West Lincoln Mayor Dave Bylsma has launched his campaign for re-election in October’s municipal election.
Bylsma said he is proud of the work that council achieved over the past four years and wants to continue that work for another term.
“It’s not unfinished business,” he said. “It’s finished business, but I’d like to continue that work.”
The mayor said investment in infrastructure was a highlight of the past four years, which Bylsma saw as an increase in pace over the preceding term.
He pointed out that during the last term, there were four major municipal infrastructure projects started, including construction on the new West Lincoln Fire Station 2.
Bylsma also praised the way that council has run over the past four years. “We now run a modern, efficient and effective municipality,” he said. He also praised the collaboration between his position, council and staff.
While he said he was proud of how council operated, the last four years were not absent of controversy. Bylsma was removed from the Emergency Operations Centre role in April 2019, two days after the mayor delivered an address to anti-lockdown protesters. He was stripped of his council appointments after the mayor asked a woman about her menstruation cycle.
In October 2020, the integrity commissioner found that he broke the code of conduct three times following comments Bylsma made during a radio interview, and special council meeting held during this summer when the Pride flag was not flown in the township.
Looking forward, Bylsma considered expansion within the Township as one of the bigger issues facing the mayor and council.
Smithville is expected to double in size by 2051, and plans are currently being considered to deal with the expansion.
“It’s going to transform what Smithville is,” Bylsma acknowledged.
But the current mayor is keen to ensure that the expansion isn’t rushed. “(I would) like to see that it’s done on our timeline,” he said, “so that the community isn’t grown beyond recognition.”
Expansion is a 30-year plan, he said, so he’d like to take those 30 years, to maintain the community spirit.
Looking back over the last term, Bylsma said: “I enjoyed the experience and I’d like to make myself available to the community again, if they’ll have me.”
So far, Bylsma and Coun. Cheryl Ganann have announced their bids for the mayoral race.
The municipal election is on Oct. 24. More information about the election, along with instructions to check if you’re on the voters list, can be found on West Lincoln’s election page: https://www.westlincoln.ca/en/township-office/2022-elections-municipal-school-board.aspx.
Chris Pickles, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News