By Darren Lum
There’s a lot of work needing to be done in the Municipality of Dysart et al according to former mayor Murray Fearrey, who wants to be the candidate to do it and is hoping voters feel the same way.
He cited several reasons for re-entering politics after a four years away after he lost to outgoing Mayor Andrea Roberts, who is not running in the upcoming municipal election in October.
Among them, he said, include issues that were not handled this past term and how vacancies need to be filled, which includes the mayor’s seat and the deputy mayor’s seat on Dysart council, including positions on Haliburton County council.
“So, I think that the issues that are on the table, the important issues, by the way, which have not been dealt with, I think that I can [help with my] experience and do the right thing for Dysart. And Dysart does need strong representation at the county,” he said.
The former mayor who served more than four decades referenced the shoreline preservation bylaw, the concerns surrounding Air BnB and cottage rental businesses, which are “two huge issues for waterfront property owners.”
He adds this was an issue that came up during the last municipal election and feels it wasn’t handled.
“So, I think we have to move forward on some of those things and, plus, I got concerns about the health services. What can we do? What do we need to do as a community to correct those situations that we’ve gotten now, which are pretty scary by the way,” he said.
Fearrey filed his nomination on July 12, but was motivated by “many” people – more than a dozen he said – who communicated their support for him to return to politics the past three months.
“I made sure my health was as good as it could be for my age. And it’s something that I can do, but I believe I can do it a reasonably good job for people,” he said.
The 80-year-old said running in this election isn’t about his ego.
“I don’t need this, but I want to do it for the community and for Dysart. I’ve spent half my life working for the people here and I just want to make sure that we leave things so there’s somebody else [and is] going to move up on council that hopefully we got some new faces there and some stronger voices and then take over when we’re done here,” he said.
The former mayor said age is just a number and people die in their 40s, 50s and 60s.
As long as a person’s mind is sharp to make decisions, that’s the important thing, he said.
“That’s what matters in politics is that you can make decisions … they’re not always perfect, but make decisions and move the community forward,” he said.
He dispelled any notion that he will run as a “slate” with Walt McKecknie, who filed his nomination to run for the deputy mayor a few days before Fearrey.
“No, I’m my own candidate. I’ve always been my own candidate and, you know what, because you can’t, I don’t like slates and I don’t like teams,” he said.
McKechnie, who is a councillor currently, served on council with Fearrey for two terms.
Fearrey acknowledges the two have talked, but he said he talks to everybody. The two are friends and have known each other for decades, but this doesn’t mean the two are in agreement on everything, he added.
Other nominations for Dysart council include Rob McCaig for Ward 1, Daniel Roberts for Ward 2, Tammy Donaldson for Ward 3, Rod Dobson for Ward 4 and Gary Brohman for school trustee. Currently, these candidates are running unopposed and no one has been nominated for Ward 5.
Nominations will be accepted up until Aug. 19 at 2 p.m. The 2022 Ontario Municipal and School Board Election is on Oct. 24. The advance voting period starts Oct. 14. Voting can be performed by the internet or by telephone. Residents are encouraged to confirm they are eligible to vote. See voterlookup.ca to update information and ensure you’re on the voters list. The official election results will be declared on Oct. 25 and the inaugural meeting for the 2022 to 2026 term of council is Nov. 15.