Hawkesbury Councillor Robert Lefebvre wants to be the town’s next Mayor.
Lefevbre, who was elected to council in 2018, says that after a 50-year career in municipal government, “It’s time to give back to the community.”
As a councillor, Lefebvre has served as the Hawkesbury Police Services Board and as a member of the Hydro Hawkesbury board.
Lefebvre’s municipal career began with the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) just after he finished high school in 1972. In 1983, he became Clerk-Treasurer of the Township of West Hawkesbury and served as Clerk-Treasurer of Champlain Township from 1998 until retirement in 2009. Lefebvre has also served as a private consultant for the Ontario Clean Water Agency, an engineering firm under contract to East Hawkesbury, and as the Recycling Coordinator for Hawkesbury, East Hawkesbury, and Champlain. As Recycling Coordinator, Lefebvre has organized the twice-a-year household hazardous waste collection days.
Outside of his municipal activities, Lefebvre is one of the principal volunteers and organizers at the Hawkesbury Central Food Bank and has volunteered in palliative care at Hawkesbury and District General Hospital for 10 years.
Lefebvre wants to make a difference and establish good communication and cooperation between the town and citizens, and among councillors and staff.
“It’s a two-way street, you have to talk, you have to listen,” he said.
Although he is aware there have been problems within council and among municipal staff during the past four years, Lefebvre would rather focus on moving past those challenges and look ahead.
“I want to bring positive, progressive change,” he said.
Lefebvre wants the town to adhere to its five-year asset management plan, which recommends how municipal infrastructure, vehicles, and buildings should be maintained, repaired, and if necessary, replaced. He wants Hawkesbury to also focus on what is realistically achievable for the town and for expenditures to show real results.
“I want money invested in actual things,” Lefebvre said.
Lefebvre is supportive of plans to improve Confederation Park and better integrate it with the rest of the town. However, he does not support all suggestions made in a previous study which called for an “urban beach” area not actually intended for swimming. He supports adding a pedestrian bridge from Chenail Island to the mainland to make access to the park easier for pedestrians and cyclists. Lefebvre also wants the former Christ-Roi school property to be part of a place where people can gather. He cautioned that development on the site could be a challenge, because of its proximity to the sewage treatment plant.
Lefebvre wants more feedback to council from the COMZAC-BIA, which represents downtown businesses in Hawkesbury. He says the future of the downtown area will include activities and events, and said the upcoming multicultural festival is a good start.
Hawkesbury has a shortage of available land for new development and Lefebvre wants to address that challenge.
“We’re boxed in,” he said.
Lefebvre said Hawkesbury needs a strong commercial and industrial tax base to support municipal services and maintain infrastructure. One dollar in residential tax revenue is worth three dollars in industrial tax revenue, he remarked.
The Hawkesbury councillor acknowledges there is a need for more affordable housing in Hawkesbury, but says more support from other levels of government is necessary in order to obtain that objective.
As of June 16, Robert Lefebvre was the only registered candidate for mayor in Hawkesbury. Former mayor Jeanne Charlebois has registered as a candidate for councillor and has endorsed Lefebvre. Councillors Raymond Campbell, André Chamaillard, and Yves Paquette have also registered to seek re-election. The deadline for candidates to register or withdraw nominations for mayor or council is 2 p.m. on Friday, August 19.