After only three months away from politics, Peter Wagland, Lanark County’s former chief administrative officer, has decided to return to public life.
He will be seeking the North Elmsley ward seat left vacant after former Coun. Charlotte Reed died in August following a long battle with cancer. She had resigned her seat in July, having been first elected in 2010.
Wagland said that while he enjoyed “playing with family” over the summer, he is ready to take a stab at returning to politics.
“I have my wife’s full support,” he said. If elected, this will be Wagland’s first elected position, though he has served 42 years in public life. He admitted that during the last round of municipal elections, he was mulling a run for municipal office.
“It’s a two-year commitment and I would like to give back… because they (the township) have been so good to me and my wife (Wendy).”
Wagland came to Lanark County as CAO in 2003, and stated that while his job was always to provide professional advice to councilors, “I had to understand the political ramifications of my decisions” and the “nuance” that was required, even in un-elected politics.
“(Over the years) I looked around the (council) horseshoe and said ‘I admire what you do and how little you get paid and what you have to put up with,’” Wagland said during a telephone interview Monday, Oct. 1, after having made public his decision late last week. “I have a lot to offer.”
One of his priorities if elected will be “affordable and sustainable finances” for which he hopes to be able to draw upon his experiences as a treasurer and certified general accountant.
While he has had to put some of his volunteer activities aside since making public his intention to run, in the past he has been active locally with the United Way of Lanark County, serving on its executive and as a fundraiser. He was also involved with the Otty Lake Association, the Leeds Grenville Lanark Health Unit, Lanark County Housing Corporation, and the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation. As CAO, he said he was glad to have helped bring high-speed internet to the county, replaced the county’s fire communications system, expanded the ambulance service, and worked on the county’s official plan and transportation master plan.
The race is already getting crowded with candidates Muriel E. Hopper, Russell Foster and Ted Letts also joining in the fray. Letts also contested the October 2010 election in the same ward.
The election will be held on Monday, Nov. 19, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the North Elmsley Hall, 120 Station Rd., with advance polls open on Saturday, Nov. 10, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the township offices, 310 Port Elmsley Rd. Nominations are still open until tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 5) at 2 p.m. sharp at the Drummond/North Elmsley municipal offices. Nomination forms must be filed, either in person or by an agent, and there is a filing fee of $100.