of Theresa Bergeron’s who spoke highly of her as a successful entrepreneur. She revealed Theresa’s accomplishments, as well as some challenges that she overcame as a woman in business. Theresa lives on a farm in South Mountain, of which she is proud. Like the others, Theresa took the oath of office after her introduction.
The final member of the 8th Council to be introduced was Mayor Tony Fraser, returning to serve in the same position he filled last term. Bill Smirle, a former North Dundas Council member himself, was the individual chosen to introduce the Mayor. Bill opened by thanking all those who had put their names forward in a bid to serve their community. He then spoke of meeting Tony through a fire department meeting years ago. Bill had much to say about Tony’s character, and strengths as a leader. Finally, Tony was the last to take the oath of office, officially giving the Township a full 8th Council. Bill placed the Chain of Command on Tony Fraser, and the Council was officially declared as organized. Council members were invited to sit in their assigned seats for the first time.
A special meeting of Council followed the swearing-in ceremony. Each member of Council took turns offering comments to the public to kick off the term of the 8th Council. Comments were brief, and mostly thanked supporters and mentioned general goals for the current term of Council. Mayor Fraser spoke somewhat longer than other Council members, filling his diplomatic duty as the leader of Council, with many words of thanks to give. The inaugural Council meeting was concluded after a short time. The first Council meeting to discuss regular Township business will take place on November 29.