Ushered in by Pipe Major Taylor Miller of the Thorold Pipe Band, Town Crier Tony Vandermaas and a Colour Guard by the #128 Thorold Flying Dragons Royal Canadian Air Cadets Squadron, the new mayor and eight councillors were blessed by Bishop John O’Mara and serenaded by the Young at Heart Seniors Choir of Thorold, before being administered the oath of office by city clerk Donna Delvecchio.
Emcee Tim Geddes remarked that “Local politics is our best chance to make a difference in your community. Don’t be afraid” to call them at 1 a.m., he urged the crowd. “They’re here to help you.”
Fred Neale, who’s served as city councillor since 1985, officially recognized the service of retiring Mayor Ted Luciani, Regional councillor Henry D’Angela, and city councillors Sergio Paone, Shawn Wilson, Michael Charron, and Tim Whalen, the latter who’s now a regional councillor.
Neale commended D’Angela—who was absent from the ceremony—for assisting Thorold in acquiring funding for the Port Robinson ferry and for “being involved in many initiatives at the Region” that impacted Thorold in a positive way.
“I’ve been on council a long time with Ted Luciani,” stated Neale, “and thank him for his leadership over the past 18 years.”
During his term as mayor, Luciani realized “tremendous growth” in the city, led the charge for transforming the Thorold Seniors Centre, and supported Heritage Thorold in procuring the Prince of Wales award for Heritage, said Neale. In addition, Luciani “served on the Region’s public works committee, and was an advocate of Thorold.”
After thanking Thoroldites for their support over the past 18 years and wishing the new council luck, Luciani told them, “It’s not going to be an easy term,” before handing the keys to the city to new Mayor Terry Ugulini.
Neale said that Paone “played a major part in stopping” the closure of Thorold Secondary School years ago, as well as applying his knowledge as a science professor at Brock University to deter a biosolids plant from “setting up in Thorold.”
Paone thanked “the people of Thorold, who gave me the opportunity to serve for eight years, and staff.”
“I wish the new council all the best, and I really do think we have a very good council,” he added. “I look forward to volunteering on some committees with you.”
Neale recalled how he “watched Shawn Wilson grow up, because he hung around my son,” and said, “Our community is better because he served. This last term has been hard because of your illness.”
Wilson thanked supporters during his past 12 years as a councillor.
“The last few have been a real challenge, but with the support of my wife, Victoria, and council, I have managed to finish the term,” he said.
Charron, who was not present, will always be remembered for spearheading the annual Terry Fox Run at Thorold Secondary School, and for “the leadership he brought to council,” Neale stated. “We are going to miss Mike. His love of Thorold comes through in all he has done.”
Recalling Whalen’s past involvement with groups like the downtown BIA, the Santa Claus Parade, the Runway of Recognition, “Council and the community have been blessed” by his years as a councillor, said Neale. “But we won’t miss you too much because at least once a month you’ll be coming to Thorold council to keep us up to date on regional issues.”
“I look forward to working with all of you on the regional level,” said Whalen.
Geddes acknowledged the former Thorold mayors in the audience, including Robin Brock, Mal Woodhouse, Don McMillan, and Tim Kenny. Paul Longo attended on behalf of his father, the late Mayor William Longo.