Council experiences a shuffle after election
Election 2017: Councillor Ruth Goodwin steps up as Black Diamond’s mayor
Tuesday, Oct 17, 2017 01:28 pm
Black Diamond will have four new faces at the council table following Monday’s municipal election, as well as a new mayor.
In the race for the mayoral title between councillors Ruth Goodwin and Mike Ross, Goodwin received the most votes at 386, representing 56 per cent of the mayoral votes after 709 people headed to the polls, according to the unofficial results.
The results will become official Oct. 20 at noon.
“It’s really a good feeling,” said Goodwin. “I’m excited and I’m looking forward to the new adventures that we have ahead of us and a lot of hard work.”
When it came to selecting councillors, voters favoured both incumbents Brian Marconi, who received the most votes at 483, and Jackie Stickel, with the next highest at 474.
New to council are Veronica Kloiber (with 437 votes), Ted Bain (423), Sharon Hart (397) and Daryl Lalonde (389). Hart previously served on council from 2010 to 2013.
Marconi, who joined council in last year’s byelection, said he spent several days knocking at the doors of local residences.
“I walked the town,” he said. “People saw me knocking on doors and I guess that helped. I’m quite humbled and I’m glad that people believe in what I was saying. My platform obviously struck a good chord with people and I guess they agree because they voted.”
When it came to social media, Marconi said he kept his distance.
“That’s the one thing I didn’t do was get on social media,” he said. “I understand social media can have quite an impact, but you end up in conversations with a whole bunch of people instead of one-on-one.”
The other disadvantage to social media is it can be rife with rumours, said Marconi.
“People were wondering why I wasn’t on there,” he said. “I just don’t do things that way. You get rumours and things get blown out of perspective. I read some of the comments and said, ‘No, I’m staying away from that.’”
As a councillor, Marconi considers himself down to earth and said he does his research.
“Those are the kinds of things that, over time, build up your reputation and your credibility,” he said. “When I saw the results I thought I must have struck a chord with somebody.”
With the most experienced councillors at the table having just one term on council, Marconi said he looks forward to new ideas.
“I’m always looking for new challenges” he said.
For those councillors who are new at the table, Marconi said it’s going to be an education.
“There is a learning curve, I can attest to that,” he said. “My learning curve is probably different from a lot of people. I had a good grasp of what was going. I sat in the council meetings for 16 months so you get a feel for what’s going on. That was really beneficial.”
With the new council elected, Goodwin said council is in the position to move forward with a stronger base and a sharper focus on the future.
“I think any time you have a good mix-up between old and more experienced councillors you are going to have a fresher perspective,” she said. “It adds that level of excitement and I don’t have a problem with the majority of them being newer councillors. Of the four new ones we have one experienced councillor and that’s Sharon Hart.”
Goodwin said she envisions the experienced councillors mentoring those who are just starting out for the next 18 to 24 months.
As for what’s in store for Goodwin as mayor, she expects to be busy.
“All this means to me is a heck of a lot more hours per week, but I was a fairly active councillor anyway so throwing in some more hours during the week, I’m looking forward to that,” she said. “I have got a wonderful councillor group and they’ve already expressed their full support as I have for them. I think we’re all really looking forward to working together and that’s an amazing place to start.”
Mike Ross, who received 309 votes in the election, said he took the chance of running against Goodwin for the mayoral title to give residents a choice in the election.
“It was a risk I thought had to be taken,” he said. “The Town was going to get a brand new mayor no matter what and it wouldn’t be fair to have someone acclaimed into that position. People have to have a choice.”
Ross, who’s served 15 years on council, said he is concerned about the lack of experience on council, particularly because none of the existing councillors will remain on the Westend Regional Sewage Services Commission.
Currently serving on the commission are Turner Valley Mayor Kelly Tuck and Coun. Dona Fluter, who won’t be returning, as well as himself and Jim Deacon in Black Diamond, who also aren’t returning.
“Now the commission has to start brand new and there is a $17 million project for sewage and lagoon upgrades with all kinds of technical support so new people have to figure that out and that’s not going to be easy,” he said.
Ross said he was confident he was going to be elected as mayor.
“I just thought that people would want to pick the person that was better for the job and I thought I would be better for the job with my experience and my background with the Sheep River Regional Utility Corporation and with the Westend and all the other committees that I’ve been on over the years,” he said.
As for what he plans to do next, Ross said he’s not sure.
“I think I will just take a couple of days and figure out what my next steps are,” he said.
In the meantime, Ross wishes the new council luck in the coming four years.
“They’ve got a lot of work ahead of them, a whole lots of work, and so does Ruth because she’s got to lead the new council,” he said. “I wish them the best of luck.”
A swearing-in ceremony for the new council and appointments to committees will take place Oct. 24 at 9:30 a.m. in the municipal building.