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Erwin Wiens chosen deputy lord mayor

NOTL's next lord mayor and deputy lord mayor, Gary Zalepa and Erwin Wiens. Erwin Wiens says the thought of being deputy mayor is “really overwhelming.
NOTL's next lord mayor and deputy lord mayor, Gary Zalepa and Erwin Wiens.

Erwin Wiens says the thought of being deputy mayor is “really overwhelming.”

Wiens said all through his first term on council he would not seek a second term, but was convinced by supporters to run again. And apparently he has a lot of supporters who have given him the largest number of votes of the eight people chosen to be municipal councillors. Wiens didn’t even knock on doors to get those votes

“I got a terrific response everywhere I went,” he said of candidates’ meetings, “and at the end of the day I never made promises I couldn’t keep. Residents want stability. They want to know the town is moving forward in a collective manner, and yesterday (Monday) the votes showed that, in my opinion.”

“I didn’t knock on a single for a simple reason,” he continued. “My entire campaign team was me and Dorothy. And I also thought it was more important to do my job as a councillor right up to election day and let my record stand for what it is.” Wiens and his wife Dorothy are both open and available, he says, if anyone wants to speak to either of them. “Also they tell you if you go door to door you can only talk for two or three minutes, but that’s not me. I’d knock on my first door and be there for an hour and a half. “

Wiens says half of the votes he received were votes for Dorothy. “Even today she’s quilting this morning and then going to Tai Chi. She’s involved with everything, everywhere. The reality is if you vote for me you get both of us.” Wiens says they talk all the time about town issues, and “we’re on the same page. I know what she’s thinking and she knows what I’m thinking. We both want the same thing for the town. We do things together, working together collaboratively.”

And that is something he is good at. “When you go to the region or province, it’s not all about me, it’s collaborative. I’m just the conduit for information. And if people are upset, they can be upset with me.”

It doesn’t seem like too many people are upset though — two out of three votes cast were for Wiens. Those votes making him deputy lord mayor changes the nature of his job over the next four years, he says. “I feel 100 per cent that this is a leadership role. The job of the deputy is to step in when the mayor can’t do something. I’m willing to take whatever direction the mayor gives me. I’ve already spoken to Gary Zalepa and told him I will be there to help him lead. Under his leadership I’ll do what he asks me to do. I’m going to have to step up my game.”

To Wiens, that means “looking at the job more at the macro level than micro level. I can’t speak for Gary, but we want to work with the region, the province and the other municipalities to make NOTL the best it can be, to work collaboratively to make the region the best is can be.”

He also wants to move ahead quickly on the tourism strategy, and on legislation that governs irrigation. The region has been working on it, he says, “and I want to strike while the iron is hot.” But his main task, he adds, will be supporting the lord mayor, “and that’s what I’m going to do as we move forward.”