Acclaimed Tay council sworn in, ready to face challenges

Not many residents braved the snow squall conditions to attend the inauguration of the 2022-2026 Tay Township council on Thursday, but the chambers were filled all the same with the support of many friends, family, and peers from neighbouring North Simcoe municipalities.

The ceremony for inauguration of the council was a small affair in the limited space at town hall on 450 Park St. in Victoria Harbour. After being piped in and singing O Canada, the members entered in file to sit on the side in anticipation.

Councillors Sandy Talbot, Gerard LaChapelle, Sylvia Bumstead, Judy Larmand, Paul Raymond, Deputy Mayor Barry Norris, and Mayor Ted Walker each swore the oath of office before signing in and being led to their elected and appointed seat on the raised dais by CAO Andrea Fay.

A prayer was led by Father Michael Knox, director of the Martyr’s Shrine on Highway 12 outside Port McNicoll. Following the prayer, the municipality gifted Knox with a cheque and a gift of personalized protective, reflective work wear to the delightful laughter of the audience as a donation for the site’s fundraising efforts for outdoor works.

Each member of council provided a brief statement, that included words of thanks, and their goals and aspirations for the future of the township.

“The last council term presented us with some unprecedented challenges as a result of the COVID pandemic," said Mayor Walker. "Thanks to the expertise, foresight and hard work of all of our staff, and the patience and understanding of our residents and volunteers, service clubs and institutions, we were able to meet the challenges the pandemic presented without significant impact to the level of service our residents deserve.”

Further congratulatory speeches were made on behalf of Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop and Simcoe North MP Adam Chambers who were unable to attend.

The audience were the ones that filled the chamber though. Almost all were family members, with representatives of the councils from neighbouring Midland, Penetanguishene, Tiny Township, and Springwater Township in the seats. Members of the Southern Georgian Bay OPP were present as well.

Once concluded, photos were taken and hands were shaken by all.

Walker was asked by MidlandToday about the trust that the residents had in an acclaimed council, a rarity within municipal politics that saved many taxpayer dollars set aside for election purposes.

“I think there’s a lot of trust there,” Walker explained. “I think it’s a reflection of the fact they thought we, the previous council, had done a good job. And the two new people (Bumstead and Larmand) were good people as well. I think they’d seen that as a continuation.”

And to get the council started, Walker said that there was one large project that would be undertaken in the new term.

“I think probably the biggest project we have facing us is expansion of Victoria Harbour wastewater plant; that’s probably not going to take place until 2024, but all of next year will be in the planning stages for that.”

The next regular meeting of council is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 21.

The inaugural meeting of council was archived and can be viewed in full on the Tay Township YouTube channel.

Tay council meets for regular council meetings every fourth Wednesday of the month. Further information including council’s agenda can be found on the Tay Township website.

Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca