The municipal voting has begun in South Bruce, and it looks like we have more interest in this election than we’ve seen for a very long time. Three all-candidates meetings were held, and each one was well attended by an engaged audience of voters. The special-interest group that calls itself “Protect Our Waterways” (POW), which exists to oppose the proposed Deep Geological Repository (DGR) for nuclear waste, is running a full slate of candidates. This group, which has covered the Teeswater area in yellow anti-nuclear protest signs, is led by mayoral candidate Rita Groen, and includes Teeswater-Culross candidates Michelle Stein and Gord Ripley, and “at large” candidates Sandy Bunker and Doug Kreller. This entire group has campaigned as a bloc, and appears to have a committed nucleus of supporters from their organization.
Judging by the audience response at public meetings, the yellow-sign crowd has alienated a lot of local voters, who will be looking to support alternative candidates. The election outcome may well depend on how many non-POW voters show up to vote. Candidates who are not in the POW bloc are mayoral candidates Bob Buckle and Mark Goetz, Teeswater-Culross candidates Mark Ireland and Mike McDonagh, and at-large candidates Mike Niesen and Nigel Van Dyk.
For my part, I’m encouraged to see the interest and engagement this election has sparked. But there’s a lot more at stake here than just the DGR. The candidates we elect will represent us for the next four years, making all the important decisions for our municipality. In my opinion, we should not let the process be taken over by a single-issue special interest group. Whatever their viewpoints, I hope all of my fellow ratepayers in South Bruce will consider wisely and cast their votes in this important election.
Tony Zettel, RR5 Mildmay