INVERNESS: Inverness Municipal Council underwent a facelift on October 15 as three new members were elected to the six-person body.
Laurie Cranton (district 2: Margaree and St. Joseph), John MacLennan (district 4: Whycocomagh, Orangedale, and Lake Ainslie), and John Dowling (district 6: Port Hastings and Judique) will now have a seat at the table.
Returning officer Dernie Gillis reported the voter turn-out was 49 per cent.
Also returning to council is Jim Mustard (district 3: Inverness, Glenville, and Dunvegan). Mustard had a fight on his hands against two challengers. Mustard, who earned 421 votes, narrowly edged out Gerry Poirier, who finished with 393 votes. Wanda MacMaster took in 170 votes.
In district 2, Cranton earned 525 votes as opposed to Roddie MacLennan’s 295. As a result, Cranton claimed the council seat left vacant by outgoing councillor Gloria LeBlanc.
“Gloria put in 19 years, so there are big shoes to fill there,” said Cranton, who got the results by computer on Saturday night.
He was home with his family.
“I know pretty much everyone in the community, and I don’t think I have any big enemies out there,” he said. “I look forward to coming together with my community and the others throughout the county.”
Improving cell phone service and high speed Internet are major issues for the municipality, in Cranton’s view. Senior and low-income housing are other bits of infrastructure that need improvement, he said, and the issue of the Margaree airport expansion has to be examined.
“I believe in the airport expansion,” he said, “but I’ll reserve my final judgment on that until I get some more questions answered.”
In district 4, MacLennan’s victory saw him beat incumbent warden Duart MacAulay by a margin of 548-201. It was MacAulay who called MacLennan to tell him the results and to offer congratulations.
“He was a gentleman, and he wished me the best,” MacLennan said. “We were friends before the election, and we’ll continue to be friends now.
“I think a lot of people were looking for a change, just to get a little new blood.”
MacLennan said a number of issues face the municipality. During his campaigning, he said many people mentioned the need for seniors’ housing. Other hot topics included street lights, road repair, improved signage, the lack of sidewalks in Whycocomagh, the need for stoplights at the Village Road in Whycocomagh, and the need for cell phone and Internet service throughout the county.
A margin of less than 40 votes decided district 6, with Dowling earning 581 votes as opposed to the 543 earned by incumbent Dwayne MacDonald.
“It’s been a long six weeks, but I’m excited as hell,” Dowling said. “Dwayne and I both got out there and worked. I had a really good support team and the people of the county were behind me.
“Everywhere I went, people were looking for a change.”
Promoting health care through support groups is something Dowling feels necessary, as there aren’t enough resources in the municipality aimed at supporting those in recovery, he said. Aiding seniors is another thing that’s important, he mentioned, as well as making sure groups like the Port Hastings Museum and Port Hawkesbury Airport are well supported.
“I’m stubborn, so that will be good for council,” he said. “I want to stress that I’m here today because of the people of Inverness County.
“A lot of people had faith in me, and I won’t let them down.”