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Witherspoon to seek third term as mayor

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Mayor Glenn Witherspoon will seek a third term in November’s municipal election.

He said yesterday the challenge of the position, and the different results achieved, were what spurred him to file his nomination papers again.

And with the downloading of services by the province starting in January, he felt the challenges in the would be even greater in the term ahead.

"It’ll be my fifth term I’ll be seeking election," said Mayor Witherspoon, who served as a town councillor for two terms before being elected mayor in 1991 over Nick Wihnan and Aage Rude.

He won the job by acclamation in the 1994 election.

"I enjoy it. [And] council has worked very good together," he noted.

What isn’t known yet is whether Mayor Witherspoon will have any competition this time round. He admitted it probably would be good to have someone come forward but laughingly added that part of him hoped no one would.

But Dave Bourgeault, the only other person to have filed nomination papers for a seat on council here, felt if there wasn’t a mayoral race, there wouldn’t be much interest in the municipal election.

Bourgeault felt a mayoral race would help bring voters out to the polls. And with only 45-50 percent of eligible voters often turning out, he noted the town wouldn’t get a true indication of public sentiment on the proposed plebiscite questions.

"I think [a mayor’s race] would spur some interest in an election locally. That’s a big thing in a small town," he said this morning, adding it, in turn, would generate interest in the questions being put on the ballot.

"There’s not an awful lot of interest at this point."

Bourgeault decided last year he was going to seek a seat on council seat in an effort to "put his money where his mouth is," noting he has been critical of decisions councils have made in the past.

"I felt that I could offer something that hasn’t been there, or isn’t there," he remarked.

Despite the lack of candidates now, Glenn Treftlin, the town’s clerk and returning officer, was confident that would change by the time nominations close Oct. 10.

"We do pick up more closer to nomination day," he noted, adding the town was hosting an informational session Oct. 2 for those interested in seeking council seats.

But with all the downloading, he felt there’ll be a lot of second thoughts before people commit themselves to run.

Struchan Gilson also is considering running but said yesterday he hadn’t made a final decision.

Those filing must include a $100 fee, which will be returned if they earn two percent of the vote. Anyone acclaimed also will have that fee returned.

In related news, nomination papers for local school board trustees and the Public Utilities Commission aren’t coming in any faster.

Doug McCaig has filed for re-election to the PUC while Gord McBride has filed his intent to seek re-election to the public school board, which is merging with its Atikokan counterpart come Jan. 1.

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