Former Mayor Deborah Farr seeks a return in North Algona Wilberforce

·4 min read

Golden Lake – Former North Algona Wilberforce (NAW) Mayor Deborah Farr is seeking a return to office, and it will be a rematch with incumbent Mayor James Brose, who defeated her in the 2018 election.

While her time as mayor was associated with a rather tumultuous term around the council chamber, there was always an emphasis on low taxation and this continues to be of vital importance to her this election.

“With inflation taking up a good portion of our weekly pay, local governments must use all the tools at hand and keep taxes under control,” she said.

Eight years ago, when the then newbie politician ran for mayor in NAW, she campaigned on a platform of accountability and transparency and this is part of her platform in 2022 as well.

“Accountability and transparency are equally important when you are responsible for taxpayer dollars,” she noted. “Without accountability, how would a municipality track the cost of services?

“North Algona Wilberforce encompasses a large area, and many groups and organizations approach the municipalities requesting funds. Once the council declines or accepts the request, it is the mayor’s responsibility to stand behind council’s decision,” she pointed out. “It would not be transparent if the minutes recorded a decision of the council, but the mayor chooses to override their decision.”

Minutes are documents that guide staff and record the decisions of the council, she noted.

“They generally don’t provide great detail to the public but should provide enough information about the discussions of the council so the public knows what is happening,” she added.

In her brochure, she also promises respect for all residents and to “listen to residents so proactive measures can be taken when planning for the future.”

As well, she said she will work for safe roads, parks and work spaces at transfer sites, as well as continuing to apply for grants to offset the need to raise taxes.

The former mayor also promised to discus the needs of residents who live on private roads.

“We have all gone through trying times over the last two years and it’s time to start planning for the future,” her campaign flyer noted. “Let’s work together and move forward.”

In speaking with the Leader, Ms. Farr said she was motivated to run because she feels an election is a chance for voices to be heard and issues to be worked out.

“I believe issues that are brought to the council table should be discussed by all members of the council and no voice should be silenced,” she said. “By encouraging all members of the council, both at the table and in the community, we can supply quality services to all residents. By actively engaging the public and participating in council meetings, local government provides diversity and growth.”

She pointed out NAW has been her home for over 50 per cent of her life, giving her roots in the community. As well, “North Algona Wilberforce is one of the best landscapes in the province.”

She said as mayor she would like to see growth in the community and a place where people enjoy their lives at all stages.

“It would be nice to have jobs for our children so they could raise their families here in God’s country,” she said. “Ontario has a large portion of the population getting ready to retire and some will be looking forward to more permanent life at the cottage. When this time comes, will we be ready and welcoming when more people come to join our community? New demands will be placed on the community and we can either open our arms and work towards growth or we can silence them.”

The former mayor noted all the residents of NAW should have a voice in setting a path for the township.

“I hope that young people start running for office in their respective communities,” she said. “Having a seat on council provides an opportunity to help shape the local community while giving back to the community.”

In terms of goals if she is elected, Ms. Farr, said she believes residents should have a voice about the services the township provides.

“Because in the end, it’s the residents that pay for the services,” she said. “Once staff and council identify projects and work together, there is no end to the goals that can be accomplished, and by following the strategic plan council and staff will be able to monitor the goals that have been set out.”

Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader