Heads bowed in prayer
AMHERST – Amherst’s new council was sworn into office tonight at the fire hall.
A piper led Mayor Robert Small and the council – including new additions Lisa Emery and Frank Balcom – into the hall, where CAO Greg Herrett led the ceremony.
“This is your town,” said Coun. Terry Rhindress, as councillors took the microphone to address the modest assemblage.
“Without your help, we can’t do it.”
All of the councillors offered a vision of an active and engaged council. Dave March expressed his appreciation to the electorate.
“I really, really like this job…let’s get some more work done.”
Lisa Emery thanked her supporters.
“I look forward to the challenge…,” said the rookie councillor. “I look forward to working with my team.”
The other novice, Frank Balcom, voiced his excitement.
“I am…very, very enthusiastic.”
Returning councillor Robert Bird said he was looking forward to the next four years, while George Baker – elected deputy mayor during the meeting over Rhindress – was effusive in his praise for Amherst.
“Our community is one of the greatest communities,” he said.
Mayor Small was clearly under the weather, expressing regrets that he couldn’t shake hands for fear of transmitting what ailed him. He spoke about a strategic planning session slated for Dec. 3.
“I’m looking forward to that day,” he said.
The session is being touted as an opportunity for council to develop a four-year priority plan: choosing the key projects for the term.
Some of those priorities, based on comments from the mayor and councilors, include finding a home and new chief for the police department, redevelopment of the properties damaged by the Victoria Street fire, and attracting new business investment. Taxes and tourism may also be on the agenda.
The mayor had positive words for his competitor Wayne Bishop, and praised the job performed by former councillors Robert Angel and Dale Fawthrop.