Ready to work
Mayor elect Steven Byvelds congratulated deputy mayor elect Kirsten Gardner just after the results were announced at the South Dundas municipal chamber on Oct. 22.    Sawyer Helmer photo

Deputy mayor elect Kirsten Gardner took a moment to celebrate her victory with six-year-old daughter Reagan Cadieux. Reagan was thrilled for her mother, even handing out her mom’s election business cards at her school during the campaign. Sawyer Helmer photo

Kalynn Sawyer Helmer
Record Staff
SOUTH DUNDAS — On Mon., Oct. 22, voting polls closed at 8 p.m. with many candidates anxiously waiting to hear the results, gathered at the municipal building in Morrisburg. Reported that evening the unofficial 2018 election results for South Dundas were: mayor: Steven Byvelds with 2,373 and Evonne Delegarde with 1,758. Deputy mayor: Kirsten Gardner with 1,753, Bill Ewing with 1,454 and Jim Graham with 944. Councillors: Lloyd Wells with 2,166, Donald William Lewis with 2,053, Archie Mellan with 1,993 Joyce Latulippe with 1,950, Michael Burton with 1,787 and Del Jones with 1,525.

After the initial congratulations, Byvelds read from a prepared speech. “I would like to thank the people of South Dundas for showing confidence in me and allowing me to serve again as their mayor. It showed that this campaign was not about me. It set South Dundas on a new direction, one of change. I will promise to keep to the commitments that I made throughout the campaign and if I ever wander I expect the citizens of South Dundas to let me know.”

Byvelds continued to congratulate the other elected council members as well as thanking those that ran in the election and the former council for their efforts over the last term. First up for Byvelds is to meet informally with the elected council members to get an idea of how to begin the new term. “I will also work with staff to see how we can get the ball rolling together to get South Dundas working in a more positive direction,” he said.

Elected deputy mayor, Kirsten Gardner, said she was thrilled with the outcome. “This was something that I wanted to do. I worked hard and I’m ready to work hard. This is the start, the opportunity to see what you can do in the next four years and the next four years are what count.”

While she has had some previous experience with government, Gardner said that to start there will be some learning to be done. “After that we have some quick things that we need to look at. I’m not super thrilled with the Carman House’s loss of designation as a museum,” Gardner said. With any issue that arises in the next term, she promises “a different conversation at the table. The people who put their names forward want change and they want to add value to the community. I think that it is going to be interesting, there is going to be diversity of thoughts sitting at that table but I think that is what South Dundas wanted. They wanted different options, different conversations and follow through.”

This dedication to hard work and follow through was a popular theme with the elected officials, including Donald William Lewis. The former staff member of the municipality will take a seat on a new side of the table soon. “I hope that I can stand up to what I have promised to people. I am here for all the people not just individuals and I will work hard at the council table and I honestly think that the citizens of South Dundas have picked an outstanding council to sit with. I think all together we have a little over 10,000 citizens in South Dundas and I want to be the voice for all of them.”

Among the new faces of council, there will also be, now third term elected councillor Archie Mellan. “It is an honour and a privilege to get three terms in a row. We will see how the next four years venture on and hopefully move forward,” he said.

As for advice for the other incoming council members, Mellan laughed and said: “Strap on your Peter Pan getaway boots, it’s going to be a long rough road. It’s going to be a real quick learning curve because there are a few things coming down in the next year that are going to have to be dealt with. I think everybody is a quick learner and it will be good.”

Finally Lloyd Wells will join the ranks that will take over their positions in early December. Wells was not available for comment before press time.

All in all, South Dundas saw a voter turnout of 53.79 per cent, which communications and tourism coordinator, Katherine Wells said the staff were very pleased with. The new council will begin their transition and be inaugurated in early December.