Don Halpenny is one of the new council members who will be representing Wolford ward for the next four years. Don has been a resident of Wolford for his whole life. Now retired, he operated a dairy farm for many years, which has now been passed on to his son and grandson. “My grandson is the fifth generation on the farm,” he says. While operating the farm he also had a job with the municipality as their Building Inspector, Law Enforcement and Animal Control officer.
Don has some council experience, having sat at the table from 2010-2014. He says he enjoys being on council, because he likes to represent residents and get things done. Early into this term, he hopes to find out where the municipality stands financially, when it comes to the recent investigations which have taken place into staff and other issues. He would also like to focus on lowering water rates for the residents of Merrickville, and bringing some community spirit back into the park in Eastons Corners. “It has ball diamonds, tennis courts and a covered rink in the winter,” he says. “It is not as well used as it could be.”
Don says that, while he understands there are certain things that cannot be talked about openly by council, communication has been lacking over the last term of council between the municipality and the public. He hopes to foster as much open dialogue between the two as possible over the next four years. “I am really looking forward to getting back to the council table,” he says.
Michael and his wife moved to Wolford from Kanata, as a step towards retirement, in 2008. For a while, he commuted into Ottawa for his job with OC Transpo, but he is now retired after an over 30-year career with the organization. Michael says that, while he has always dabbled in politics, he is no politician. He decided to put his name into the running for council because, after talking with several of the candidates, he did not agree with the direction they were taking. “I thought that maybe it was time to put my two cents in,” he says.
While he says he is not against development, he believes it should be focussed in Wolford, by building homes on the larger properties outside the Village core. “The more homes you have on a road, the cheaper it is to operate,” he says. Michael looks at roads as Wolford’s biggest asset and feels that keeping them maintained should be a priority for council, to ensure they are serving residents well. “I look at taxes the same way I look at a mortgage,” he says. “[Residents] should see some improvement from them.”
Michael also sees some opportunities for improvements at the landfill, regarding recycling and making sure they are doing the best they can for the environment. “There is lots of stuff we can be doing that would be better for mother earth,” he says.
Michael’s goal on council is to be progressive and help move the municipality forward. He believes strongly in open government and working together to achieve a cohesiveness and respect for one another. “We need to move forward in a positive direction, so the outcome benefits both Merrickville and Wolford”.
He is well aware that being a member of council is a part time job with a full-time commitment. He is very appreciative of all the support he received from residents during the election, and he hopes he can help make progress in the municipality during the next four years of council. “I hope to be an advocate for my friends, neighbours, and the municipality,” he says.