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Town of Souris welcomes new mayor

Town of Souris, P.E.I.
Town of Souris, P.E.I. - Contributed

JoAnne Dunphy was named new leader


Dunphy won Monday's byelection handily with 258 votes against opponents Shane Clements and Charles McLean.Former deputy mayor JoAnne Dunphy is now mayor of the Town of Souris.

Shelley LaVie, Souris' chief administrative officer (CAO), said if Dunphy is successful in her bid for mayor, a new byelection will be called to replace her position, hopefully before the new year.

Souris Mayor JoAnne Dunphy
Souris Mayor JoAnne Dunphy

This byelection was called after Stephen O’Brien decided to step down as mayor because of his rectal cancer diagnosis that came earlier this year.

“I had a great council to work with and we had some great projects for sure,” said O’Brien.

Coincidentally, the byelection falls on O'Brien's birthday, Nov. 18.

O’Brien said the two major projects that mark his two-year term as mayor are getting funding for the replacement of the waste treatment facility and getting funding for more affordable housing for seniors and the greater community.

O’Brien said he wished he could have held his office longer but felt the many appointments he had to keep for his own health would get in the way of his mayoral duties to the residents of Souris.

“If you are going to be mayor, you got to do it right,” he said.

O’Brien, who had finished 25 chemotherapy and radiation treatments, said he was feeling well, and the next step will be major abdominal surgery, which will assess the extent of the tumour in his system and whether he will require more treatment.

He estimates he will be off his feet for about six weeks after the surgery.

But luckily, O’Brien was able to catch the cancer early as a part of his regular two-year screen.

“The experience definitely emphasizes the importance of getting screened regularly,” he said.

“I’ve been lucky to always had good health. Strong as a horse and I am lucky I had a lot of family and community support.”

O’Brien said he will try to remain as active as possible within the community of Souris, and will be following municipal politics and offer whatever help he can for the town.

“It was the right thing to do to step aside, for the council and for myself,” he said

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