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Niagara Falls
Monday, March 20, 2023
Election 2022: Councillors say they are eager to hit the ground running
Gary Burroughs waits patiently for the election results to come in. Evan Loree

People cheered as re-elected Coun. Erwin Wiens walked into the Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Centre auditorium Monday night with his wife, Dorothy Soo-Wiens. 

He received a total of 4,978 votes, finishing on top and will be deputy lord mayor.  

“I did not anticipate having the result to have almost 5,000 votes,” said Wiens. 

He said he was proud of his campaign, which consists of just himself and his wife.

“I’m beyond grateful for the trust that people have (in us),” Soo-Wiens said through tears. 

“The town put a lot of trust in us,” her husband agreed.

Wiens and other newly elected councillors said they are looking forward to hitting the ground running.

Agriculture, the town’s official plan and a formal tourism strategy will be some of his main focuses, Wiens said. 

He wants to improve communication, clean up litigation and set key priorities for the town. 

Because, “if everything’s a priority, nothing’s a priority,” he said.

Gary Burroughs followed Wiens, receiving 4,273 votes. This is his eighth election and he said he’s ready to continue giving it his all.

“The biggest thing is still all transportation and tourism,” he said. 

Communication with residents, staff and media are also important, he said.

So is development. “One of the main goals is streetscape,” he said.

“Whatever you’re planning to build, either an individual or a bunch of houses, it has to fit what the street looks like,” he added.

It doesn’t have to be exact, but it shouldn’t be a huge home amid a bunch of bungalows, he said. 

Wendy Cheropita followed with 3,774 votes, Tim Balasiuk with 3,742 and Sandra O’Connor with 3,391. 

“I think the residents have spoken,” said Cheropita.

“What they’ve said is that ‘We want new leadership.’ That’s very clear,” she added.

She said she’s looking forward to working with the new council and with the new lord mayor. But first, she’s wants some much-needed down time after two  months of campaigning.

On Monday night at the community centre, as O’Connor walked closer to the big screen to view the results, people came up to congratulate her. 

“I feel good that I’ll be able to continue some of the platform issues that I said I would,” she said.

That includes environment, health care and development issues, she said. 

“There were some good people who didn’t get on that I thought deserved it, or did a lot of work for the town,” she said. 

“But I’m going to work with everybody. That’s my motto,” she said. 

Former NOTL fire chief Nick Ruller finished behind O’Connor with 3,318 votes, followed by Adriana Cater Vizzari with 3,152 and Maria Mavridis with 2,897. 

It was a close call between Mavridis and incumbent Allan Bisback, but in the end Bisback lost the final council seat by 66 votes.

“I’m hoping to get started and gather information (to) see where we’re at as a council and as a town,” said Mavridis.

“And then, of course, you know, I’d love to begin and get into the tourism strategy and the master transportation plan,” she added.

New Lord Mayor Gary Zalepa and council take office on Nov. 15 and their inauguration is Nov. 22.

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