Enniskillen’s mayor to lead Lambton for two years

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The new warden of Lambton County is calling on his peers to “put aside politics of individual municipalities and work for the good of Lambton County.”

Enniskillen Township Mayor Kevin Marriott was elected warden of Lambton County Wednesday morning over the incumbent, Lambton Shores Mayor Bill Weber and Sarnia City/County Councillor Brian White.

The warden is the representative of the county and is elected by politicians who serve on county council.

Marriott becomes the latest in a long line of Enniskillen leaders to wear the warden’s chain. Most recently Jim Burns, and Marriott’s friend, the late Larry O’Neill, were Enniskillen residents who led the county.

In his address to councillors this morning before the vote, Marriott called for unity in the county as it faces the economic fallout of the pandemic.

Marriott says 2020 has been a year to remember, but he worries what is ahead. Marriott says the province and the federal government have expanded the debt of the nation and that could affect Lambton County and its municipalities.

“I fear upper and lower tiers of Lambton will feel the cutbacks, probably worse than in the 1990s,” he says recalling how the provincial government downloaded the costs of things such as ambulance services to Lambton. He called it “top down austerity.”

Marriott says the cuts could be a “one-two punch” as the county needs to renew long term care, create new affordable housing units and to save to buy the building which Shared Services is housed in Sarnia.

But he says Lambton is in a unique situation to profit from some of the changes from the COVID-19 pandemic including a migration of urban residents to the area.

“People are wanting to escape the high cost of living in Lambton County; we join many other regions of Ontario as an alternative to the GTA.”

Marriott will be supported by Pt. Edward Bev Hand, who was elected as the deputy warden at the same meeting.