Moving up from his role as a councillor, Ross Donaldson was elected the new reeve for La Vallee Township on Monday.
“I’m pretty happy about it—I’m excited to have the council we got, too,” Donaldson said yesterday morning after the votes were counted.
“I think they’re a good bunch and we’ll be able to work together,” he added.
With 177 votes, Donaldson beat former reeve Kenneth McKinnon, who garnered 127.
Incumbent Emily Watson had chosen not to seek re-election.
Meanwhile, re-elected to La Vallee council were incumbents Jim Belluz and Freeda Carmody with 165 and 159 votes, respectively.
Newcomers Dennis Allen (176) and Donald (Darcy) Robson (140) were elected to the other two seats.
But it was a close battle for the fourth seat on council as Harold Kellar, incumbent Lucille MacDonald, and Dale Stamarski finished with 134, 134, and 132 votes, respectively.
Brian Trimble was well back with 48 votes.
“I’d like to thank all of the people that ran,” said Donaldson. “I think it shows a commitment in our community, that we’re interested and we believe that something can be done.
“I think that’s really important that we have that democratic process.”
Donaldson conceded it will be “a challenge” to make the jump from councillor to reeve.
“There’s a lot of things to learn, a lot more work to do, I think, as reeve,” he remarked.
“Probably a bigger time commitment.
“But I’m prepared for that,” he vowed. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Donaldson said the next step for the new council will be to familiarize themselves with the work that needs to be done.
“Budgeting, for me, is a big issue—the dollars, and things like the [Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board],” he noted.
“I’ve said it before in my statements that that’s one of my big focuses for us.”
As well, the township is in need of new road equipment, so council will have to be looking into that, he added.
“[But] no big exciting projects on the go,” Donaldson said.
“Just the status quo and getting . . . our new councillors up to speed on what’s going on, and being able to maintain the good working relationship we’ve had with staff,” he remarked.