Brock Township politicians are remembering Durham Regional Chair Roger Anderson, who died of cancer over the weekend at the age of 65.
He served more than 20 years in the position and worked alongside a litany of local councillors.
“We all like to believe that someone that you admire and respect will somehow find a way to beat a life threatening illness; so it was with great sadness to learn of his passing. During his life, Rogers was a person with the drive and the courage to meet all challenges. ‘No’ was never an option for him, yet we will forever recall his wit and charm. What an honour to have known and work with him. Roger committed 20 years as regional chair to serve the residents of Durham Region and will be missed,” Mayor John Grant wrote in an email to the Voice over the weekend.
“Brock Township will lower flags this week in his honour and we are arranging for a book of condolence for the public to sign at the Cannington administration building.”
Monday’s (March 26) planning committee meeting opened with a moment of silence to mark his death.
“Anderson was a champion for the Region of Durham and didn’t get the recognition from North Durham that he deserved from us,” said Regional Councillor Ted Smith after it concluded.
The municipality released a formal statement following the meeting.
“Mr. Anderson was a tireless advocate for the Region of Durham representing our collective interests Provincially, Federally, and Internationally. Within the Region, Mr. Anderson was a firm believer that all of its municipalities, both large and small, were equal partners in the federation and was well aware and appreciated the role that the Township of Brock has provided within the Region to benefit all residents,” it reads.
Those that served alongside Anderson over the years have also been quick to recognize his legacy.
“Roger Anderson was always a friend of the residents of Brock Township and Durham Region. He attended a huge amount of community events across the entire region,” said former mayor Larry O’Connor.
“What a sad loss for all of the residents in Durham Region. Roger has always put residents first. He tirelessly worked for all of us at all government levels,” added longtime local politician Debbie Bath Hadden.
She went on to share a pair of “cherished memories” of her time working with Anderson.
“I was contacted by some residents who were extremely concerned in regards to the intersection at Durham (regional roads) 13 and 23. I gave Roger a shout and asked him if he would be interested in coming up to Sunderland and having a coffee with a few of our residents. He graciously accepted our invitation. Not only did he attend but he also brought the commissioner of works with him. They joined us for over two hours discussing the situation. At the end he turned to the commissioner and asked him to find the money within his budget to install a flashing amber light as soon as possible. Which the region did install as soon as possible,” she said.
“Then when I became regional councillor, Roger and I had the same discussion about taking the intersection to the next level. He told me he would support it 100 percent. Now we are going to see a reconstruction of Durham 13 with traffic signals and turning lanes. This would never have happened without the push of the regional chair.”
Bath Hadden said that Anderson was clearly moved by the residents’ concerns and followed through on his promise to take action.
“All over having a cup of coffee with the regional chair,” she said.
“Thank you, Roger. We will miss you.”