The winds of change blew through Woolwich following Monday night’s election, ushering in three new councillors and a new mayor. One incumbent, however, managed to hold on to his seat around the chamber table for the next four years: Mark Bauman in Ward 2.
Bauman won his fourth consecutive term in office after taking 60.5 per cent of the votes against political newcomer Eric Schwindt, who captured 39.5 per cent of the votes. After being acclaimed in the last three elections, Bauman said the fact he was elected by a clear majority in this election shows he is getting the job done in Ward 2.
“This, for me, is an affirmation of what I’ve done. I’ve been vocal and I’m willing to stand up for the issues that I believe strongly in.”
As the only returning member of Woolwich council, however, Bauman doesn’t want to be viewed as the councillor to take everyone else under his wing and lead the way.
“People have said ‘oh, you’ll have to show them the ropes,’ but I think they’re all adults. I think that people are looking for new and fresh ideas, and I think we all need to explore those ideas and see where we go with them.”
Schwindt was running on a platform of greater fiscal responsibility and managing growth. He said he had a very positive experience in his first run for political office, and learning a little more about the political process.
“Obviously I’m disappointed with the results,” Schwindt said, “but it was a new experience for me and I enjoyed what I learned and having discussions about the issues. I know Mark is going to do a good job for Woolwich, and I know the rest of the councillors are going to work hard as well.”
Despite the positive experience, Schwindt couldn’t say whether or not he planned to run again in the next election.
“I wouldn’t say yes, I wouldn’t say no. We’ll see what happens in four years and what the issues are then.”
Bauman was grateful for the challenge from Schwindt, and believes it brought out the best in all the candidates.
“I got to know him (Eric) through a few debates, and I respect him highly. He brought a lot of credible ideas to the table. It allowed me to step up and defend myself and my 10 years of service to the community.”
For Bauman, one of the most pressing issues in his next term will be the continued preservation of greenbelt farmland throughout Woolwich Township, but in Ward 2 in particular.
“We still have some farmland between Waterloo and Woolwich, and I think that sets Woolwich apart. It’s an important thing we need to protect: our farmland, and our farming heritage.
“Just continuing to sprawl will not do anybody any good. It will just encourage more traffic, and discourage rapid transit.”