Westport Ontario has a new mayor, long time councillor Dan Grunig. Grunig has been sworn-in as the interim mayor of the Village of Westport replacing Bill Thake.
The municipality will miss Thake, Grunig said, but it has to get on with business.
“It wasn’t the best of circumstances, but somebody has to do it,” Grunig said Monday night.
“He’s been doing it for a long time and I guess we all knew that at some point, that some time, somebody else would have to do it.”
Grunig has 15 years of experience on Westport’s council.
Councillor Jackalyn Brady said his senior experience was a major factor in Grunig being chosen for the interim mayor’s position.
“He assumed the mayor’s chair when Bill was very ill a number of years ago too,” Brady said.
Thake was mayor of Westport for 44 years when he died of a stroke on June 26.
Council held a moment of silence for him on Monday night.
“We all recognized the vacant chair and what it meant and how it’s going to be different for the next little while, until we get used to it,” Brady said.
“But, we went on and had the regular council meeting, because that’s what Bill would want.”
Council discussed ways to have a proper memorial for Thake, Brady said.
Nothing was decided Monday night, but councillors will return to the next meeting with some ideas of how to permanently commemorate Thake.
With his new mayoral position, Grunig will sit on United Counties council with the mayors and reeves from other municipalities within Leeds-Grenville.
He will begin those duties in August, because he’s missed some committee meetings held already this month.
“It’s also out of respect for Bill,” Grunig said of the August start date.
As for Westport’s priorities moving into the future, Grunig said the village is currently focusing on the summer season.
The summer is the busiest season for Westport, Grunig said.
“We’re monitoring the traffic on the Rideau Canal, because…our harbour is a big part of our summer here,” Grunig said.
Grunig will serve as interim mayor until the next municipal election in the fall of 2014.