Welten wants to accentuate Petrolia’s positive, make a contribution


Don Welten is hoping the second time is a charm.
The former businessman and building official is running for a councillor’s chair in Petrolia. It’s the 75 year-old’s  second bid for election.
Do you have any political and community experience?
Welten, a former building official in Lambton Shores, has been on Petrolia’s Committee of Adjustment. He also ran unsuccessfully in the 2014 election for a seat on council. He’s also active at his church, New Life Assembly.
Why are you running for council?
“I think Petrolia has a lot to offer and I think there has been a lot of good things done in Petrolia, so I said ‘I want to contribute something to our town. I will do that.’”
Welten added some of the good that has been done in the past four years has been overshadowed by the recent turmoil at town hall. “Sometimes as human beings, all of us, we forget about the good stuff that might happen. And when the negative happens, people dwell on that over the goods.”
Welten says he was not concerned about political accountability during the investigation into the former CAO’s purchase of two buildings eventually used by the town. “Someone made a mistake, deal with it…it’s in the courts, let the courts do their thing.”
What is the biggest issue in the election in Petrolia?
“Trust… From the people I talk to that would be the main thing. I think we have to work hard on that. Again, I’m not saying people are bad, but that’s something we have to work on.”
Welten says building that trust comes by being honest and up front with the taxpayers. “I think government has to be open but there is things also, subject to confidentiality that you can’t talk about. Some people don’t understand that I think.”
Welten adds he has no problem releasing things like budget information but “I’m talking about personnel. There are things in personnel files that are confidential. There are things about people that a government is not going to tell you.”
What issues would you like to see addressed if you’re elected?
“The big issues for me …I’m big on hospital. I’d like to see that become bigger whether that’s addition or operating rooms or whatever, I’m not sure. Seniors is a big thing for me – seniors’ housing – we don’t have enough of that. And one of the big things for me is youth…I think we need to have maybe more things or support the things we do have for youth.” Welten favours the municipality working with churches and community groups to meet the needs of youth.
Do you think Petrolia Council should revisit the decision to close the compost depot?
Welten, while not aware of the specifics of the issue, said he would be willing to look at whether it would be feasible to reopen the town’s own depot.
If you are elected, would you vote to have the Fleming report on the actions of the former CAO released?
Welten says the courts are dealing with the issue and that’s all he wanted to say about the Fleming Report.
Do you favour moving town hall out of Victoria Hall as suggested to council by a consultant?
Welten would like to look at what the benefit would be and whether it would be feasible before making a decision.