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Coun. Jim Sheedy steps down from Laurentian Valley council after 40-years plus of public service

By Célina Ip

LAURENTIAN VALLEY - After 42 years of dedicated municipal service, councillor Jim Sheedy has stepped down from his seat with the Township of Laurentian Valley.

After officially resigning on Sept. 30, due to health issues, Sheedy was honoured by council at the Oct. 18 council meeting.

The veteran of municipal politics has been involved with municipal politics for four decades having served as councillor for the townships of Stafford, Stafford-Pembroke and Laurentian Valley along with serving as reeve of the former Stafford Township for six years.

Sheedy was first elected onto the Stafford Township Council in 1974 and has been re-elected by the public every year thereafter.

“To be elected every time or be very close to winning as a councillor, it says a lot about a person,” said Mayor Steve Bennett who’s served with Sheedy for 19 years. “Jimmy just had a way with people and he's always had their best interests at heart.”

Across his years of service, Sheedy has constantly lobbied for the needs of taxpayers while holding taxes to reasonable rates without reducing services. Across his years of service, he’s successfully attained some of the lowest tax rates in the Renfrew County.

At the meeting, Sheedy’s fellow councillors shared stories and anecdotes and spoke directly to their long-time colleague.

“I know that the ratepayers all over the municipalities you've served over your years can be happy and proud of what you've done for them over the years and you certainly brought their concerns to the table and you were certainly a champion,” said Councillor Allan Wren.

Along with taxes, Sheedy has remained dedicated to the development and maintenance of roads.

“I think one of your best things going out was you finally got Roy Street completely done,” Wren laughed.

Along with serving on council, Sheedy has also represented the townships at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario(AMO) and the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA).

He’s also remained dedicated to community service as he’s served as a volunteer for numerous groups throughout the years. He’s been an executive member of the Friends of the Disabled, the political chairman for the Renfrew County Real Estate Board, an executive member of the Pembroke Junior Lumber Kings along with being an active volunteer with other minor sports.

Along with the roomful of Township of Laurentian Valley staff and council members, 11 of Sheedy’s family and friends sat in the audience to show their support and offer their congratulations.

Sheedy’s son, Kevin, fondly shared how his father’s role in municipal politics became a family affair over the years.

“Thinking back to some of the times of the 'one telephone-one TV day' when the hockey game or something would be on and the phone would ring all night for dad – somebody's dog was barking, somebody wanted a road closed, somebody wanted their pool filled up,” said Kevin. “So we learned to watch the hockey game, watch the ball game or whatever it was while we listened to dad talk on the phone.”

To honour Sheedy and solidify his 42 years of service, council bestowed a number of gifts upon him that included a plaque, a scrapbook and a ‘Jim Sheedy Way’ sign to be mounted at the entrance of Stafford Park – a treasured place for Sheedy and his family.

“We thought of various options that we could do to keep Jim's name within the municipality for all the years to come and we thought it would be only fitting that since he's spent so much time with his family at Stafford Park that we get his name onto that site,” said Bennett. “He raised his kids at a home just a couple streets down and his daughter is still involved with the park and his family still uses the park, so it's only fitting that Jim's name should be labelled there. Every time he goes to watch his grandkids play ball or whatever, he'll see that sign.”

When the ‘Jim Sheedy Way’ sign was unveiled by Bennett, Sheedy cried tears of joy as he thanked everyone.

“It’s been a pleasure working with all of you. You are all great people and you've spent a lot of time with me and I appreciate it,” said Sheedy. “Thank you all so much, for everything.” 

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