PARRSBORO – The voters of Parrsboro opted for a mixture of new faces and familiar in the Oct. 20 municipal election.
Incumbents David Harrison and Lisa Ward will be joined on town council by Robert Fancy and Ron Shaw, now that the dust has cleared on what was a tight eight-way race that saw the top vote-getter and the lowest separated by little more than 100 votes. They will work with Mayor Lois Smith, who returned to her post via acclamation.
Scoring the highest number of votes was Ward with 333, followed by Harrison with 313, Shaw with 299 and Fancy with 292. Missing the cut were Lyle Yorke with 248, Betty Atkinson with 240, Lloyd Smith with 213 and incumbent Dawn McCully with 204.
With the highest number of votes, Ward will serve as the town’s deputy mayor for the next four years, a policy council approved at its last monthly meeting.
“It’s very exciting and we have a lot of work ahead of us,” said Ward, moments after the votes were counted at the Parrsboro fire hall. “There are some things the prior council was working on that we have to finish up, and move on to some bigger and better things, hopefully.”
She said it has been a pleasure to work with the previous council, and she looks forward to working with Harrison again, as well as the newcomers. She said she has spoken from the heart during her past three years on council, and that she will continue to do so.
“I’m the same person all year round, 365 days a year all my life, and I treat everyone equally,” said Ward. “I hope over the last three years I’ve shown people that I worked hard, and that it shows today.”
Although he admitted he was sad to see McCully not re-elected, Harrison said he was looking forward to working with what “should be a good crew.”
“I’m just glad to be back,” he said. “I’m happy that everyone had enough faith in me to vote me back in for a second term.”
Harrison was re-elected despite what was not always an easy campaign. In particular, he pointed to interviews with Ross Robinson on Parrsboro’s community radio station that he said were particularly hard on him and McCully. Although he was re-interviewed by Bruce Wark on certain topics, Harrison said the experience was a “tough one to swallow.”
“Both Dawn and I got hammered hard in that one,” he said. “I wouldn’t care if we all got hammered hard. But he did Dawn no favours.”
On election night Harrison attended a wine tasting event at Bare Bones Bistro, where he said he had a chance to discuss some tourism ideas with proprietor Glenn Wheaton. He said he would like to bring those ideas to the council table right away.
Shaw had one word to describe his reaction to being elected – “shocked.”
“I wasn’t expecting this,” said Shaw, who served on council previously from 1994-97. “I’m glad I won. I just have four hard years ahead of me.”
Voters know he is outspoken and will continue to speak his mind, according to Shaw, who said he has to be ready now to roll up his sleeves and get to work.
“I’m there, I put my name in, and now I have to carry it out,” he said. “I have to get the feel of things again, and see where we need to go from here.”
As the lone councilor who will come to the job with no previous experience, Fancy said he too was looking forward to getting at the job at hand, and already has a couple of issues in mind that he wants to focus on. One of those is the idea of a new town hall in Parrsboro, which he said voters are really upset about.
“This is something that has to be brought out in the open, and we’ll see what happens,” he said. “There’s also a tax issue. We really have to figure out what we can do with taxes. People are really hurting.”
Fancy campaigned on council improving its communication with the townspeople, and said that will be a priority for him at the table.
“Transparency is big, and we have to be more transparent,” he said.
Voter turnout was 68 per cent, down slightly from the 73 per cent in the 2008 election, and 79 per cent in the 2009 byelection.