New era beginning for Alberton council

Alberton council will sport a new look starting in December.
Gone will be Reeve John Milling and Coun. Bill Morrison, but two incumbents have been returned.
Reeve Milling went down to defeat at the hands of Mike Hammond, who garnered 153 votes Monday to Milling’s 90. Coun. Morrison, who originally had filed papers for reeve, later withdrew from the race for personal reasons.
While incumbents Mike Ford and Doug Mitchell were re-elected Monday to serve another three-year term on council, they actually finished third and fourth, respectively, behind newcomers Barb Cournoyer (198 votes) and Louis Collier (192).
Ford (172) and Mitchell (166) finished well ahead of Cheryl McCallum, the fifth candidate for council, who got 100 votes.
For Reeve Milling, the results were not a complete surprise—nor a cause for second-guessing.
“It didn’t totally surprise me,” he remarked. “Any time you throw your hat in the ring, you take a chance.”
Reeve Milling also said he felt there was a general sentiment for change and that accounted for his defeat. “I think it’s healthy. It’s a good day for democracy,” he added.
Reeve Milling said he has made no plans to change his lifestyle and intends to spend the additional time around the house.
“I’m finally going to get to clear my counters of all those papers and get some work done around the house,” he related. “Life’s going to go on.”
Milling had served one term as reeve, and the previous one on council, before Monday’s defeat.
For the new reeve, life has just gotten busier. Hammond said he suspected the result would be close and, like Milling, sensed the public was in the mood for a change.
“If you get the voters mad, they’re going to get you,” he observed, referring to the widespread sentiment throughout the province and beyond.
Hammond said he already has decided on his priorities for the new council. He noted the public is in no mood for lavish spending, but is more concerned with maintaining the way of life and improving it from within.
“This is a rural community and I want it to stay that way,” he stressed. “We should work on things that need fixing and keep it to that.”
Chief among those for Hammond, a former councillor, is Frog Creek Road in the north end of the township. For him, it has become a personal crusade.
“It’s a disgrace, it’s a hazard,” he charged. “That road was built for Model-Ts, not for heavy trucks, and it needs serious maintenance.”
That maintenance, he added, should come not only from the citizens of Alberton, but also from the people in the unorganized territory of Miscampbell and the Ministry of Transportation (MTO).
“For years they hauled gravel over that road to build Portage Avenue [in Fort Frances] and I think it’s time they put some back before we wind up with a lawsuit,” Hammond warned, referring to a fatal accident on Frog Creek Road last December.
“Two school buses use that road and it’s also an emergency route for fire trucks,” he noted. “The people who use it should help pay for it.”