Councillor Steve Fournier (Drummond/North Elmsley Reeve) was sworn in as Lanark County’s 2024 Warden at the inaugural meeting on Tuesday afternoon.
Fournier was nominated by Councillors John Matheson (Drummond/North Elmsley Deputy Reeve) and Ed McPherson (Perth Deputy Mayor). He highlighted his familiarity with the community as a key strength, having lived in Lanark County his entire life. He has been involved in politics for 10 years in Drummond/North Elmsley Township – six (6) years as Reeve and four (4) as Councillor. He notes his experience recruiting senior management staff and supporting the development of the new Ferguson’s Falls Hall in his township, as well as spearheading the “Let’s Remember Adam Stop for the School Bus” campaign on Highway 43.
“I have 36 years of service with the Town of Perth and know what local government faces on both sides of the table,” he said. “I will work in the team environment to continue to build on the many strengths and achievements that have been realized by Council.”
Issues he would like to address during his term as Warden include making improvements in the Planning Department, with broadband and cellular connectivity, continued lobbying for grant funding, promoting economic development initiatives, continuing to work on the construction of housing stock and the redevelopment of Lanark Lodge. “I want to see us hold the line on the budget, which is key to taxpayers.”
Fournier highlighted homelessness and affordability as the number one (1) priority for the county and said looking for savings in the budget is an approach to explore amid the rising cost of living in the community. He said he will continue to support increasing housing stock and exploring new initiatives with builders to create affordable housing. He added that continued support for hospitals is another key issue.
In his outgoing remarks, Past Warden Peter McLaren (Lanark Highlands Reeve) said the past year has been a very good one (1) and acknowledged the large number of new Councillors around the table when the term began last year. “We set a few milestones through the course of the year,” he said, noting the ripple effect throughout the province when Lanark County Council declared intimate partner violence an epidemic, as well as the important impact he has seen when people have been assisted through the Renovate Lanark program. “We have made advances with housing. This was a really good year and I’m looking forward to next year.”
Committee Chairpersons were approved at the meeting as well, including Councillor Peter McLaren (Lanark Highlands Reeve) for Corporate Services, Councillor Christa Lowry (Mississippi Mills Mayor)
for Community Services, Councillor Richard Kidd (Beckwith Reeve) for Economic Development and Councillor Toby Randell (Carleton Place Mayor) for Public Works. Fournier also named a Striking Committee, which appoints members to various committees and boards. Council reconvenes on Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. for its regular meeting.