Masset’s mayor-to-be Merilees astonished, disappointed

  • Oct. 17, 2011 1:00 p.m.

Andrew Merilees was astonished Friday afternoon when he found out that he was the only candidate running to be the mayor of Masset – and, he admits, a tiny bit disappointed. He had been giving lots of thought to his election platform, planning a full-on campaign where he would explain to the residents of Masset all the reasons they should vote for him. Mr. Merilees said he’d been envisioning the campaign so vividly, he hadn’t even imagined an outcome where there was only one candidate. Now, there will be no campaign, no debates – just a smooth transition into the mayor’s office when the new council is sworn in this December. “I am a little disappointed,” he said, with a laugh. “I was looking forward to campaigning.” Mr. Merilees said that as mayor, he wants to encourage more dialogue with the community, and see more residents participating in the life of the village. He said he has lots of ideas about how to go about this, but wants to run them by the new council before going ahead. Another big issue is that state of Masset’s downtown, he said. The village has some issues stemming from the economic downturn that’s been going on for the past several years, he said, and he believes something can be done to fix it up. That includes the former military facilities, the group of rundown, empty buildings that dominates the centre of Masset. Another plank in his platform is the airport, a big economic generator for the community that deserves close attention. The village has put together reserve funds and grant money to come up with $2-million to build a new terminal building at the airport, but so far the project has been controversial, with the proposed design generating much public comment and complaint. Mr. Merilees will be the mayor who oversees this project to completion. Mr. Merilees, who works as the parks coordinator the Old Massett Village Council and runs a small seasonal tour company, said he got his start in politics as president of the student council at elementary school. A resident of Masset since 1999, he was first elected as a councillor in a 2007 by-election, and was elected again in 2008. He said he has enjoyed being on council, loves living in Masset, and wants to contribute to the village. “It’s good to give back to the community,” he said. “Masset is an incredibly beautiful place.” Mr. Merilees will be Masset’s first new mayor in more than 10 years. The current mayor, Barry Pages, is running as a candidate for a councillor position this time around. “I’ve learned a lot from Barry and I’m thrilled that he’s decided to keep his name forward for council,” Mr. Merilees said. “I’m hoping I’ll be able to do as well as he did.” There are seven candidates running for the four councillor positions in Masset:. Mr. Pages, a councillor from 1993 until 2000 and mayor since 2001;. Ian Edwards, who has been on council since the last election in 2008;. Lisa Edwards, who is married to Ian Edwards – it’s unusual to see a husband and wife running in the same election;. Karen Church;. Natanis Hageman;. Bret Johnston;. and Jason Thompson.

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