Smith calling it a career
Nineteen years enough for longtime Parrsboro mayor, councillor
She banged her gavel for the last time on Oct. 25.
As of Nov. 1, Lois Smith will have finished her term as the last mayor of Parrsboro, and the only female to ever hold that post.
Parrsboro will dissolve as a town and become a part of the Municipality of Cumberland County on Tuesday, after a process that got its official start when the town applied to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board for dissolution on Oct. 6, 2015.
Smith said she has no regrets about the decision.
“Let’s face it, all small communities need each other,” she said.
“We’ve always worked together anyway, and I don’t see any real difference. We’re keeping a service centre here, and activities will still carry on.”
She was first elected to Parrsboro town council in October of 1997, having retired after a 30-year teaching career earlier that year.
She was elected three more times as a councillor before longtime mayor Doug Robinson passed away in 2009. Smith gave up her seat on council and was elected mayor in a special byelection, and was re-elected four years later.
Smith said she cannot believe it’s been 19 years since she first sat around the council table, and that time has gone by very fast for her.
“I have to say it’s been really enjoyable,” she said.
“There are times in everyone’s career that are not good times – you’re upset about something, or not everyone agrees with you – but we have great people here in Parrsboro. The councillors have all been great, and all different, which made us unique. I’ve enjoyed it, no question.”
Whether it was labouring over budgets or working on the numerous committees of council, Smith said she loved it all. She even enjoyed the election campaigns, with the anticipation of who would get in and who would not.
She admitted she considered running for the Parrsboro seat on county council two weeks ago, a seat won by former town councillor Norman Rafuse, but decided that 19 years was enough.
“I think people have seen my name enough over the years, and now it’s time for somebody else to come forward,” she said.
“It is a job, and with one councillor representing the town, that person is going to be busy.”
As for her future plans, Smith said she would like to continue being involved with the Cumberland Energy Authority, as well as Parrsboro’s youth town council, an organization she helped establish during her first term as a councillor.
She said she would miss mostly the town staff, most of whom had been her students at Parrsboro Regional High School, and continued to treat her like “Mrs. Smith” during her time as mayor.
The mayor does not have the power to solve everyone’s problems, and being reminded of that is something the outgoing mayor said she would not miss about the job.
“Everyone has good days and bad, but what frustrated me the most was not being able to do everything that individual citizens wanted,” she said.
“We could only do what we financially could do. For everything from streetlights to pavement, working as a group within our budget we did what we could.”
“Everyone has good days and bad, but what frustrated me the most was not being able to do everything that individual citizens wanted. We could only do what we financially could do. For everything from streetlights to pavement, working as a group within our budget we did what we could.” Lois Smith
With the dissolution of Parrsboro on Nov. 1 also comes to an end the long political career of Mayor Lois Smith, who was first elected to town council in 1997. She was re-elected councillor in 2000, 2004 and 2008, then became mayor in 2009 and was re-elected to that post in 2012.