Three questions for Bayham's deputy mayor candidates

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Residents in the Municipality of Bayham will go to the polls at the end of March to elect a new Deputy Mayor, after the position was left vacant by Mark Taylor last fall.

The call for submissions from residents wanting to fill the position came in early January 2013.

“There were notices in the paper the first week of January,” said Lynda Millard, clerk for the Municipality of Bayham. “We currently have three candidates.”

The by-election will be Monday, March 25 and voting will take place between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. In addition, if residents are not able to make it that day, there will be advance voting on Saturday, March 16, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., and on Wednesday, March 20, from 12 noon until 7 p.m. On both days, advance voting will be at the Bayham Municipal Office in the council chambers.

On voting day, March 25, polls will be divided into each ward accordingly. For constituents in Ward 1, comprising of polls 101, 102 and 103, voting will take place at the Vienna Community Centre; Ward 2 voting takes place at the Straffordville Community Centre and includes polls 201, 202 and 203; and Ward 3 voting takes place at the Eden Community Centre for polls 301, 302 and 303.

“We will be doing a traditional paper ballot,” said Millard. “We are looking for workers to help on Election Day - there’s an application form on our website and at the office.”

Millard also noted the importance of voters ensuring their names and relevant information is correctly shown on the voting list, located at the front counter in the Bayham municipal office.

“We’re inviting people to come and check the voter’s list to make sure they’re on it,” she explained, adding voter lists are no longer posted publicly. Residents will need to present proper ID to obtain a ballot for both advance voting and on voting day.

Those wishing to run for deputy mayor have until February 8 at 2 p.m. to submit their names. Currently, three candidates have announced they are running for the position of deputy mayor.

Bob Lozon declared his candidacy on Jan. 3, Lynn Acre declared her candidacy on Jan. 4 and Rainey Weisler declared her candidacy on Jan. 14.

All three candidates were recently asked a series of questions about the upcoming by-election.

WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR DEPUTY MAYOR?

Bob Lozon, Port Burwell: local businessman who previously ran for mayor.

“I’ve been involved with local politics and the issues basically ever since we’ve been here. I’ve sat on a lot of committees, I’m still very active in the community, I try to keep ahead of events and what’s going on. I think I can contribute and I think it’s time we have a businessman on council – we haven’t got one of those right now. I think that the timing’s right and I bring something to the party that’s useful and beneficial to Bayham.”

Rainey C. Weisler, Straffordville: local business owner and current president of the Otter Valley Chamber of Commerce.

“We are relatively new to the area - we moved here in 2007 and opened a business in 2008. In the last five years, I’ve fallen in love with the area and the people of Bayham are fantastic. I’m excited about the changes and the growth within the community, I’m excited to hopefully be a part of that. So that’s probably the main reason why I’m running.”

Lynn Acre, Richmond: former mayor and deputy mayor for Bayham.

“I heard of the need and that our deputy mayor had retired. I was contacted by a local person and asked to consider it so that first got me thinking about it. I did enjoy being on council - my career in politics started out as deputy mayor. I have experience, I’ve worked with three out of the four members who are sitting on council now, so I know I can work well with them and I can hit the ground running – they won’t have to train me, there won’t be any orientation necessary. I can get right down to the business of completing the last two years of this council term.”

WHAT DO YOU WANT THE PEOPLE OF BAYHAM TO KNOW ABOUT YOU, THAT WOULD MAKE YOU A GOOD DEPUTY MAYOR?

Rainey C. Weisler: “From a business perspective, working with the different businesses within the municipality has really helped me have a real grasp on local concerns and on local enthusiasm. In addition to that I’m young and have a young family and as a relatively new resident to the area, I have a different way of looking at things and can bring a fresh perspective. I see such potential here.”

Lynn Acre: “The most important is my experience and a good track record – I’ve never lost an election and I have 10 years of experience. During that time I sat on the majority of committees, so I have an understanding of all the volunteer committees. I’m also a real people person – speech and speech-making is one of my strengths, and dealing with the public, so if the mayor ever needs me to fill in, that’s something that I’m quite comfortable with. I feel like I’m approachable. You’re a better leader, a better representative of the people, when they feel comfortable to approach you.”

Bob Lozon: “I’ve been in business for 40 years – I ran a fairly large steel company in Toronto. I had my own company, I imported metals from around the world and I’m very familiar with the manufacturing base and industrial base of that throughout Ontario as well as Canada. If we want to grow and prosper and attract people, this is information we need to be able to attract some bigger players to the area.”

WHAT ISSUES ARE YOU MOST CONCERNED ABOUT AND WHY?

Lynn Acre: “I’m not too concerned about too many things actually. I think that this council’s got the budgeting under wraps and taxes are under control, and roads are looked after well. Economic development is always an interest and a concern of mine, making sure that we’re keeping up with our neighbours as far as bringing employment opportunities for our young people. We don’t want them exiting out of Bayham, we want them to stick around because that’s our future. And I see tourism as a big thing and so I’m hoping to cash in and make every opportunity that we can to use our beaches and our museums because our corporate logo is ‘opportunity is ours’ and I believe that. I think that we need to move Bayham forward and I think that the current council is doing a fine job - I’m just willing to step in. I think all three of us candidates are good candidates and it’s a win-win situation for Bayham.”

Bob Lozon: “With the Ojibwa coming here, we have a pretty good opportunity that we need to maximize on as a municipality not just Port Burwell. We need hotels, we need restaurants, we need services now that it’s here and we have to maximize it. If we don’t do it, it’ll be a missed opportunity for the entire area. The local agricultural community has been at the forefront of this entire region for generations. That climate is changing a little bit - now we have an opportunity to put our name into the tourism game and attract different types of people to this area and a different type of prosperity.”

Rainey C. Weisler: “There are two key things I’d like to encourage within the municipality – and that would be accountability and transparency. I think those two key issues are really important right now. I believe that this council is doing a phenomenal job and in order for us to continue moving forward, we have to stay really positive. Growth and development are other areas that I’d really like to see some focus – and just developing the area in a positive way. I’d love to see some more opportunities presented for younger families so that they can stay closer to home. I know a lot of the young families in the area commute out of the municipality for work, and it would be so nice to see some growth and development to keep them here. It’s about positive changes.”

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