Interesting race in Montague

Steve Sharratt
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With more sequels than Rocky Balboa, Mayor Richard Collins and former mayor Pat McGowan have been political pugilists for the past two decades

Incumbent Mayor Richard Collins and former mayor Pat McGowan square off for the job once again Monday. Elections are scheduled Nov. 5 in towns and villages across the province.

MONTAGUE — Voters in eastern P.E.I.’s largest town have a choice – once again - between two familiar faces for mayor when they head to the ballot box here Monday.

With more sequels than Rocky Balboa, Mayor Richard Collins and former mayor Pat McGowan have been political pugilists for the past two decades. They’ve even battled elections down to a mere one-vote victory.

Both have called it quits in the past 20 years — vowing never to return. But something is calling them back for a 2012 showdown — and it can’t be the annual $6,000 pay cheque.

“I would like the opportunity to contribute once again,’’ said McGowan, who has spent the last four years on the sidelines of civic politics.

Meanwhile, Collins likes his job and remains a relentless door to door canvasser.

“The town of Montague is a success story and a work in progress,’’ he said. “We are continuing to grow and develop in an orderly fashion.”

In the 2009 election, McGowan did not re-offer after a battle with her own council and calls for her resignation.

Some residents wanted a new face to emerge, but when one did — newcomer Robert Jay — he was handed a loss along with a third candidate, former town councillor Bernie Crawford.

Collins became the “Comeback Kid” when he reclaimed the job by 40 plus votes. It was Collin’s 13th election campaign and his seventh victory in 35 years of civic politics.

“So many people were writing me off and I just couldn’t take it,’’ he told The Guardian following that election. “I was hopeful people would give me another chance.”

This time out, McGowan says her health issues are behind her and she’s anxious to be part of the town growth.

“I’d like to see the (Main Street) Artisan project continue and I have a great interest in the waterfront and feel confident in the incorporated board that oversees it,” she said.

A retired teacher, McGowan said she would seek out more business for the town and welcomes the competition in the election.

“We should be grateful to all who put their names on the ballot and I appreciate my husband, Dusty, who is my biggest supporter.”

Collins says he’s anxious to lower residential tax once again, support the Artisans on Main project, and continue with accountable and transparent council meetings.

“We are truly a service and shopping centre with 14,000 vehicles crossing the bridge daily,’’ he said noting that a five year plan for more waterfront development is in the works for 2013.

Both candidates have support camps of 40 per cent among the 1,200 eligible voters and it will be up to the undecided 20 per cent to determine the outcome.

Elections are also scheduled Monday in towns and villages across the province, with the exception of Charlottetown, Summerside, Cornwall, Stratford and the Resort Municpalitity of Cavendish.

Twitter.com/GuardianSteve

Organizations: Resort Municpalitity of Cavendish

Geographic location: Montague, Eastern P.E.I., Charlottetown Summerside

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Recent comments

  • David Hennigar
    November 03, 2012 - 15:52

    Interesting indeed. I haven't lived in Montague since 1977 when I was 11 years old but I still consider it home. It's nice to see the changes that have taken place over the years but I think it's time to get a younger mayor in place. The town of Montague needs to be promoted as an ideal location for business and industry and a younger mayor in my opinion would be more aggresive in promoting the town.

  • Tina Mac Aulay
    November 03, 2012 - 15:02

    I wish the rules were different...You must live in the town limits in order to vote or be a candidate in the municipal elections.I understand this,although Iv'e owned a business for almost 25 years in the town and I'm not eligible to vote.I feel that one of the most important aspects of any small town are the business's that hang their signs there..The decisions made by council directly affects not only the citizens of the town but also the many business owners..maybe sometime in the future the rules will be different...Good Luck to all the candidates in Mondays election.

  • caringgal
    November 03, 2012 - 12:56

    RE.Voter.......you are obviously uninformed or you don't know either one.If you're so smart,why didn't you run.

  • Pat McGowan
    November 02, 2012 - 17:56

    I woild like to clarify two things...first of all I didn't re-offer in 2009 because I was too ill,after spending 6 months in hospital from an infection I picked up there.Second,the reasons for running again was because no-one else would,and I felt it was imp. for Montague to have a race.I waited until the last hour to give someone else to offer.I am proud of my accomplishments,incl the waterfront and will fight for our Town and its progress.

  • voter
    November 02, 2012 - 17:47

    one of these two is a real TROUBLEMAKER !!! NOT HAPPY UNLESS THERE IS A CATFIGHT TO GET GOING

  • Interesting Indeed
    November 02, 2012 - 13:49

    A choice between the devil you know, and the devil you know.

  • Mell
    November 02, 2012 - 13:22

    Not much of a choice- same old, same old- does Montague want this?? Wish there was "fresh" blood running to make a better Montague! I know it is a tough job, but too bad there wasn't others interested in holding this office to make Montague more of everything.

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    November 02, 2012 - 12:31

    This is just a side show to distract you from the mess that the provincial and federal governments have put us in. It reminds me of two old horses sauntering up to the (taxation dollar) trough to get a drink. They get to the trough only to find it almost dry because province and the feds have us so taxed that there is little left for the municipalities. Good luck to whomever wins.