By Barry Wright and
No fewer than three and quite possibly four members of Lambton County Council hope to become Warden when councillors meet on Dec. 1.
Candidates for the top job include Steve Arnold, mayor of St. Clair Township. Arnold was acclaimed as mayor in the most recent local election.
A retired Nova Chemicals employee, Arnold has also farmed, pointing out his familiarity with agriculture issues that are important to county residents.
"What I can bring to the table is a balanced perspective, not only with agriculture, industry and day to day life, but with Lambton County as a whole," he said. "I've tried to attend as many events in all the different municipalities and I'm familiar with how those municipalities work. I've also been involved with the Lambton Farm Safety organization."
Arnold says he hopes as warden to see more open communications among the municipal level of government, and also to help oversee three significant ongoing projects: the development of Gallery Lambton, the affordable housing unit being built on the former Marshall Gowland Manor on London Road in Sarnia, and the expansion of the public health unit in Point Edward.
Arnold says he would also like to see the Lambton County Agricultural Hall of Fame get a permanent home.
A second declared candidate is current Warden Jim Burns, who was also acclaimed to his position as mayor of the Township of Enniskillen. Burns, who has been warden since first taking office in 2006 (he was 34 at the time, becoming the youngest ever to hold the office), was acclaimed to the position in 2007, becoming the first to serve a newly established two-year term of office. He was once again elected warden in 2008.
Burns told LambtonShield.com he believes he owes it to the county to complete unfinished fundraising work related to Lambton Gallery, although he has committed to seeing that through regardless of the warden election results.
Arnold and Burns are joined by John McCharles, mayor of Petrolia, who was also acclaimed. McCharles told LambtonShield.com he will "ensure that we provide the citizens of lambton with the quality of services they deserve and for which they pay."
McCharles points to his experience as mayor, a member of County Council for 10 years, a public utilities commissioner, a town councillor, and a public school board trustee.
An expected but as yet undeclared candidate for the position is Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley.