Newcomer Chan looks forward to council work
January 15, 2020
By Hunter Cresswell
In a landslide byelection last month, Kimberly Chan won the byelection for the Ward 6 seat on the Chelsea council.
This reporter sat down with Chan last week, ahead of her first meeting as councillor, on January 14 to talk with her about her election, priorities, and plans on council.
“It was a big team effort … A lot of people helped get me elected,” she said about her win –
chief among those being Marc Alain, who is the neighbour she ran into while out for a walk and who convinced her to run for council.
Alain served as her agent to coordinate her campaign, as he did for Mayor Caryl Green during her election.
Chan, who does strategic policy for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, took 72.62 per cent of votes during the December byelection, while her opponents, federal government workers and Hollow Glen residents Laurette Bédard and Edmond Hetu, won 7.14 and 20.24 per cent of votes respectively. About 250 residents took part in the election, amounting to 26.9 per cent voter participation. Ward 6 covers the southeast of the municipality, including the Kingsmere and Hollow Glen neighbourhoods.
“Our seat on council has been empty for a while, so [issues] have built up,” she said.
Her Ward 6 councillor predecessor, Robin McNeill, left his seat in early 2019 due to medical issues.
This is her first time holding an elected position, but she already has a vision for Chelsea based on the needs and concerns she heard while campaigning door-to-door in Ward 6 leading up to the election.
“My understanding is that the Master Plan of Chelsea will be revised,” she said, adding that she hopes her vision will be incorporated into that document.
She added that her vision includes more balanced development, more consultation with both longtime and new Chelsea residents, and meetings in Ward 6 similar to the community meetings in Farm Point about development and resident concerns.
“There’s a lot that can be done at the local level to address things like climate change – sustainable development is one I know Chelsea has a plan for,” she said.
When asked for her thoughts on development throughout the municipality, she said that she understands some longtime residents feel changes are coming quickly.
“Development is always going to happen – we’re near Ottawa. Where they’ve developed off the highway is a natural place for that to occur,” she said, adding that she’s heard about the development rumour mill in Chelsea and would like to see more and more accurate information on upcoming development get out to residents, especially seniors.
“Change is always difficult. If you have people who have been in the community for decades, and then all of a sudden this big change comes really quickly, there are going to be issues,” Chan said.