There will be some new faces around the table at Innisfil council in the next term.
During Wednesday’s meeting — the first since the nomination period began — three councillors announced they will not be seeking re-election in October.
Coun. Bill Van Berkel broke the ice, saying after more than four decades of serving the community, it was time to retire.
“I’ve been 40 years or more, volunteering and doing things for the Town of Innisfil. I feel that it’s time for somebody else to take my place,” he said. “It’s been a wonderful experience … I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. But there comes a time in life where you have to bow out and say, ‘It’s enough,’ and that time has come for me.”
Van Berkel, who represents Ward 2, lauded his current colleagues as one of the best councils he’s ever worked with and showered staff with similar praise.
Coun. Donna Orsatti thanked the residents of Ward 3 for trusting her to represent them on council as she announced her name will not be on the ballot this year.
“We always make decisions with the whole of the future at heart,” she said, calling her eight years on council an “honour and a privilege.”
While encouraging those who want to put their name forward for any position on council to do so — stressing the need for them to first do their research — Orsatti reflected on how council worked during her time.
“The role of a councillor is not a singular position, but it is a member of a team that includes council and staff who support each other and accomplish more as a result,” Orsatti said. “I believe that we as a council have respected each other’s views and worked well together.”
Ward 6 Coun. Carolyn Payne got emotional as she told her colleagues she, too, would not be running for re-election in October.
“I just want to say I love you guys,” she said. “The staff are amazing, and we couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
Nominations for the positions up for grabs in the municipal election remain open until Aug. 22, and several residents in Innisfil have already filed their papers, with hopes of landing a spot on council.
Of the current council members, just Mayor Lynn Dollin and Coun. Rob Nicol have filed their nominations for the 2022 election so far. Dollin will be running for mayor again while Nicol has declared his intention to run for deputy mayor.
Dollin noted she’s seeing a trend across the province of incumbent councillors deciding not to run again in the next election.
“I think it’s indicative of the last two years,” she said. “It’s been tough; it’s a tough job, but it’s been tough this term. We did fantastic and we looked after residents well, but certainly, it took its toll across the province.”