Three new faces to lead Manitoulin Island councils

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MANITOULIN—The results are in: Manitoulin residents have elected a blend of new and incumbent representation, combining the steady hand of experience with the fresh ideas of a newly-minted councillor. The Island has three new heads of council in the townships of Assiginack, Billings and Tehkummah, and the mix of incumbent and new councillors is perfectly split at 24 each.


An upset occurred in the Township of Assiginack as former reeve Dave Ham defeated incumbent Paul Moffat and three other candidates to take the seat at the head of the council table.

“Well I am flabbergasted,” admitted the newly-elected Assiginack mayor when contacted by The Expositor with the election results. “I haven’t heard what the results were yet,” said Mr. Ham. “I really didn’t have an idea what to expect with five different people running.”

Mr. Ham is no novice to the political field, having previously served as both reeve and councillor for the Township of Assiginack.

He said that his priority would be to improve the quality of life in Assiginack. “We have to make Assiginack a better place to be,” he said. “In my opinion the situation here has deteriorated in the last few years. We really have to bring it around.”

Dave Ham, Assiginack Mayor

In the end Mr. Ham won the mayor seat by a landslide, taking 329 votes. The other candidates received: Rodney Deforge 49 votes, incumbent Paul Moffat 143 votes, Michael Phillips 176 votes and former councillor Brenda Reid 112 votes.

In council results, four councillors will be taking a seat at the 2018 council table: Christianna Jones with 389 votes, Rob Maguire with 466 votes, Dave McDowell with 347 votes and incumbent Hugh Moggy with 425 votes. Runners up were Keith Harfield with 129 votes, Jennifer Hooper with 315 votes, Bill Lafleur with 114 votes, Joyce O’Connor with 316 votes and Tom Pudas with 120 votes.


Ian Anderson earned a wide victory in Billings Township, scoring 399 votes compared to his competitors Barb Erskine and Margaret Tuomi, both tied at 203 votes.

“It’s been a long campaign,” said Mr. Anderson. “I’m happy to have it over with and certainly pleased with the results.”

Ian Anderson

Incumbent Sharon Alkenbrack will stay on council after earning 479 votes. Joining her at the table is Bryan Barker with 543 votes, Michael Hunt with 448 votes and Sharon Jackson with 469 votes. Michael Hunt is the son of outgoing mayor Aus Hunt, Canada’s longest-serving politician. The elder Mr. Hunt spent 65 years in public office and will be retiring at age 92 upon the change of council.

Mr. Anderson said that with only one returning councillor, the learning curve will be steep. However, he added, everyone with whom he had spoken seemed eager to “get down to business.”

“I’m sure that all the council and myself will make every effort to bring ourselves totally up to speed on all the issues and we’ll set about prioritizing what needs to be dealt with first,” said Mr. Anderson.

“I must congratulate all the folks that took the time, effort and expense to run for public office,” he said. “Billings was so fortunate to have a really good slate of candidates.”

Burpee Mills

Burpee and Mills will see Reeve Ken Noland at the helm for another term with his council of fellow incumbents Wayne Lloyd Bailey, Arthur Hayden and Pentti Pallonen. New to the Burpee and Mills council table for 2018 is Martin Ainslie.

Central Manitoulin

The Municipality of Central Manitoulin had a very tight race. In Ward 1 — Campbell, Angela Johnston and Derek Stephens tied with 180 votes each, earning each of them a seat on council. David Gilchrist received 112 votes, not enough to secure a seat.

The Ward 2 — Carnarvon race was even closer. Dale Scott and John Bisaillon earned their seats with 412 and 324 votes respectively. Steve Shaffer missed his seat by only two votes; his final tally was 322.

Mayor Richard Stephens and Ward 3 (Sandfield) councillor Linda Farquhar were both acclaimed to their positions. Ms. Farquhar is the only councillor for the two seats of Ward 3. A councillor will be appointed to the vacancy early into the new term of council.

Cockburn Island

Cockburn Island’s council has also been acclaimed with Brenda Jones serving as mayor and Robert Brown, Glen Cressman, Evan Papineau and Scott Stewart serving as councillors.

Gore Bay

In Gore Bay, businessman Dan Osborne, a councillor on past terms of council, has been acclaimed as mayor. His council is made up of Kevin Woestenenk (incumbent), Aaron Wright, Paulie Nodecker, Patricia Bailey, Leanne Woestenenk and Ken Blodgett (incumbent), all acclaimed.

Gordon/Barrie Island

Gordon-Barrie Island’s council was also acclaimed with incumbent Reeve Lee Hayden remaining in office. Reeve Hayden’s council is as follows: John Turner, Marian Hester, John (Jack) Brady and Jack Bould (incumbent).


Killarney saw some new faces elected to council, but incumbent Mayor Ginny Rook was returned to office with 274 votes to challenger Geoff Cosh’s 253 votes. In Ward 1 the three elected councillors were Barbara Anne Haitse with 291 votes, incumbent Michael Reider with 265 votes and incumbent Nancy Wirtz with 262 votes. Incumbent Eileen Lewis went down to defeat with 77 votes. In Ward 2, the two elected councillors were newcomer John Dimitrijevic with 89 votes and incumbent Jim Rook with 153 votes. Incumbent Pierre Paquette was defeated garnering 55 votes.

Mayor Rook had gone to bed by the time The Expositor contacted her home following the release of the ballot count.

Northeast Town

In the Town of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands (Northeast Town), incumbent Al MacNevin won with a majority over Melissa Peters, a councillor on this term of council.

“I’m very happy that I’ve managed to get re-elected,” said Al MacNevin. “I’ve never actually run for mayor, as last election I was acclaimed.”

Mayor MacNevin said he was pleased to be supported by “a good majority” of the population.

“I’m looking forward to working with a new council,” Mayor MacNevin added, “and I feel reassured that the community supports me and I am looking forward to the next four years.”

Northeast Town Ward 1 candidate Laurie Cook was acclaimed while Ward 2 saw a close race between its four candidates vying for three seats at the table. Former Ontario Provincial Police constable Al Boyd saw the largest portion of votes with 412 followed by incumbent Michael Erskine and newcomer Barb Baker. Cody Leeson, the Northeast Town’s youngest candidate, came in a close fourth with 319 votes.

In Ward 3, incumbent Bill Koehler came out on top with 107 votes to Sean O’Hare’s 90 votes. This is a switch for Councillor Koehler, however, who spent years as a councillor for Ward 2.

Ward 4 saw an upset with Paul Skippen losing his place at the council table. The electorate favoured Jim Ferguson Jr. with 391 votes followed by incumbent Dawn Orr with 328 votes. Rounding out the rural councillors is incumbent Bruce Wood of Green Bay.


Dave Jaggard

In the Township of Tehkummah, David Jaggard won the reeve seat with 393 votes to challenger and outgoing councillor Ron Hierons’ 97 votes. Mr. Jaggard said he welcomed the results.

“It was good to get a good percentage of the vote. I realize the people are behind me,” he said.

Joining Mr. Jaggard at the council table are Rick Gordon with 263 votes, incumbent Lorie Leeson with 338 votes, incumbent Michael McKenzie with 353 votes and outgoing reeve Eric Russell with 269 votes.

“I’m very pleased with the people that were chosen and I think we’re going to be able to work together well in the situation that we have. I think it’ll be a good group to work with,” said Mr. Jaggard.

Current councillor Paul Bowerman received a good contingent of community support, 133 votes, but walked away from this election without a council seat.

Karen Gerrard, former clerk-treasurer of Tehkummah, performed less favourably. She took home 86 votes.

Mr. Jaggard said his first priority as reeve will be to exercise better control over the township’s meetings.

“That’s the first thing, to get council meetings flowing more smoothly so we can get things done more quickly,” he said.

Rainbow District School Board

Linda Erskine and Margaret Stringer were in competition for the trustee position. As of press time, complete results were not yet available but finalized polls provided enough evidence for The Expositor to project a victory for Margaret Stringer.

“I really appreciate the results. I have to say a big thank you to everyone who took the time to come out and vote,” said Ms. Stringer. “I’m really looking forward to representing the students and parents of Manitoulin.”

“I’m very pleased,” she said. “I’m excited to be entrusted with this position.”

The new term of council begins on December 1, 2018. Councillors and heads of council sit for a four-year term until the next municipal election.