Approximately 50 residents took advantage of the candidates’ Meet and Greet evening held at the Opeongo Seniors Centre on October 4. The event was co-sponsored by the Opeongo Seniors and The Current. Opeongo Seniors President Leah Kinghorn said the event was to allow voters to meet any candidate in person and ask them questions, one-on-one, in an informal setting. Each of the eight candidates was provided with a table so they could display their campaign literature and materials. Shown above Mayor Kim Love (at door) and Councillor Shelley Maika (far right) speak with residents.
Conversations continued for some time. Kinghorn deliberately had not publicized a specific finish time, saying she did not want people to feel pressured. The Opeongo Seniors and The Current provided refreshments for those patiently waiting to speak to candidates.
From left: David Shulist and Mark Willmer listen to residents’ concerns.
The Current spoke to a number of residents during the evening, some of whom were cottagers who made the effort to drive several hours to attend on a week night. Several attendees just wanted to meet certain candidates in person for the first time. A substantial number of residents arrived with specific questions for specific candidates on issues ranging from roads and garbage to budgets and governance. Several candidates busily took notes as they listened to residents’ concerns. However, anyone wanting to speak to Ernie Peplinski was disappointed. Peplinski, although first to confirm his intention to attend, did not turn up. Instead his sister, Rita McLean, was there and told some residents that he refused to attend because The Current was co-sponsoring the event. All other candidates were present.
Many of the residents at the Meet and Greet said they also plan to attend the All Candidates Meeting organized by the Madawaska Valley Public Library at the Barry’s Bay Legion on Thursday, October 11 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.