A trio of outgoing council members-mayor Gord Schermerhorn and councillors Mike Schenk and Roger Cole, were recognized during Tuesday’s council meeting, which represented the penultimate meeting for the long serving members.
“Mike Schenk has served on all but one term of council since amalgamation and served former Adolphustown both locally and on county council,” said Schermerhorn of the Ward 1 councillor. “Mike has been a long advocate of agricultural issues and a vocal member when he sees something that he believes is wrong.”
A special presentation, which included a photo of his grandchild, was made to Schenk and his wife Lorna.
“I have faith the new council is going to do a great job and lead us to the right place,” said Schenk, who is not running in the upcoming municipal election. “It’s just been an honour. Have we done everything 100 per cent right? No, nobody’s perfect. But we always had our heart in the best place.”
Schenk also thanked the town staff for all their years of working together.
“Roger Cole has also served all but one term of Greater Napanee council since amalgamation and served on the former Richmond council where I really got to know him and served on Deseronto council before that,” Schermerhorn noted of the Ward 3 councillor and former Greater Napanee deputy mayor. “Roger has been an advocate for common sense and making sure that tax money is only spent on services we need.”
Cole, a former school teacher, also sat on the Conservation Authority board.
“It’s been a pleasure over the years,” said Cole. “We’ve had our differences over the years but we were always here for good things for Greater Napanee.”
Cole, alongside his wife Marilyn, was presented with an engraved clock. Schermerhorn noted that Cole was actually presented the same clock earlier in his career when the town mistakenly thought he had served 10 years on council when in fact in had only been nine. Schermerhorn joked they took the clock back and were re-gifting it for this occasion.
“I’m going to not only miss council members, but staff,” said Cole. “We have a wonderful group of people. Hard working, knowledgeable. They may not miss me.”
Deputy mayor Marg Isbester then made a special presentation to the outgoing mayor, which included a short video.
“He definitely did things Gord’s way,” said Isbester. “To help people of this community while never wanting people to know what he did. Not a great policy during an election, but certainly a long lasting legacy as he retires from politics to make this community greater for many reasons.”
Schermerhorn was joined by his wife Karen, who quickly reminded him they had been married for 46 years, not 45 as he mistakenly told the town hall audience.
“It wasn’t only home, but it’s where Karen and I have grown our two children,” the mayor said of Greater Napanee and a place we are very proud of.”
Schermerhorn was first elected as mayor in 2003 and was re-elected three straight times after that. He also served a reeve and deputy reeve of Richmond Township through the early 1990s before becoming deputy reeve of Greater Napanee in 1997. He also served as warden of the County of Lennox and Addington in 1998, ‘99, 2008, ‘09 and ‘14.
He says among the accomplishments he’s most proud of is the many compliments he receives on the downtown revitalization.
“It made me feel good the town is looking so good,” said Schermerhorn. “People talk about taxes and I say to them at election time people can talk about taxes being too high. We got proof that we’re not too high, we’re in the middle. When I hear candidates say we’re going to do something about taxes, I don’t like paying taxes either but if we want the roads to be upgraded and looking nice, we have to pay for it.”