Timeline for a municipality:
“It was a day for double celebration in Westmeath on June 2, 1984, with opening ceremonies both at the new municipal complex and the rebuilt community centre. The municipal offices, built as an addition to the Westmeath Township garage just south of Westmeath on County Road 12, consolidate the municipality’s administration in one location. Until the building was ready for use in late 1983, meetings were held in Beachburg, the office operated out of rented quarters near Cobden, and books for roads department were kept in LaPasse.
“The new building contains a new council meeting room, a spacious open office, a private office for the clerk-treasurer, lunch rooms for office and roads staff, and an office for the road superintendent, and shower facilities for road staff. It was built at a cost of $109,350. The general contractor was Cecil Krieger of Pembroke. The building committee chairman was deputy reeve Barry Derouin.
“An open house was held throughout the afternoon with refreshments provided by the Laurentian View Women’s Institute Branch, who has donated Canadian and provincial flags to the municipality and the Westmeath Women’s Institute has contributed to the ornamental plantings around the building. Assisting the reeve and council at the ribbon cutting ceremony were MP Len Hopkins and MPPs Paul Yakabuski and Sean Conway. Mr. Hopkins presented pictures of the Queen and Prince Philip to be hung in the building.”
Seventeen years later, this building and garages on the Westmeath Road became the home of the Public Works Department of the new Township of Whitewater Region, following municipal amalgamation. The dozens of citizens who had served Westmeath Township in various capacities in its 171 years, had one thing in common. They were all willing to be a part of the building of Westmeath Township. Some were exceptional in their service.
Those who served ten years or more as Reeve were John Buchanan, Thomas Carswell, Daniel Ferguson, Thomas Fraser, James R. Davidson and John D. McLean, the latter setting the unprecedented record of being reeve for 27 years. Furthermore, he was only opposed twice in the municipal elections during that period. Before becoming Reeve he served as a Councillor for 18 years. He was warden of Renfrew County in the year 1935. Other reeves have been J.C. Wright, Campbell Faught, John Bromley, Harry Bromley , Carl Fletcher and Gordon White. Historic Westmeath Township, amalgamated in 2001 with adjacent municipalities, Ross, Village of Cobden and Beachburg Village, to become the Township of Whitewater Region, had seen many changes since its beginnings in the early half of the 19th Century.
“To the East of Muskrat Lake stretches the largest and perhaps the finest of Renfrew’s townships – Westmeath. The derivation of this township’s name, organized in 1830, is from one of the central counties of Ireland. The west boundary line of Westmeath Township was surveyed in 1825 by Deputy-Surveyor Owen Gwinn and the boundary line between Ross and Westmeath Township was surveyed in 1831 by Deputy Surveyor John McNaughton. In 1833 he surveyed the remainder of the Township of Westmeath. In the map of 1836, Westmeath included in the present area of Stafford and Pembroke Townships. A large portion of Westmeath Township forms a peninsula around which sweeps the Ottawa River.” 1849 the first Municipal and Common School Act of Upper Canada was passed and Westmeath was united with the township of Pembroke and Stafford and continued to be so for one year. From the Beachburg Women Institute Tweedsmuir Book.
The two following pictures are from Evelyn Moore Price’s seminal work on Westmeath Township.