Haliburton County Election underway as candidates confirmed


Half of the mayoral races in Haliburton County have been wrapped up two months early after candidates in Dysart et al and Minden Hills were officially acclaimed Aug. 22.

 Murray Fearrey has been declared mayor in-waiting in Dysart, returning to a position he previously held for four decades after running unopposed. Ward 1 Coun. 

Bob Carter was the only person to file paperwork for the big seat on Minden Hills council, and as such will replace the retiring Brent Devolin as mayor in October. Nominations closed Aug. 19 at 2 p.m. 

“I have mixed feelings, due to the lack of interest,” Fearrey told The Highlander when asked how he felt about being acclaimed. “I have had many acclamations over the years and have always taken the responsibilities [of mayor] to the best of my ability… I realize I have some catch-up to do, however I am committed to make Dysart more efficient.” Fearrey said his number one priority heading into next term is housing. 

He hopes to attract new developers to Dysart and wants to enhance affordable housing opportunities in the community. 

Carter said he felt humbled to win the mayor’s seat in Minden Hills by acclamation. 

He agreed with Fearrey that additional housing is needed in Haliburton County. “We need to make significant strides developing housing and providing the infrastructure required by our growing community,” Carter said. 

“My most important priority is to build attainable housing for workers and families and seniors. Although housing is a County responsibility, we can all do our part. We must do this ourselves if we want Minden to thrive.” 

The race is on 

There are two people each vying to be mayor in Algonquin Highlands and Highlands East. 

After incumbent Carol Moffatt announced plans to retire at the end of this current term, deputy mayor Liz Danielsen said it seemed like a “natural transition” for her to step up and make a run for mayor in Algonquin Highlands. 

She has spent the past 12 years serving as deputy mayor. “Continuity can be extremely important in the complex oversight of a municipality… and that is something I can offer,” Danielsen said. “At the same time, I will be a new voice; one with new thoughts and ideas about how we might move forward.” 

Mike Lang is running against her. A cottager since 2011, Lang said he’s running for office after growing disillusioned by what he perceives to be a growing divide between the community’s permanent and seasonal residents. 

“The township’s response to COVID-19 alienated many seasonal residents. The existing council unnecessarily closed public boat ramps… to prevent seasonal residents from attending their properties. Council made two classes of residents,” Lang said. 

In Highlands East, incumbent Dave Burton is seeking a fifth term on council. He will be competing for the role against Cheryl Ellis, who is making her second play for the mayor’s seat. Burton said his experience would be vital in helping to guide County council through a period of transition, while he also wants to lead Highlands East into brighter days after the pandemic. “This has been pretty much the goal of my life. My priority has always been the well-being of the community. My hope is you’ll see over the course of the next four years a renewed focus on where we live, work and play… To continue building a better community for all the people in Highlands East,” he said. Ellis said she aims to bring “fresh thoughts and new ideas” to the community. 

As a fifth generation Highlands East resident, she feels she would bring a unique perspective to council. “I understand this lifestyle, I know what is lacking and I wish to make life better for everyone,” Ellis said. 

The rest of the pack 

Walt McKechnie has been acclaimed as Dysart et al’s next deputy mayor and will replace the outgoing Pat Kennedy. 

Two councillors have also been acclaimed – Tammy Donaldson in Ward 3 and Barry Boice in Ward 5. Rob McCaig, Pamela Brohm, Pat Casey and Tom Bailey will battle it out for the Ward 1 seat, with Daniel Roberts, Jennifer Korpela and Nancy WoodRoberts running in Ward 2. 

Ron Evans, Hayden Hughes, Brian Atkins and Carm Sawyer are all running in Ward 4. 

Lisa Schell has joined Carter in being acclaimed in Minden Hills and will serve as the community’s deputy mayor for another term. 

Bob Sisson has also been acclaimed, as Ward 3 councillor. 

All other positions will be contested, with Tammy McKelvey and Trevor Chaulk competing to be councillor at large; Ivan Ingram, Shirley Johannessen, Mike Grozelle and Richard Bradley running in Ward 1; and Pam Sayne and Stephen Hertel running in Ward 2. 

Two of the three councillor incumbents in Algonquin Highlands have been acclaimed, with Julia Shortreed to represent Ward 1 and Jennifer Dailloux to serve Ward 3. 

Two of Lisa Barry, Amber Meirik, Sabrina Richards and Napier Simpson will be elected to serve as Ward 2 councillor and councillor at large. In Highlands East Cam McKenzie (Ward 1), Cecil Ryall (Ward 3) and Ruth Strong (Ward 4) have all been acclaimed, with Janice Dahms and Angela Lewis competing for the seat in Ward 2. 

The 2022 municipal election will take place Oct. 24. Votes will be conducted in digital and telephone format in all four municipalities, with Minden Hills also offering in-person paper ballot voting.