In an elegant and gracious speech, Ward 4 Councillor Ron Chatten bid farewell to civic service and this community at the last council meeting of the 2003-2006 term on Monday night.
"I spent 35 years in the educational system and now 15 in
council. So that's 50 years when people could call you about problems with their children or on council, problems with their dogs ... so I have no hesitation in saying it's going to be just nice to walk away. I'll think about and I'll miss it, but I won't shed tears,"said Chatten. "Every experience we have changes us in some way. ...and I have enjoyed the journey."
Chatten announced that he and his wife Elaine plan to move to a retirement community in the Lake Simcoe area next week. "We're really looking forward to it. It will be a change in lifestyle, but we're leaving a wonderful community that I feel we've been part of and we will be coming back to on a fairly regular basis," he said. In speaking about his fellow councillors, Chatten said, "What you have to remember is, that you got people here trying to make sensible decisions who are part-time, and I think that's the way it should remain. "We make good decisions and we are members of this community and we live in houses just like everybody else. We're not here for money, obviously and we're not, I think, here for the power of it. I think the vast majority of people I have served with are here because they case about this town we live in it and they want to make it better for the people who are here."
Chatten, in particular, paid tribute to the town staff.
"Staff are so committed in this town," he said. "They work extremely hard, and they work with councillors and they respond to the public." Mayor Rick Bonnette referred to Chatten as a consummate professional and a real advocate for Ward 4 constituents, but who also cared for all four corners of Halton Hills. Wardmate for the past nine years, Bob Inglis, called Chatten a good friend and great councillor for the ward, who was always passionate about the issues. In a message to his colleagues, Chatten said, "Just remember the general public doesn't take every thing quite as seriously as we do... People love this town ... people want to be safe, protected and you've done that."
Also saying goodbye at Monday's meeting, was Ward 3 Councillor Mike Davis, a one-term councillor who lost his seat to newcomer Dave Kentner.
In a statement read to his colleagues, Davis said, "It's been an interesting and enlightening three years. I've learned a lot about how power is used in this town. Some politicians measure success in being able to keep their seat in an election. I was always more interested in brining forward new ideas and speaking up for what I believe in, even if it wasn't popular. Thanks for the many - debates over alternatives ideas. "I have to repeat what I heard during the campaign. Keep Georgetown a small town. Keep out the Big Pipe and slow down development."
Retiring Ward 4 Councillor Ron Chatten bids farewell to council Monday while defeated Ward 3 councillor Mike Davis looks on.