Lefebvre announced on his Facebook page that he will seek the position of mayor in the October municipal election. He filed his nomination papers Monday, May 2.
During a later phone interview Lefebvre said that for the past year he has been considering making a bid for the mayor’s chair rather than run for reelection as a councillor for a second term. He described himself as a communicator and indicated that as one of his best assets along with his past experience in municipal affairs working for Champlain Township.
« I’ve been living on the same street and in the same house since I was eight,” said Lefebvre, 67. “Hawkesbury is my town. I want to see it move forward. We just need to communicate more. »
Lefebvre agreed that economic growth and improving Hawkesbury’s existing infrastructure are two critical issues for the next mayor and council. He noted that future economic growth will depend having suitable commercial and industrial areas available for new investment.
« We have to look at out industrial park expansion, » he said, adding that the recent additions of the Ecolomondo recycling plant and the Artist in Residence distillery project have claimed the last remaining pieces of industrial park property.
He also indcated that municipal council needs a wider vision of the future for the community that deals with issues like better management of household garbage to help extend the life of the municipal landfill
« We don’t even have bag limits like other municipalities, » he said, adding that stricter attention to recycling will also be necessary. « We need to have a (comprehensive) recycling strategy to be able to do our share and reduce the town’s ‘carbon footprint’. »
Lefebvre noted that enhancement and expnasion of municipal greenspace, whether as neighbourhood parks or woodland and riverside walking trails, has become critical. He observed that during the past three years of the pandemic many residents spent more time at local parks and nearby nature trails for physical recreation and mental relaxation when all indoor and many outdoor recreation facilities were closed.
Lefebvre indicated that Hawkesbury faces twin challenges as both a « bedroom community » for residents who may commute to either Montréal or Ottawa for corporate or government jobs and also as one of the largest urban centres in Eastern Ontario outside of Ottawa-Orléans. The municipality has facilities of regional importance like Hawkesbury General Hospital but it needs to attract more commercial and industrial development to both expand its property tax base and also attract young families to the area.
« Industry creates good jobs, with good salaries, and benefits, » he said. « We have to think about the future of Hawkesbury. »