‘Give that spark to the com­mu­nity’

New Port Saun­ders coun­cil­lor hopes to en­cour­age more young peo­ple to get in­volved in mu­nic­i­pal pol­i­tics

Northern Pen - - FRONT PAGE - BY KYLE GREENHAM

PORT SAUN­DERS, NL – With the high­est num­ber of votes, 24-year-old Carly House was shocked to see her­self win the deputy mayor spot on Port Saun­ders town coun­cil.

House’s bid for of­fice came from her de­sire to bring a new per­spec­tive to coun­cil and to en­cour­age other New­found­lan­ders of her gen­er­a­tion.

“We need the younger gen­er­a­tion to get in­volved in pol­i­tics around here,” House said. “Maybe if some­one sees that I could do it, they’d be will­ing to put their names for­ward and give that spark to the com­mu­nity.”

House was born in Port Saun­ders. Upon grad­u­at­ing this May, she started her ca­reer as a nurse at the Ru­fus Guin­chard Health Cen­tre. With a de­clin­ing pop­u­la­tion fac­ing Port Saun­ders, as in many ar­eas of the province, House wants to change the per­cep­tion among many young peo­ple that there is lit­tle fu­ture for ru­ral New­found­land and Labrador.

“I want to change that per­spec­tive and keep the younger gen­er­a­tion here,” she said.

With this thought in mind, House sees her new role on coun­cil as cru­cial to put the needs of her gen­er­a­tion to the ta­ble.

“The youngest per­son on coun­cil last year was 46, I be­lieve,” she said. “So just hav­ing some­one there be­ing younger with a fresh set of eyes could help us see what each gen­er­a­tion needs and change a few things for the com­mu­nity.”

One of her main goals is to en­cour­age de­vel­op­ment and in­cen­tives to keep young peo­ple in Port Saun­ders, and in­flu­ence oth­ers to re­turn home.

“There are lots of peo­ple who have moved away and would love to come home,” House said. “It’s just that when they get here, their needs aren’t met.”

De­spite her lack of po­lit­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence, House’s bid for of­fice was met with lots of pos­i­tive feed­back. Still, she did not ex­pect to win the most votes with 126 and earn her­self the po­si­tion of deputy mayor.

While the first coun­cil meet­ing has yet to take place, House plans to first and fore­most get into the groove of coun­cil and gain a sense of what is most im­por­tant on the town’s agenda.

While Port Saun­ders has fa­cil­i­ties like a hospi­tal, school, phar­macy and gro­cery store, House says the town has still seen a lot of pop­u­la­tion de­cline, par­tic­u­larly in the past two years. She hopes above all to show that young peo­ple have to take more re­spon­si­bil­ity in en­sur­ing the sur­vival of New­found­land and Labrador’s ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

“The older gen­er­a­tion is go­ing to soon be in a place where they’re go­ing to have to move on from these roles,” House said. “Younger peo­ple need to get in­volved and start step­ping in.

“If we don’t start now, when are we go­ing to start?”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Carly House of Port Saun­ders de­cided to run for town coun­cil in hopes of bring­ing a new per­spec­tive. The 24-yearold hopes her win will en­cour­age other young New­found­land and Labrado­ri­ans to take more re­spon­si­bil­ity for the fu­ture of their com­mu­ni­ties.

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