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New Summerside city council sworn in Dec. 3

Mya Stewart listens to grandfather Mayor Basil Stewart explain the significance of the Chain of Office.
Mya Stewart listens as her, grandfather Mayor Basil Stewart, explains the significance of the Chain of Office. - Alison Jenkins

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.”

COMMITTEE APPOINTMENTS:

Economic Development

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

Electrical

Chairman Greg Campbell

Vice-chairwoman Norma McColeman

Technical Services

Chairman Justin Doiron

Vice-chairwoman Barb Ramsay

Municipal Services

Chairman Bruce MacDougall

Vice-chairman Cory Snow

Police, Fire and Emergency Planning

Chairwoman Barb Ramsay

Vice-chairman Greg Campbell

Finance

Chairwoman Norma McColeman

Vice-chairman Brian McFeely

Policy and Bylaw Review

Chairwoman Carrie Adams

Vice-chairman Justin Doiron and Vice-chairwoman Norma McColeman

Planning Board

Chairman Brian McFeely

Vice-chairwomen Barb Ramsay and Carrie Adams

Representative to the P.E.I. Federation of Municipalities

Mayor Basil Stewart


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