WILLIAMSTOWN – After one term as councillor, Lyle Warden feels the timing is right to seek the deputy mayor position in South Glengarry.
“I have a record to run on now and feel that I’ve made sound decisions on behalf of the residents of South Glengarry,” Warden said in an interview with Cornwall Newswatch.
He filed his papers two weeks ago.
“I’m at a place in my career where I’m able to give the extra time required to be on counties council. The real estate business is flexible for that and I feel that I’ve learned so much in the last four years that I’m in a comfortable place where I feel that I would be able to properly represent the South Glengarry residents at the counties table,” Warden said.
The 37-year-old from the Williamstown area (Glen Road) is an agent with Glengarry Real Estate Brokerage.
“There would be very few calls or emails that I haven’t returned over the years. I’ve gone out of my way to ensure that I call back as many residents as possible on issues,” he said. Starting in the family business, pumping gas at 12 years old, “I like people. I like listening to their problems and trying to be part of the solution.”
Asked whether he had considered the risk of running for deputy mayor, compared to council where he would be in, if he garnered the most votes of the top three candidates, Warden said that didn’t weigh in to his decision. “I’m very confident that I’ve done a very good job at representing the residents and the timing feels right.” He says he’s in a “good place” both personally and professionally.
If elected deputy mayor, a main goal for Warden is to advance development at the Cornwall Regional Airport and he would like to be chairman of the airport board.
One of the bigger issues with South Glengarry has been its public relations, specifically when it comes to development and building permits. Warden feels there is always work to do to improve customer service.
“I feel that we can always do better. We have a great staff and I feel that everybody can improve, myself included. I think if we’re not learning something new and not changing our ways, we are potentially being left behind,” he said. “If it’s something that we’ve always done a certain way, is it potentially the best way to do things?”
Warden stands by his decision with the majority of council on the water rate increases for the three South Glengarry villages and one subdivision. “It’s a matter I take very seriously.” He says the province has mandated that municipalities have an asset management plan and reserve funds for waterworks in the villages, especially Lancaster, are “way underfunded. I don’t take it lightly. I realize it’s going to be burdensome for some residents. But it’s a necessary evil, if you will, to put us in a better position in the future.”
“It’s a softer blow this way than it is to come back in five or six years with a $1,200-1,500 potential debenture per household if there’s a major event that happens on our system. Again, I realize it’s a sizable jump and over the last couple of years it’s been a real whopper but the fact of the matter is, once these increases are in place, according to our treasurer, moving forward we should be in line with the cost of living (increases) after that.”
“We’re taking leadership on this file as far as I’m concerned. It’s going to be a painful pill to swallow at this moment but moving on into the future, we feel you’re going to be in a better position,” Warden said.
With less than two weeks to go for candidates to sign up, Warden is facing one challenger – Jacqueline Milner of Summerstown.
Nominations close July 27. Election Day is Oct. 22.