The winds of change are blowing in Stanstead as Sylvie Boudreau and Jody Stone, both new to the municipal politics scene, go head-to-head for the vacant mayoral seat left behind by long time mayor Philip Dutil.
Dutil sat in the mayor’s seat for 12 years. He decided against running for a fourth term, opting instead to run for a position on the municipal council. Boudreau and Stone have ambitious plans to rejuvenate Stanstead, and make it a family destination for Quebecers.
“My main thing would be communication and reaching out to the population, to the citizens, to find out what they need and what we can do, as well as bringing new businesses in town, new investments, so the town can grow,” Boudreau said in an interview.
She told The Record that she is the type of person who wants to meet with every resident in Stanstead, She wants to sit down with her constituents on a monthly basis to zero in on important problems, and try to hammer out solutions in a timely manner.
Boudreau is a retired customs officer and dog handler, and she was also a business owner in Stanstead. She has lived in the town for 17 years. But despite the fact that many people know her in the area, she decided to go door-to-door to meet voters in person.
She discovered that residents are concerned about the lack of compost collection in the town. Boudreau said she is now looking into the feasibility of creating an eco-centre. Residents have also expressed concerns over drivers speeding in town and affordable housing.
“We have a problem with lodging. We have many buildings that are empty that could be apartments, so this is why it would be great to talk with the owners, go and get some investments, get a registry of all of the lodging that is available for people,” she said.
Boudreau added that it has been a perfectly amicable mayoral race with her opponent. Neither of them have attacked their livelihood, and they both seem to want what’s best for Stanstead. She has confidence going into election weekend, and she encourages everyone to vote.
“I’m running for the town, not against Jody. Jody has his own program and I think it’s going to be a tight race and I think it’s going to be good for the town. I think we’re two good candidates, so it’s going to be up to the people to decide what they want,” said Boudreau.
In an interview with The Record, Stone reiterated many of the same campaign themes as Boudreau. He wants to maintain an open dialogue with residents, develop a strategic plan to bring the community to life, and solve the deserted buildings problem.
“I guess my goals are to help find a solution to the empty buildings that we have down in the town and to bring life back to the downtown and I’d also like to see more activities for the whole community. I think a town that’s active is a town that is more alive,” said Stone.
He also plans to involve Stanstead more at the MRC level. Stone believes it’s important to communicate with the other mayors in the region to find solutions to issues such as access to health care services, transportation, and affordable housing.
“The other thing is a lot of people often say there is not a lot to do in our town. I’m talking mainly about families. The children don’t necessarily have a lot of activities, so if we want to be able to attract more families in the area we need to come up with more activities,” he said.
Stone believes that the town was in need of a new, younger mayor to offer a fresh perspective, and bring forward new ideas. It will take time, but he is committed to making Stanstead a more attractive place to live. And he wants every resident involved in the town’s transformation.
“I’m a very positive person, I try to do things in a very positive way, and I focus a lot on communication and collaboration, so I believe that people should talk more, and I believe that we should work closer together because obviously the mayor is not the all solution,” he said.
Stanstead (Town) - Municipal Election 2021
Councillor, Position 1
Paul Stuart (outgoing from this position)
Councillor, Position 2
Deborah Bishop (outgoing from this position) (elected by acclamation)
Councillor, Position 3
Sandra Harrison (elected by acclamation)
Hélène Hamel (outgoing from this position) (withdrew)
Councillor, Position 4
Michel Charles Chevalier
Gaetano Di Mauro
Philip Dutil (Outgoing from another position)
Councillor, Position 5
Councillor, Position 6