Orillia voters reject all incumbents
By Dave Dawson Orillia Packet & Times
For the first time in recent memory — perhaps ever — not a single incumbent was re-elected to Orillia city council.
“I think it’s a reflection of the angst the last council created in our community,” Ted Emond, a former mayor who was elected to council in Ward 1, said Monday night. “I think the lack of decorum, the lack of civility, the fact it was divided down the centre on so many issues … People said they didn’t want that.”
And while voter turnout was lower than in 2010, the appetite for change was hearty once again as the 2014-18 edition of council will feature nine people who weren’t around the council table the past four years.
The biggest surprise may have come in Ward 3, where a pair of veteran councillors — Paul Spears and Michael Fogarty — both found themselves short of votes.
Before the last poll was reported at the Orillia City Centre, Spears, while still holding out hope for a late surge, said he was surprised by the results.
“The people that I talked to that knew me said I was a shoo-in,” said Spears. “But coming in, I kind of was, ‘Que sera, sera; we’ll see what happens’ … but everyone I talked to said Fogarty and I were shoo-ins.”
Tony Madden and Andrew Hill also failed to retain their seats in Ward 4, while incumbent Pete Bowen fell short in Ward 2 and Wayne Gardy missed re-election in Ward 1.
“I think people voted for change (in 2010) and we didn’t get the kind of change we wanted, so we’re going to try it again,” said Emond, who was enticed back into municipal politics because of the lack of civility and progress over the past term of council. “What’s interesting is I think we got a much better group of candidates this time. For the first time under the ward system, we actually had real choice in every single ward. The electorate has made its choice.