The political landscape in the township of Alnwick/Haldimand is becoming very interesting, very quickly as preparation are underway for the 2010 municipal elections.
After decades of crushing dominance by former reeve/mayor Bill Finley, he has stepped down, leaving a massive vacuum for the top spot. The trickle down effect is also leaving some big holes to fill on council, so everything is quiet fluid.
One-term councillor Art Jeninga was one of the first out of the gate in early June to announce he is running for mayor. He is looking to streamline council business and produce some efficiencies within the process. He also wants to see a greater freedom for staff to get it job done rather than micromanage the system. His youth and his determination will be key factors.
However, the race will be tough. Long-time councillor Dalton McDonald is running, most likely to keep the Finley legacy going. Romsemarie Robins, a long-time Alnwick Township politician and resident, is also going for mayor. She was extremely successful prior to amalgamation. She tried to unseat Finley in the last election, but lost. With the doors of power open a little wider this time around, she may be able to get in.
It will be interesting to see if residents go with the old-timers or the young buck. One thing for certain, this is a very rural township without any major urban area. Farmers and rural residents are very quiet about their politics. Most of this will be won in the kitchens, barns and coffee shops throughout the municipality, not by signs, literature or flashy advertisements.