West Nipissing council members convened November 1st, and unless there is a special meeting called, that will be the last one for the municipality’s current council members.
It was a calm meeting and often sombre in tone as councillors took the opportunity to thank staff, volunteers, and residents for the support over the past four years.
Lise Senecal wanted “to thank all the residents for the support I have received for the past four years, it was always a pleasure to serve you.” She wished the best to the incoming councillors, and new mayor Kathleen Rochon. “Hopefully they will function better than we did.”
Councillor Yvon Duhaime noted the difficulties council has had over the past term, “but we pulled through,” he said, adding he was thankful for the work of the mayor throughout his tenure on council.
See: Clean slate for West Nipissing council
Mayor Joanne Savage, who chose not to run again for the office, emphasized the importance of volunteers within the community, as well as the committee members and board members. All were “instrumental in making the municipality progress,” she said. Mayor Savage noted the municipal staff have always offered “effective and efficient” services to the public.
Mayor Savage served five years as a councillor representing Ward 7, Verner, and has been mayor of West Nipissing for the past 19 years. Throughout her service, “my motto has always been if there’s a will, there’s a way.”
She offered some advice to the incoming council—"never lose the focus of our most valuable resources, the people, the taxpayers.” She also listed three primary goals she hoped to achieve as mayor, the first being ensuring accountability, with offering transparency coming in second.
Her third goal was “making sure all residents felt town hall was their second home, where they would feel comfortable walking in to obtain information and felt comfortable to get the support that was needed to be able to help them out with issues that they wanted to move forward.”
Although this past term was “probably the most difficult term I have ever experienced over my 24 years,” Mayor Rochefort hopes her original goals “get accomplished by future elected councils.”
“Taxpayers have earned that right and deserve that right,” she said. “Never lose sight of your taxpayers.”
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca