On December 16, Alfred and Plantagenet Township Mayor Stéphane Sarrazin was officially acclaimed as the 2021 Warden of the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR).

Sarrazin was nominated by East Hawkesbury Township Mayor Robert Kirby and the nomination was seconded by Guy Desjardins, Mayor of the City of Clarence-Rockland.

Kirby described Sarrazin as a team player and a pleasure to work with.  Desjardins said he is confident that Sarrazin will be a good representative at the provincial level and for addressing the challenges posed by the pandemic.

The inaugural meeting lacked the ceremony, and festive social atmosphere that the annual event usually features.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was the first time since March of 2020 that the UCPR’s eight mayors had gathered for a council meeting at the administration building in L’Orignal.  All UCPR meetings have been held virtually for the past 10 months.  The tradition of the outgoing Warden presenting the new Warden with the chain of office and robe was dispensed with to minimize personal contact.  All mayors were seated far apart, and most were at separate desks.  No reception followed the meeting either.

Sarrazin thanked outgoing Warden, Russell Township Mayor Pierre Leroux for representing the UCPR so well over the past 12 months.

“The year 2020 has been a different and challenging year for the entire world. Even more difficult for Mr. Leroux, who lost his father at the beginning of his mandate. A person of resilience and commitment, he overcame significant personal challenges,” Sarrazin said.

Priorities for 2021 will remain essentially the same as they were for 2020, according to Sarrazin.  The major project will be the construction of the new Prescott and Russell Residence in Hawkesbury as well as economic development initiatives to help businesses and farmers. In addition, the issue of paramedics responding to calls outside of the UCPR boundaries remains a priority issue.

“I would also like to be present with our local organizations, maintain excellent relations with our federal Member of Parliament, Mr. Francis Drouin, and continue our progress with the provincial government by improving our communications, opening up a direct line to various ministries, and above all, continuing our efforts on the issue of the widening of Route 17/174, which is close to all of our hearts,” Sarrazin said.  He added it is a privilege and an honour to take on this role as the head of the regional council.