By Abby E. Schachter
Municipal elections are in a few days (Nov. 3) and Kirkland residents have three mayoral candidates to choose from. There is longtime Councillor Michel Gibson, current Mayor John Meaney and newcomer Daniel La Tour.
La Tour jumped into the race in what local media has deemed the ‘eleventh hour.’ However, La Tour says his decision to run was anything but last minute. The Eastern Ontario native told The Suburban that it had been on his mind for some time now, adding that he had been actively involved within the Kirkland community since he moved here in 1997. Though La Tour does admit that the cross pipe issue back in 2011-2012 did prompt him to run for mayor.
La Tour is a self-proclaimed environmentalist who wants to do ‘what is right’ and put an end to what he has termed a history of inaction. According to La Tour, raw sewage being dumped into public waterways is an ongoing issue severely affecting the quality of life among Kirkland residents. He says that he will do his best to salvage waning resources and actively listen to public opinion by holding open city council meetings if voted in as mayor.
Meanwhile, Michel Gibson who has been working as a city councillor for 22 years was the first candidate to announce that he would be running for mayor. He also claims that he was the first to speak up in regards to the cross pipe issue. Gibson believes that one of the reasons he would be better suited for the role of mayor is because the cross pipe situation was handled so poorly. Although he worked alongside current Mayor John Meaney at the time; Gibson says that unlike Meaney he has learned from these past mistakes. Gibson’s platform focuses on change and enhancing public security by introducing a neighborhood watch, reducing the amount of traffic and executing a street repaving program.
Incumbent Mayor John Meaney is not fazed by his opponents or their accusations of not being transparent enough and ‘too old.’ The 74-year-old Meaney is one of the longest serving mayors of Kirkland. When asked about the age remarks, Meaney said age has little to do with competency. “That whole age thing… it is a low blow. Why should age matter? I did have open heart surgery three years ago but that was three years ago! I am as healthy as a horse now.”
The cross pipe issue definitely created a lot of tension and is the suspected reason as to why he has been accused of losing support among residents. Meaney however says that these allegations are untrue and that the Kirkland Citizens Association (KCA) are to blame for these planted rumours. Meaney says that the KCA website is made up entirely of people who had cross sewage pipe issues and that he does not consider them a reliable source. “There are about 24 of them (members) who make up the site, and they do not represent the people of Kirkland.”
The KCA page asked candidates to send in their political platforms so that voters could read up on the contenders. John Meaney was the only one who did not respond to the request. As a result the KCA wrote an irate blog calling out Meaney’s ‘inaction’ to do so. Meaney admitted to The Suburban that he did refuse to submit his political platform to the website because he did not want to entice them. “As far as I am concerned they do not represent Kirkland residents. I had no intention of giving them any credibility.”
Kirkland residents can find out their voting/district information via the Town of Kirkland website.
Elections take place Sunday, Nov. 3.
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