New term of Council holds first meeting; Pridham named Deputy Mayor


  • Community   Wednesday, November 23, 2022   Spencer Seymour
Front row: Coun. Marg Luna, Mayor Al Strathdee Coun. Fern Pridham. Back Row: Couns. Rob Edney, Jim Craigmile, Dave Lucas, Brogan Aylward.


Front row: Coun. Marg Luna, Mayor Al Strathdee Coun. Fern Pridham. Back Row: Couns. Rob Edney, Jim Craigmile, Dave Lucas, Brogan Aylward.


By Spencer Seymour
Councillor Fern Pridham was unanimously approved by the St. Marys Town Council to serve a one-year term as Deputy Mayor at last Tuesday's first meeting of the new term of Council.
Pridham was one of four incumbent Councillors re-elected in this past October's municipal election after serving her first term of Council from 2018 to 2022. In accepting her nomination, Pridham said she was "honoured" to serve as the Deputy Mayor.
During the first meeting of the new Council, they were presented with letters from Perth-Wellington MP John Nater and Ontario's Minister of Affairs and Housing Steve Clark which were read aloud by Director of Building and Development Grant Brouwer and Director of Community Services Stephanie Ische. The correspondences both expressed congratulations and excitement to work with Mayor Al Strathdee and the members of the new Council.
The new Council also heard directly from the newly-elected Mayor of Stratford, Martin Ritsma, and the Minister of the St. Marys Presbyterian Church, Gwen Ament.
Ritsma conveyed a commitment to continuing to work with St. Marys and recognized the importance of the partnership between the two municipalities, a sentiment that was later echoed by Mayor Strathdee in his first remarks.
Following this, Ament gave a stirring greeting in which she reminded the local leaders of not only the great community they have been entrusted to guide forward but also some of the biggest challenges they are tasked with addressing.
"It takes people willing to look beyond the present, even if we consider our present to be pretty good," Ament said. "People committed to long-range planning. People thinking about what our needs are and what our needs might be."
"We all recognize that there are many challenges, not the least of which is COVID fatigue," Ament continued. "St. Marys faces portable, attainable housing challenges with limited availability of any affordable rental accommodation. Use of the food bank has increased and we've identified food insecurity as an emerging issue. And now, even the beginning of homelessness is being seen in our community."
In his opening remarks, the Mayor expressed gratitude for his and all of the Councillors' families for their support. He also thanked the Councillors for joining him in leading the Town forward.
"I never forget how blessed we are to live in this part of the world," Strathdee said, adding that the community we live in is a great one. "To the new term of Council, I thank you for serving and ask for your cooperation to work together in the best interests of the Town over the coming term."