Richard Gould was sworn in as Calvin Township’s new mayor last week, and ‘unifying the Township’ is a priority for himself and council. He noted during his first speech as mayor that Calvin had a 54 per cent voter turnout in the fall election—the provincial average hovered around 36 per cent, he said—so “there are going to be big expectations on how this council operates.”
Calvin voters cleaned out the last town hall in the October 24th election, opting for a fresh slate of councillors. They chose Debra Adams, who now serves as the deputy mayor, William Moreton, Dean Grant, and Robert K. Latimer to serve the community.
Mayor Gould thanked the previous council, noting those councillors had “an honest desire to serve and make Calvin a better place.” He admitted the new council has “many challenges to face,” but reassured the public that “this is an excellent council” for the job, with “the expertise and the skill to take control.”
The mayor wants to see more in-person meetings, increased public involvement and better communications between council and constituents. In the new year, he plans to establish regular office hours and encourages folks to stop by.
Without opening communication, the township will suffer, he fears. “If we do not do this, we will not fix the division, anger and hatred that has become all too common in Calvin Township.” He noted that some residents are “feeling isolated, disenfranchised and alienated,” which often stems from a “lack of communication” including “communication from council.”
Mayor Gould mentioned “there may be people who will not like the decisions of council, but we will always be willing to listen with open ears to the constituents.”
“However, if someone comes to me with hatred in their heart, looking for revenge and retribution, they will find that I am not sympathetic.”
The mayor praised the township’s staff, noting the roads have always been “top-notch,” and the fire department is staffed by “hardworking and dedicated volunteers,” which he’s grateful for. He also emphasized the value of administrative staff to the township.
As for what lies ahead, the mayor emphasized the council will work on improving poor internet and cell phone service, increasing commercial services, and managing the increased cost of “downloaded” provincial services. Also, on the menu is “unifying the township.”
Council will also work on a long-term plan, highlighting specific ideas each councillor would like to see brought to life within the township. Once that list is compiled, a public meeting will be held to hear what residents have to say regarding “a long-term plan of what we hope to accomplish.”
To help with the unity issue, Mayor Gould urges councillors to “make decisions based on our heart” for the betterment of all residents. “Let’s work together with heart and soul, with openness and dedication, and make this a memorable four-year term.”
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.