By Mike Williscraft
It was not the winds of change blowing through Grimsby on Monday night…that was Hurricane Jeff.
Jeff Jordan and a cast of newbies crushed all but two incumbents enroute to sweeping change around the Grimsby council table.
The result comes after what was, at times, a bitterly contested municipal election. In the end, said Jordan, the voter has the final say.
“I got in the race because I simply didn’t like the way the Town was going. I put my name in back in May so the community would know I was 100 per cent in,” said Jordan.
“During the campaign, I heard over and over the need for more openness and transparency at council. The result of the vote proves that sentiment made a great deal to them.”
“I kept my campaign on the high road throughout and I think people saw that. An election is not a time for fighting. It is time to talk about ideas and getting things fixed.”
For Jordan to get things fixed, he will be dealing with a large incoming class of rookies and he does not mind one bit.
“Everyone was at the Legion on Monday night to support each other. Even those who were unsuccessful were very happy,” noted Jordan.
Both Ryan Day and Cindy Aiken noted they were ecstatic at the results even though they weren’t successful in their respective wards.
Successful candidates on the night, as offered in “unofficial” results from the Town of Grimsby are as follows:
Mayor, Jeff Jordan; Ward 1, Reg Freake and Kevin Ritchie; Ward 2, Dave Kadwell, Lianne Vardy; Ward 3, John Dunstall and Randy Vaine; Ward 4, Dorothy Bothwell and Dave Sharpe.
Wayne Fertich defeated incumbent Tony Quirk in the race for Grimsby regional councillor seat.
“The result was unlike anything I have ever seen,” said Jordan.
“The community has spoken loud and clear. It’s time to curb overdevelopment where it doesn’t fit. It’s time for transparency in governance and an ear that really listens on Council,” said Bothwell.
“I’m looking forward to working together as a new team to restore integrity in decision-making and set Grimsby back on the right track.”
Sharpe said he is ready to get out of the starting blocks.
“We have a lot to get accomplished and I am eager to get started. I look forward to working with residents, the new mayor,” said Sharpe.
Most immediate on the agenda for everyone, noted Jordan, are the issues surrounding West Lincoln Memorial Hospital.
“There is no reason measures cannot be taken to see the full roster of services preserved until we get to the rebuild. Anything else is not acceptable,” said Jordan.
“This seems to be another matter of transparency but at another level. Even key staff at the hospital had no consultation or input.”
As far as council business goes, dealing with Niagara Power and its subsidiaries is first up.
“We need to get those books open for all of hydro’s companies and the public will have the answers they deserve,” said Jordan.
Another item he plans to implement as soon as possible was his promise to arrange a portion of open forum time for the general public to address council at the start of each meeting.
“We will work on a format and I am sure rules of decorum will be respected. I think this is an important and necessary move to bridge the communication gap the community has felt from council for many years,” said Jordan.
For Vaine’s immediate agenda, he said he noted everything he heard along the campaign trail.
“Having spent the past couple of months talking to residents of Ward 3, I kept a notebook with me and noted residents concerns as I spoke with them. I will work with residents to help shape our vision for the future for our town,” said Vaine.
For Ritchie, he received the public’s message.
“The people’s voices have been heard and we have a clear direction for our future,” said Ritchie.
Freake said the next four years will present a lot of challenges, ones for which he is ready.
“We all fought a very honest and open minded campaign with issues that encouraged the silent majority to wake up and vote,” said Freake.
“I would like to commend all of my fellow opponents who put themselves forward on behalf of the residents of Grimsby. Now it’s time to regroup and reset our compass and give the people of Grimsby the answers they have been looking for. There’s a tough 4 years ahead of us and I ask the people of Ward One and Grimsby to be patient while the new council gets oriented and settled into our new roles. There’s lots of work to do and we need a little time to prioritize the many issues and move forward together.”