Tom Van Dusen
Villager Staff
RUSSELL – He isn’t exactly taking credit for the community’s new-found fame… but campaigning Russell Township Mayor Pierre Leroux is attaching himself closely to it.

After assessing several criteria, a Money Sense survey has named Russell the third best place in Canada in which to live, right behind the much larger municipalities of Oakville and Ottawa.

On his Facebook feed observing that it has been his pleasure and honour to serve as mayor for the past four years, Leroux indicates his pride in announcing the third-best ranking. He congratulates everyone in the township for achieving the acclaim.

The post launched a flurry of responses from fans giving Leroux the credit: “Look at the great work Pierre is doing; Keep up the good work!; Beau travail!; Bravo!” Those are just a few of the responses.

Several criteria were assessed in granting Russell the ranking, everything from decent weather, tolerable taxes, affordable housing and high income levels, to low unemployment, public transit, low crime and arts and community involvement.

Mayoralty candidate Charles Armstrong pointed out that council and the mayor can’t rightly be applauded for many of Russell’s attributes, starting with the weather; high average income and a low crime rate are among other items mostly independent from council.

However, Armstrong allowed, the mayor and council set the pace for a community’s general development and, now that the third-place ranking has been acquired, it must be maintained, and even topped if possible. He feels he’s the man to lead the way as mayor after the Oct. 22 municipal election.

One of the areas where improvements are needed to make the township even more attractive is in cycle routes, Armstrong maintains. While Russell and Embrun are connected by a paved trail, he’s proposing designated bike lanes along some township roads, for example connecting to Marionville.

Leroux’s second opponent for mayor, Shawn McNally, couldn’t be reached for comment by publication deadline.