While the focus is turned mostly toward the upcoming provincial election, nominations have officially opened for Oct. 24’s municipal and school board elections.
In Strathroy-Caradoc, two names are on the ballot so far for mayor: incumbent Joanne Vanderheyden and challenger Colin Grantham.
In his first policy pledge on the campaign trail, Grantham said he wants to limit how long a mayor can stay in office to two four-year terms.
“We’ve had two mayors in the last 20-some-odd years,” said Grantham.
“We need a number of fresh eyes. And oddly enough I don’t really think we need term limits on councillors. There is some wisdom there that needs to remain, but we need to make some opportunity for churn, for lack of a better term, in municipal politics.”
He added that it is hard for new people to get involved in municipal politics.
“If you’re a councillor, it’s hard to aspire to the mayor’s chair if you’ve got an incumbent in there,” said Grantham, who is not on council.
“I’ve heard from a number of people who want to get involved in municipal politics, it’s hard to unseat an incumbent councillor.”
He cited the decisions made on Mt. Brydges sewer extensions and the rules around fees for residents who may not want municipal sewer access or were surprised by the $17,500 cost to each home.
“The mayor and the councillors had been involved in it since day one and probably helped make the decision. A new mayor may have asked more why questions. Not how did we arrive at that number, but how did we need to do this. I would have asked for a review: show me why,” said Grantham.
Laws on municipal elections are made by the Province. Grantham hopes a local bylaw would be enough to enforce this new idea and that it would hold up to a legal challenge.
“I’m a believer in democracy, and that’s what I’m not seeing,” said Grantham.
Chris Gareau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Middlesex Banner