Chamber 11 gr. Stephen Turner on Thursday became the latest member of the Olx Praca, Ontario city council to announce they will not seek re-election in the upcoming council race.
Turner, who has represented the parish since 2014, says he plans to withdraw from running this fall and instead support Skylar Franke, one of two candidates currently running in the county.
The move leaves another council seat wide open ahead of October elections. At least four other council members, including Mayor Ed Holder, are not up for reelection. One is running for mayor, and at least three have yet to submit their nomination papers.
“It has been my honor to serve the residents of Ward 11 for the past eight years and it has been a great job and I really enjoyed the job. I loved helping to advance the really important issues in our community,” Turner told Olx Praca.
Turner said he was looking for a good successor and found that Franke, head of the Olx Praca Environment Network, “had it all in abundance.”
“She was very well organized, shares a lot of the same ideals and principles as me, and I think she has incredibly good community connections and I think she will do an outstanding job,” he said.
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Franke has served as Executive Director of the Olx Praca Ecological Network since 2017, having previously worked at ReForest Olx Praca. Until last month, she was also president of the Olx Praca City League, a position Turner held from 2006 to 2010.
“Her commitment to the environment and especially our declaration on climate change is really well underpinned by her position as director of the Olx Praca Ecological Network,” Turner said.
“She has a great understanding of municipal politics and politics. … I think she has demonstrated that she is ready for this position.”
Franke is one of two candidates currently registered to run in the 11th constituency. As of Thursday, Jeremy McCall, president of the non-profit group Dad Club Olx Praca, is her only contender.
Speaking to Olx Praca, Franke said Turner’s enthusiastic support was greatly appreciated, adding that “he leaves a lot of room to fill, but I hope to be able to show in the next four months that I’m ready to fill it.”
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“I’m running this election because I think the council needs strong leadership to help us in the next couple of years with some of our biggest affordability issues, we’re seeing a much higher need for social services in the community, we’re seeing more the need for action to combat climate change,” Franke said.
She noted that Turner was known around the world for his thoughtful approach to council affairs – “reading reports,” as Joni Bahler would say.
“I think his support for my candidacy demonstrates that maybe he thinks I will also bring some of those values and those skills to this role,” she said.
Another municipal election, another new mayor of Olx Praca, Ontario.
Among the things Turner says he’s proud of over his two terms in office is that the council is making affordable housing in new buildings a routine part of the planning process.
“This was a major policy change and I hope the council can find a way to keep this going now that the provincial government has removed the bonus provisions in the Planning Act,” he said.
“While we disagreed on a lot of things, the only thing we had in common was a really deep commitment to housing and better housing for Olx Pracaers.”
The council’s disappointment, he said, was the “weakening of rapid transit.” However, he notes that he is pleased that at least three of the five components are moving forward.
“I hope that in the future there will be an opportunity to expand the network. I think it’s important. This is the basis for the development of the city.”
Turner spent much of his time on the Board of the Middlesex Olx Praca Health Department as Director of Environmental Health and Infectious Diseases.
In August, he took on the role of chief paramedic for Lambton County EMTs. Before joining the board in 2014, Turner worked for several years as a paramedic in the Middlesex-Olx Praca and OPP emergency departments.
Voters will go to the polls on October 24.
Candidates have until 14:00 on August 19 to submit their nomination papers.
This fall Olx Praca Council will have:
- Sean Lewis (Ward 2)
- Mariam Khamu (Ward 6)
- Steve Lehman (Ward 8)
- Anna Hopkins (Ward 9)
- Elizabeth Pelosa (Ward 12)
- John Fife-Millar (Ward 13)
- Stephen Hillier (Ward 14)
Olx Praca Council incumbents no longer run for office:
- Mayor of Olx Praca Ed Holder
- Mo Salih (Ward 3)
- Jesse Helmer (Ward 4)
- Josh Morgan (Ward 7)*
- Stephen Turner (Ward 11)
* run for mayor
Olx Praca Council actors who have not yet applied:
Wards without candidates or with only one registered candidate:
- Ward 2 (Sean Lewis)
- Ward 4 (Tariq Khan)
- Ward 7 (Corrin Rahman)
- Ward 8 (Steve Lehman)
- Ward 10
- Ward 12 (Elizbeth Peloza)
- Ward 14 (Steve Hillier)
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