New South Glengarry mayor frowns on groupthink

South Glengarry Mayor Lachlan McDonald speaks to an audience at the Char-Lan Recreation Center in Williamstown on Monday, Nov. 14, 2022 during his inaugural address. McDonald is thankful voters allowed him to return to the township where he will make infrastructure a priority. (South Glengarry via Newswatch Group)

WILLIAMSTOWN – South Glengarry Mayor Lachlan McDonald says politicians will always have a difference of opinion – and that’s a good thing.

“The principles behind those opinions are the same. We’re all here wanting to do what our best is for our municipality and we’ll have cordial and civil disagreements and I want to have those,” McDonald said in his inaugural address Monday. “I don’t want this to be groupthink where we all get along. That does for our local council as well as council at the counties,”

The mayor says coming to “a great answer” because in “those little spices of life, whenever you’re having a difference of thought, you’ll find a better answer for the community.”

Reflecting on the campaign, McDonald says there was a lot of quiet support and loud support.

“The quiet support kind of brought me here and the loud support pulled me across the line,” he said.

He noted that he heard residents’ concerns while going door to door and says infrastructure planning will be at the forefront.

He also noted that protecting the environment will be another issue but admits he doesn’t have the answer and will look to others to come up with a solution. Finally, seniors want to spend their final years at home and that speaks to healthy communities and healthy homes plan.

McDonald joked about being a “least refined speaker,” having no political experience, and was also hopeful to work well with mayors-elect Justin Towndale from Cornwall and Bryan McGillis from South Stormont.

“I look forward to seeing where we can work together to save money or deliver better service and hopefully both on a few occasions,” he said.

In his conclusion, McDonald thanked the community for allowing him to return to South Glengarry, noting it was 10 months to the day on Monday since he left to work in the finance department in South Dundas.

“I’m just grateful and happy to have been given the opportunity to come back and I’m excited to get to work for you, with you and let’s get some stuff done.”

The first business meeting of the new council is Monday, Nov. 21.