by Stacey Lavallie
CENTRAL MANITOULIN—A petition demanding Central Manitoulin Council hold a by-election for a vacant Ward 3 (Sandfield) seat is circulating prior to this week’s town council meeting, scheduled for October 13 at 7 pm.
The petition states that ratepayers of Sandfield have a democratic right to vote for their representative, considering that there is more than three years left in the council term and the cost of an election is estimated at less than $3,000. The petition does say it is appropriate for councillors to appoint someone to fill a vacant seat but only when a short period of time is left in the term before an election.
The petitions were placed at D.A. Williamson and Sons Hardware, Mindemoya Guardian Pharmacy, the LCBO located in the Island Foodland, among other locations. Petition organizers also suggested those away from the township should e-mail Reeve Gerry Strong at email@example.com stating their interest in adding their name to the petition.
Central Manitoulin’s council is not involved with organizing the petition.
Town council has chosen Ted Taylor of Sandfield to fill the Ward’s vacant seat and the issue will be put to a vote at Thursday’s town council meeting unless councillors change their minds and introduce and pass a motion for a by-election.
The Expositor was able to reach Mr. Taylor and ask his opinion on the issues surrounding filling the vacant Sandfield seat. He said he was comfortable with either the appointment, as he believes council only has the best intentions regarding the effort and costs avoided by an appointment, or a by-election.
“Ultimately it is council’s decision as I am just a candidate,” he said. “I’m alright with either option.”
Laura Wall-Varey is one of the eight candidates who put her name forward to fill the vacant seat and is one of the four who reside in Sandfield.
“I was at the first public meeting,” Ms. Wall-Varey said. “It was pretty overwhelmingly obvious that people want an election and I would support that.”
The Expositor was unable to reach Gregory Young or John Finlay for comment, the other Sandfield candidates who had put their names forward, prior to deadline.
Reeve Strong and Councillor Adam McDonald were the only members of town council to vote in favour of having a by-election at a meeting earlier this month.