Meaford’s newly elected council was installed at a special inaugural session held in the Meaford Hall opera house on Monday, November 21.
Before an audience of approximately 100 – many were friends and family of the council members – Meaford’s new mayor, Ross Kentner, along with acclaimed Deputy Mayor Shirley Keaveney and Councillors Steven Bartley, Tony Bell, Harley Greenfield, Brandon Forder, and Rob Uhrig were sworn into office.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Herman Wilton-Siegel was on hand to conduct the declaration of office for each of the members of the new council.
After the transfer of the Mayoral chain of office, Mayor Kentner addressed the audience. Mayor Kentner noted the many challenges that lie ahead for the municipality and council including a significant increase in new development proposals.
“My campaign called for a slight alteration of course. The reason is, Meaford is not the same municipality as when I ran for office in 2018,” Kentner told the audience. “Despite the pandemic, or possibly reinforced by it, we saw $100 million in building permits in 2021. Our population has grown by 4.5 percent since 2016. If the Ontario pumped storage project goes ahead, a $4.5 billion mega project could be in operation here by the end of the decade. So a course alteration is needed to ensure we manage the growth we know is coming as best we can given the provincial government tinkering with some of the pillars of development planning. The decisions your new council will make will be felt to come because as we grow, as people have acknowledged, we are going to change. So we must strive to protect the vital agriculture industry that drives our economy, we must strive for a vibrant downtown that continues to inspire pride, attract visitors, and investment. We must strive for housing that meets the needs of all ages and stages. Simply trying will not be good enough. Without a concerted effort by this council the changes coming will impact each of these things that taken together make Meaford the place we love, the place that gives us pride in our past, and hope and confidence in our future. I am here to tell you that I have never been more optimistic about our future than I am today. We’re going to have a strong new council that is a blend of tested experience, and forward thinking newcomers.”