Two more candidates entered the electoral fray in Woolwich just prior to the Sept. 10 close of the nomination period. Allan Poffenroth is running in Ward 1 and Douglas Nichols in Ward 3.
Poffenroth, who filed Sept. 9, joins the race against incumbent Ruby Weber and newcomers Jim David and Julie-Anne Herteis in the race for two seats in Elmira. Mary Young also entered her name to run for council, but has since withdrawn for personal reasons.
“I think we need a bit of change,” said Poffenroth of why he entered. “We’ve had a lot of the same people for many years, and I think we need a different slate, and newer, fresher ideas.”
His main concern is with the large number of vacant buildings in the downtown area of Elmira. He said council should be taking a bigger role in finding tenants for those buildings. The 63-year-old Elmira resident has sold real estate for the last 40 years, and has a keen interest in protecting the buildings of Elmira.
“Taking some lead in that on my part, I’d be interested in doing [that],” he explains.
He believes that the current council relies too much on outside consultants, which uses money that could be put to better use. Council has a tough time making the tough decisions, he said.
Poffenroth has even taken a stand on the proposed biogas facility here in town: “I think that council has to really tell the provincial government their feelings, and try and put some pressure to change the location. I think the idea is great, but the location isn’t.”
Poffenroth has lived in Elmira his entire life. He’s been a member of the Kiwanis Club for more than 30 years. He said he takes pride in the community, and that the councillors should do the same by planting more trees and funding more projects to improve the look of the town.
For Nichols, it was his concern for the safety of the groundwater in Ward 3 that made him decide to run. He joins in the race against longtime incumbent Murray Martin, and fellow Maryhill resident Bonnie Bryant.
“There doesn’t seem to be the initiative to protect the groundwater here,” he explained, “even though it’s designated a protected site, it doesn’t seem to be pursued in that kind of a manner.”
The 60-year-old mechanical engineer has lived in Maryhill for the past 10 years. He said he was attracted to the area because of Canada’s Technology Triangle and all of the shops.
But it is primarily the enormous growth in subdivisions and gravel pits in Ward 3 that have him concerned. He said that every project, no matter how big or small, needs to take into account the environmental impact before it is undertaken.
As a councillor, he would make the protection of groundwater resources in the area his top priority.
“I feel that either the planning or the engineering have to be looked at and scrutinized much closer, so if these projects that are developed in Ward 3 – which are good for the whole township and help the tax base – do not burden the people in Ward 3.”
If elected, Nichols said he would act as the voice of the people of Ward 3. “A method of consensus will be developed so that I will know the will of the people.”
Nichols grew up in the town of Lincoln on a fruit farm. He’s married, with one son. He moved to Maryhill after selling his business in Chatham in 2000. He is a mechanical technologist as well as a journeyman tool and die maker, and is in the process of patenting a new product.
Other races include incumbent Mark Bauman and Eric Schwindt in Ward 2. For the mayor’s position, Bill Strauss faces challenges from Todd Cowan and Pat McLean.