A Sarnia politician has been elected warden of Lambton County for the first since 1997.
Bev MacDougall was chosen to lead the federation for the next two years by her peers in a secret ballot Dec. 10.
“I’m thrilled with the outcome, obviously. No one goes into a position like this not to be successful,” she told The Journal.
MacDougall said all 11 municipalities in Lambton are facing the same challenge of growing their tax base, so bolstering economic and community development is a top priority.
The county’s 156th warden said she’s especially keen to see it support the development of knowledge-based and creative industries, such as food production and high-tech.
“It doesn’t matter how big your municipality is or how small it is, economic growth will build the tax base for everyone,” said MacDougall, who began her political career in 2003.
The county budget in March will be a major challenge, given the fact some federation partners lost key provincial funding this year.
She said the upper-tier government would work to maintain services but had to do so within its means.
Councillor John Kowalyshyn was the last and only other Sarnia politician ever elected warden.
Oil Springs mayor Ian Veen replaces MacDougall as the new deputy warden.
That means officials from the largest and smallest municipalities now hold the two leadership positions in Lambton, which was founded in 1849.