Rookie city councillor sees ‘team effort’ key to next term

The following article appeared in the October 28 edition of the Guelph Tribune:

Rookie council member Andy Van Hellemond expects his first year on council to be a learning process, but he believes it will be a success if councillors support one another.
“It’s a team effort. We’ve all got to pull together,” said the new Ward 2 councillor, alluding to his former career as an NHL referee.

“I know for the first year, for sure, there will be much to learn,” he said.

Van Hellemond, well known in the city for his NHL career, is arguably council’s highest profile new member. He could not be reached on election night, but spoke to the Tribune about the experience afterwards.

“I didn’t know what to expect since it is my first involvement in politics,” he said. “Getting the most votes in Ward 2 was very gratifying.”

He ran away with the Ward 2 race with more than 29 per cent of the vote, topping both incumbents.

“I did a lot of walking door to door and received terrific help from many supporters,” he said of the reasons for his success. Friends and volunteers who helped him campaign made a difference, too, he said.

“And I owe a lot to their efforts and support,” he said.

The most enjoyable part of the campaigning experience was talking and meeting with the diverse Ward 2 residents and hearing their concerns.

“Meeting and talking with the citizens of Ward 2 was very educational and, many times, fun,” he said.

In the coming years, he is looking forward to bringing the concerns of those residents to city hall, and, in turn, “informing the citizens of Ward 2 of the developments and ongoing projects at city hall on a more regular basis,” he said.