Almaguin voters keep some council members, turf others

Burk's Falls Mayor Cathy Still won't see a fifth term as the village's top elected official.

Still was defeated in Monday's municipal elections by Chris Hope.

Hope picked up 176 votes to Still's 129 votes.

The loss for Still caps a 22-year career in municipal politics.

Still was first elected to Burk's Falls council in 2000 serving two terms as a councillor before running for mayor in 2006.

In McMurrich-Monteith Township, Mayor Angela Friesen lost to her challenger, Glynn Robinson, by a wide margin.

Robinson won with 391 votes compared to Friesen's 238 votes.

Strong Township has a new Mayor.

Tim Bryson, who was the Mayor of Joly Township, decided not to seek re-election in Joly and instead filed nomination papers to run next door in Strong.

Strong was led by Kelly Elik but she decided to retire as Mayor leaving the door open for a new top leader.

Elik's departure cleared the way for Strong town councillors Jody Baillie and Jason Cottrell to also run for Mayor as well as newcomer Albert Lilley.

Bryson was the clear winner picking up 354 votes, to Baillie's 269 votes, Lilley in third with 182 votes and then Cottrell with 111 votes.

Bryson's decision to vacate the mayor's seat in Joly allowed Joly councillor Brian McCabe to run for the position.

McCabe was acclaimed when no one else put their name up to seek the mayor's position in Joly.

The Village of Sundridge was going to have a new mayor because just like Elik, Sundridge Mayor Lyle Hall decided the 2018-22 term was his last.

Three people threw their hats into the political ring and newcomer Justine Leveque easily won over her two opponents.

Leveque garnered 245 votes which was more than what Steve Hicks (127 votes) and Barbara Belrose (75 votes) combined collected.

Belrose was a long-time town councillor.

Hicks was serving his first term on council when he quit earlier this year so that he could criticize the actions of Strong council without involving Sundridge council.

At the Meet the Candidates event in Sunridge on Oct. 3, Hicks admitted he had made a mistake in quitting town council.

Hicks said to make change, you need to be part of the process and not disengage oneself the way he did.

In Magnetawan, incumbent Mayor Sam Dunnett easily defeated challenger Michael Gebhardt 700 to 424.

It was Gebhardt's second attempt, the first being in 2018, to unseat Dunnett.

In the Town of Kearney, Cheryl Philip elevated her status to mayor from councillor.

Incumbent Mayor Carol Ballantyne did not run in this election.

Philip faced two challengers – Lance Thrale and Douglas Boyce.

The final tally was Philip with 586 votes, Thrale had 405 votes and Boyce was a distant third with 41 votes.

The Township of Ryerson saw residents return George Stirling as their mayor.

Town councillor Penny Brandt challenged Stirling but lost in a 273-100 vote.

In fact Brandt came in third in the race.

Finishing second just ahead of Brandt was newcomer James Trevor with 103 votes.

Another race where a councillor challenged the incumbent mayor occurred in Machar Township.

There, councillor Bart Wood took on Mayor Lynda Carleton and lost 495 to 405.

There were several acclamations for mayor in the Highlands.

Councillor Rod Ward was acclaimed as mayor for Armour Township.

Ward replaces retiring longtime Mayor Bob MacPhail.

In South River, another long-time mayor, Jim Coleman, was acclaimed to office as was Mayor Tom Piper of Nipissing Township.

In terms of the town councillor positions, in Burk's Falls, John Wilson is back . New to council in Burk's Falls are Sean Cotton, Ashley Brandt and Ryan Baptiste.

The new faces are the result of Lisa Morrison and Jarvis Osborne not seeking re-election while Deputy Mayor Rex Smith lost his seat.

McMurrich-Monteith will also see many new faces on the council.

Dan O'Halloan is the only incumbent coming back after Dennis Banka and Alfred Beilke were defeated and Lynne Zemncky did not seek re-election.

Replacing them at the council table are Vicky Roeder-Martin, Wesley Dyson and Terry Currie.

Strong Township has two returning councillors in the form of Jeff McLaren and Marianne Stickland.

With councillors Baillie and Cottrell running for the mayor's seat, that left two openings at the councillor level and they were filled by newcomers Kevin Noaik and Jim Ronholm.

In Joly Township incumbent councillors Budd Brown, Tom Bryson and Bill Black were all re-elected.

They are joined by Chris Nicholson who replaces Brian McCabe once he was acclaimed mayor. Sundridge saw Deputy Mayor Shawn Jackson and Councillor Fraser Williamson re-elected.

Councillor Enzo Seca decided not to run in the election and councillor Barbara Belrose tried to win the mayoralty.

Those two slots were won by newcomers Sharon Smith, who was a town councillor in South River from 2010 to 2018 and James MacLachlan.

Back as councillors in Magnetawan are John Hetherington and Brad Kneller.

Two new councillors are Bill Bishop and Jon Hind.

The new seats are the result of Tim Brunton not seeking re-election and incumbent Wayne Smith losing his seat.

Kearney will see three new faces as councillors.

They are Heather Pateman, Keven Beaucage and Jill Sharer.

Voters returned incumbent councillor Michael Rickward.

Among councillors in Ryerson Township only Delynne Patterson made it back to the table.

She is joined by newcomers Glenn Miller, Beverly Abbott and Dan Robertson.

Machar town councillors Ron McLaren, Neil Scarlett and Blair Flowers were re-elected to another term.

Joining them is newcomer Pearl Ivens who replaces Bart Wood, who ran for mayor.

All the councillor candidates in Armour were acclaimed.

They are Rod Blakelock, Jerry Brandt, Wendy Whitwell and Dorothy Haggart-Davis.

Davis is the new councillor and takes over Rod Ward's council seat after he was acclaimed mayor.

It was the same acclamation story for all councillor seats in South River.

Incumbents Teri Brandt, Bill O'Hallarn and Brenda Scott are joined by Robert Brooks who replaces the retiring Deputy Mayor Doug Sewell.

Nipissing voters decided to replace most of their councillors with Stephen Kirkey being the only incumbent to keep his seat.

Councillors Thomas Allen Marchant and James Scott were defeated while their colleague Liz Moore did not seek re-election.

All three are replaced by Dave Yemm, Shelly Foote and Tom Butler.

The various Almaguin communities will swear in their new council members over the next several weeks.

Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Bay Nugget