Council approves Gibbard District re-zoning, departing councillors, mayor bid farewell

Adam Prudhomme
Beaver Staff

Greater Napanee mayor Gord Schermerhorn presided over his final council meeting on Tuesday as the current council met for the final time of their term.

Though not originally scheduled as the final meeting, council voted to cancel the Nov. 27 meeting due to a lack of a agenda.

Fittingly one of Schermerhorn’s final acts as mayor was to oversee the approval of the official plan amendment and zoning by-law amendment for his former place of work, the Gibbard Furniture building. The approval officially re-zones 88 Dundas Street E to allow commercial and residential uses.

“I think it will be a great when that project gets underway,” said Schermerhorn. “I drive by there quite often and what a nice project it’s going to be for the downtown and the municipality.”

-Being the last meeting of the current council, it was also a chance for the departing members to reflect on their time around the horseshoe. When council resumes in December it will feature five new faces with only current deputy mayor Marg Isbester, who graduates to mayor, and councillor Max Kaiser, who shifts to deputy mayor, returning.

“I wanted to say how proud and honoured I am to have been your council representative for these past number of years,” said Ward 3 councillor Roger Cole. “To say I will miss being that individual would be greatly understated. It has been a significant part of our lives.”

Cole went on to thank Schermerhorn, council and town staff for their support over the years.

“My first term of council started in 1988, my first vote when mayor Seale was in the chair was about the OPP,” recalled Ward 5 councillor Shaune Lucas. “It was a 5-4 vote to go to the OPP from Napanee Police. Somethings never change for sure. I’ve always tried to do my best to represent the public and I hope to hear from the new council going forward lively and full debates.”

Lucas also offered a bit of advice for the incoming members, who were in the town hall audience.

“You can never go wrong being affirmative in a position that you strongly believe and to ask questions or to ask for clarity on an issue that you’re not sure of,” said Lucas. “I trust councillor Kaiser and deputy mayor Isbester will give good leadership.”

Ward 1 councillor Mike Schenk also offered a bit of parting wisdom to the incoming council.

“It has been an honour and a privilege,” said Schenk. “I have faith in the new council is going to do a great job. As long as you don’t look at the names, just look at the facts, keep it fair, be honest. Whether it’s right or wrong, if you’re not sure, table it. I think you guys are going to do a great job.”

Schermerhorn closed out the meeting by reflecting on his 15 years in the mayor’s seat.

“We ran on the slogan we’re open for business, and I think we’ve done that over the last 15 years,” said Schermerhorn. “I hope council is still open for business. We have to grow and bring new assessment to this municipality. I hope that continues.”

The inaugural meeting for the next term of council, which will feature Isbester as mayor, is set for Dec. 4 at 7 p.m.

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