SOUTH GLENGARRY, Ontario – The Township of South Glengarry Council heard from eight applicants seeking to fill the vacant seat around their Council table.
The seat was declared vacant in December of 2021 when then Deputy Mayor Lyle Warden and Councillor Stephanie Jaworski were elevated to the positions of Mayor and Deputy Mayor respectively. The Mayor’s seat became vacant when then Mayor Frank Prevost announced his resignation.
The eight candidates who applied to fill the now vacant seat of Councillor were Heather Malyon, Hans Schulz, Rebecca Luck, Roger Matar, Trevor Bougie, Frank Hendricksen, Jaqueline Milner, and Sean Helmkay.
Each candidate was first given three minutes to introduce themselves to Council.
Malyon touted her 26 years of experience working for a local construction company.
“I like getting end results very quickly,” she said. “Given the opportunity I believe that I could help the community grow.”
Schulz explained his work history as a security manager and a secondary school teacher and highlighted his understanding of agriculture and tree canopy cover as issues which he is passionate about.
“As a member of the Ontario wood lot association I’m proud of how Joanne and I have rehabilitated parts of our property,” he said. “I understand the importance of teamwork in accomplishing some tasks and I look forward to working with our neighbours in Cornwall, and Akwesasne and the Counties,” Schulz later added.
Luck, an engineer with EVB Engineering said that her skillset at the Council table could help the municipality with roads and infrastructure files.
Bilingual and a mother of two young girls, Luck explained that she was a proud resident of Glengarry.
“I want my girls to grow up in the amazing community of Glengarry,” she said. “I love our community. I love the people that make up this community.”
Matar, an immigrant who lived in Montreal for 19 years and has resided in Cornwall for six is a business owner, owning a logistics business in Cornwall. Matar was also a manager at Tim Hortons who oversaw 100 employees and said that these skills would suit him well if appointed Councillor.
Bougie was the only applicant with prior Council experience. Bougie previously served on South Glengarry Council from 2009 to 2018. Currently a Grade 5 and 6 teacher at Bishop MacDonell Catholic School in Cornwall, Bougie has remained active on municipal committees and said he was ready to hit the ground running.
“I can hit the ground running. It is a huge learning curve and I am well versed in municipal by-laws,” he said.
Hendricksen, also an engineer immigrated to Canada from the Netherlands in 1974. He has volunteered with a variety of groups in the community and was the only candidate who said that if appointed he would not stand for re-election in Oct. 2022.
Milner explained her passion for environmental issues, and as an artist, for creative problem solving.
“I want this appointment. I’m asking you to choose me to creatively fill the shoes of councillor,” she said.
Finally, Sean Helmkay is a veteran of the Canadian Forces and is currently employed at a major corporation in Montreal. He explained that his leadership experience and his experience in managing large corporate budgets would make him an ideal pick for Councillor. Helmkay is also Vice-Chair of the Akwesasne, Cornwall and the Counties Futures Development Corporationn (ACCFutures) and chairs their investment committee.
Deputy Mayor Stephanie Jaworski and councillors Martin Lang and Sam McDonell each asked the candidates a question, which each were given one-and-a-half minutes to reply to.
Jaworski’s asked the candidates to name a Council decision that they disagreed with and to explain why.
A few of the candidates did not come up with issues with which they disagreed with Council.
Sean Helmkay said that he disagreed with Council’s choice to appoint a replacement for the vacant seat, saying he would have preferred a by-election.
Hanz Schulz said that he disagreed with Council’s decision in the summer of 2021 to approve the rezoning of land next to the Cooper Marsh conservation area, allowing for the development of campsites.
“I’m not convinced that the development will have no impact on the marsh,” he said. “I feel we do need to be careful of the ecological impact developments have on adjacent areas.”
Hendricksen disagreed with Council’s decision to no longer accept paper bags for yard waste collection.
Milner disagreed with the sale of a lot near Summerstown.
“I personally think that greenspace is really needed. I would have voted to leave it as a greenspace. Not to allow it being put to sale,” she said.
Councillor Lang asked the candidates about an issue they were passionate about and if they were willing to raise taxes to address that issue.
Schulz said that he was interested in promoting tree cover in the municipality.
“Will taxes need to be raised? We are going to have to either cut services or increase taxes at some point down the line,” he said.
Schulz believed that this issue could be addressed without raising taxes.
Helmkay stated that rather than being a tax burden, that the Cornwall Regional Airport could be developed into a revenue generator for the Township.
Luck stated that to her, the municipal roads were the Township’s most valuable asset.
“It is the most vital piece of infrastructure we have going,” she said, adding that any decision to raise taxes to fund road projects would be based on the municipal capital projects plan.
Milner was concerned about the potential clear cutting of Glen Norman Park.
Bougie also felt that infrastructure was important, but his focus was on water and waste water infrastructure, particularly in Glen Walter and said he would push for a shared services agreement with the City of Cornwall if one were favourable.
Council thanked all of the candidates for putting themselves forward for the selection process and said that their decision on who would be appointed to the vacant Council seat would come at the beginning of their meeting on Monday, Jan. 17.