Thursday, August 12, 2010

Election News and GCL Re-Ups

Birtwistle Takes Up Space

Upping the game to the next level, mayoral hopeful David Birtwistle has officially opened his campaign office. The space is in a former dollar store in the plaza at Victoria and Grange Roads, the same one that’s home to Guelph’s famous Hockey Sushi. It’s another sign that Birtwistle, a former two-term city councillor (2000-2006) means business in the race to depose Karen Farbridge for the City’s highest office. Sign spotters may recall that Birtwistle was also the first off the bench with election signage after the Canada Day long weekend. As for our current Mayor, she’ll be setting up shop in the former Alma Gallery downtown later this month. To keep up with the mayoral race, visit the candidates’ websites at for David Birtwistle and for Karen Farbridge.

The Rest of the Race…

The second half of July brought a proverbial flurry of new activity to the various races. Ward 1 remains, by far, the most competitive with a total of eight announced candidates running so far. Further, as of press time, I have it on good authority that there may be a ninth sometime soon. That's almost the total number of candidates running in all the other wards combined, and the remaining incumbent, Bob Bell, has still yet to announce. Meanwhile, over in Ward 2, Andrew Colwill threw his hat back into the ring. Colwill also ran in the last municipal election finishing sixth at seven per cent of the vote. Now he is the fourth person to join the race in this ward behind incumbents Vicki Beard and Ian Findley, as well as former Ward 2 councillor Ray Ferraro.

The story in the rest of the wards is mostly a tale of out with the old, back in with the old. The races in Wards 3 and 6 have remained unchanged since April, with incumbents Maggie Laidlaw and June Hofland re-upping for re-election in Ward 3 and Karl Wettstein doing the same in Ward 6. His ward mate, Christine Billings, told me earlier this summer that she usually waits until late summer/early fall to announce. Ward 4 finally joined the board with Gloria Kovach announcing her intention to run again on July 15th, and Mike Salisbury following suit on July 26th. Finally, in Ward 5, both Leanne Piper and Lise Burcher are now officially in the race.

HGCL Ready for another Go

Although extremely active in the last municipal election, not much has been heard from the Guelph Civic League in the build up to this year’s contest. Recently though, the GCL undertook a process to reinvigorate themselves, and it started with the election of a new executive. Kevin Ferraro and Sharon Lewis, both new to the Guelph Civic League, have agreed to act as co-presidents of the organization, while Annie O'Donoghue will continue to act as past president. The rest of the exec is made up of Anne Gardner as Treasurer, Clare Irwin as Secretary, Kathie Lamie as Membership / Outreach Co-ordinator, Susan Ratcliffe as Events Co-ordinator, Dave Sills as Communications Co-ordinator, and Anastasia Zavarella, Local Affairs Commissioner of the University of Guelph’s Central Student Association, as Campus Outreach Co-ordinator. “The members of the executive committee are excited about their new roles and anxious to build on the work of past executive committee members,” said a message to members of the GCL’s Facebook group. Founded in 2004, the Guelph Civic League is committed to keeping citizens informed and working towards a local democracy that is inclusive, participatory, transparent and accountable. Check out what the GCL’s got cooking by going to their website at

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