Election race is on, 40 candidates for 13 council seats
Posted Sep 16, 2010 By Bill Hutchins
EMC News – West end councillor Lisa Osanic will coast into a second term in office at Kingston city hall.
But she’s the exception in this fall’s civic election.
Osanic will be the only acclaimed council candidate after no one else stepped forward to challenge her bid for a second term to represent Collins-Bayridge. Fellow candidate David Peterson was set to run in the district but then changed his mind and will, instead, seek office in Loyalist-Cataraqui.
Last Friday’s deadline to register as a candidate produced another political surprise.
Veteran councillor Sara Meers quietly decided not seek re-election in Cataraqui district.
“I’m just going to take a break,” said the 30-year-old Meers, who is currently working to become a full-time elementary school teacher.
“I really enjoy the job. I just don’t think I can give 110 percent.”
It will mark the first time in 19 years that the Meers family won’t be representing Cataraqui. Sara Meers was first elected in 2003. Prior to that her father, Dave, had represented the area since 1991.
Meers’ departure will produce one of the most hotly-contested races this fall. Six candidates are seeking election in Cataraqui district – a fast growing swath of subdivisions and business parks that stretch from Rideau Heights to Cataraqui North.
The six Cataraqui candidates are Thomas Dall, Rick Downes, Patrick Foley, Jeffrey Lowes, Moe Royer and Jeff Welsh.
The only other municipal election race to attract that many candidates is for mayor of Kingston. There are six confirmed candidates seeking city hall’s top job. The final list includes Barrie Chalmers, Mark Gerretsen, John Last, Kevin Lavalley, Rob Matheson and Nathaniel Wilson.
Outgoing mayor Harvey Rosen has some advice for the next civic leader, build trust and teamwork with the councillors you’ll be working with.
“Do what I tried to do right at the very beginning of both council terms. Bring everybody in individually and try to get to know them and understand their perspectives and priorities,” Rosen said after chairing one of his final meetings last week.
In all, there are 40 candidates on the ballot for city council. There are at least two candidates registered in 11 of the 12 districts with the exception of Osanic’s district.
The October 25 election is guaranteed to bring some new faces to the horseshoe. Five of the incumbents are not seeking re-election, and two others are running for mayor – Gerretsen and Matheson – so at least one of them won’t be returning either. That means half of the next council will be comprised of newcomers.
The closure of nominations also signals the start of a lame duck period for the current councillors. They won’t be able to approve new expenditures of more than $50,000 until the new council is sworn into office in early December.
The province’s lame duck rules apply because so many of the current councillors aren’t seeking re-election to a new four year term.
There are two more council meetings before the civic election, plus another one planned in November, that Rosen will chair.
Anticipating the lame duck status, councillors have spent the past few weeks transferring any big spending and hiring authority to senior staff.