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There were thoughts and prayers for a new generator
SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - This Summerside council term will be the last for the current Chain of Office worn by the mayor.
“It has lived its life,” said Summerside Kinsmen president Eric Ferrish.
The chain lists the town’s former commissioners and mayors since 1877. The current chain has been in use since 1962 and is now full.
The Bible that Justice Nancy Key held for the councillors taking their oaths Monday night was much older, but no plans were announced for its retirement.
“It was the first one they used at the first swearing in in 1867 for the first mayor and council,” said incoming mayor Basil Stewart.
“I was instructed not to drop it,” said Key. The good book appeared to be in pieces, the golden-brown leather cover barely attached to the spine.
The new city council was sworn in Monday, Dec. 3, beginning a new four-year term for the municipal government.
Council chambers were “filled right out to the rafters,” said Stewart. At least 100 people were in the audience, sitting, standing and even listening from the hallway.
Key shared a personal anecdote about nearly every councillor and many hugs were exchanged with the P.E.I. Supreme Court justice, clad for the occasion in black robes with satin maroon adornments.
Once the councillors were sworn in and the mayor was seated and wearing his chain of office, Stewart named Norma McColeman deputy mayor.
“It’s an honour. It’s a real honour,” she said.
McColeman has been on council continuously since amalgamation, with the exception of one term from 2010 to 2014.
Committee appointments were announced and distributed between new and returning councillors. Two new committees were formed by Stewart.
The Policy and Bylaw Review Committee will go over the city’s bylaws and policies and bring any needed discussion to council. Stewart also formed a Planning Board Committee.
“I believe we have a great group of councillors who can all do their jobs as chairs, no doubt in my mind,” said Stewart.
Pastor Andrew Bryce blessed the incoming council with an invocation that included a plea to the Lord for a new diesel generator.
With the laughter came one clear “boo” and several stoic faces in the crowd.
Replacement of the city’s aging backup generators has been a hot topic, especially after an Islandwide outage left much of the city in the dark last week. City staff circulated the limited electricity around the city a bit at a time. A third-party review of the best replacement option is expected this month.
“I think it was in there for a laugh, given all the storm stuff that just happened,” said first-time councillor Justin Doiron, who hasn't seen all the background information yet.
Returning representative Brian McFeely said the decision to invest such a large sum on a generator was not one he took lightly.
“In my opinion, I don’t think the previous council dismissed the generator, I think they just wanted to do a little more evaluation. I think we all recognize the need to build more capacity, it’s how we’ll build that capacity.”
McFeely was posing with a tiny grandson sitting on the council desk after the ceremony. He’s looking forward to continuing the work of the last council.
“I think it’s going to be a good council, four old ones and four new ones, with a little more gender equity. I think there’s an opportunity to do some good things,” said McFeely.
At three, the new council has the most women in Summerside council history.
More women will make for a nice balance, said McColeman, but she knows every term is unique.
“With every new council we’re certainly going to have to work together. Were really going to have to become cohesive and gel.”
Chairman Brian McFeely
Vice-chairman Justin Doiron
Human Resources, Legal and Culture
Chairwoman Carrie Adams
Vice-chairman Bruce MacDougall
Community Services and Recreation
Chairman Cory Snow
Vice-chairwoman Carrie Adams
Chairman Greg Campbell
Vice-chairwoman Norma McColeman
Chairman Justin Doiron
Vice-chairwoman Barb Ramsay
Chairman Bruce MacDougall
Vice-chairman Cory Snow
Police, Fire and Emergency Planning
Chairwoman Barb Ramsay
Vice-chairman Greg Campbell
Chairwoman Norma McColeman
Vice-chairman Brian McFeely
Policy and Bylaw Review
Chairwoman Carrie Adams
Vice-chairman Justin Doiron and Vice-chairwoman Norma McColeman
Chairman Brian McFeely
Vice-chairwomen Barb Ramsay and Carrie Adams
Representative to the P.E.I. Federation of Municipalities
Mayor Basil Stewart