Back to coun­cil

The Pilot - - Front Page - BY KAREN WELLS kwells@pi­lotnl.ca

Betty Clarke is back with gavel in hand as the Mayor of Lewis­porte.

It’s been 20 years since Betty Clarke was at the helm of Lewis­porte Town Coun­cil.

Clarke’s re­turn to coun­cil af­ter be­ing voted in as mayor by res­i­dents of Lewis­porte Sept. 26 is a chance for her to con­tinue to move for­ward with the best in­ter­ests of the com­mu­nity at heart.

She first served as a coun­cil­lor in 1989. In 1990, she be­came deputy mayor and from 1991 to 1997 was mayor of Lewis­porte.

Mu­nic­i­pal pol­i­tics has never been far from her mind over the years, and Clarke said the tim­ing was right to add her name to the list of can­di­dates for the po­si­tion of mayor.

Clarke feels she can ded­i­cate the time nec­es­sary to com­mit to be­ing mayor.

“I did miss it,” she said of her time on coun­cil. “I loved what I was do­ing when I was here. I loved ev­ery minute of it.

“Over the course of eight years I at­tended ev­ery­thing. I know what I’m get­ting into by com­ing back and I’m look­ing for­ward to it.”

Clarke said lead­ing up to the elec­tion, a num­ber of peo­ple en­cour­aged her to of­fer her name on the bal­lot for mayor. With their en­cour­age­ment, and the on­go­ing sup­port of her hus­band Ross, she made the com­mit­ment to run in the elec­tion.

Clarke said while cam­paign­ing, res­i­dents spoke of the need for more open­ness and trans­parency on their mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil, some­thing she wants to fur­ther de­velop. The mayor en­cour­ages peo­ple to in­ter­act with coun­cil by bring­ing their con­cerns for­ward and at­tend­ing pub­lic coun­cil meet­ings.

Look­ing back

Clarke was part of the mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil that made a new town hall and li­brary pos­si­ble, even though it wasn’t a pop­u­lar de­ci­sion with every­one at the time.

The ma­rina de­vel­op­ment was also in its in­fancy stages. Coun­cil was part of the ini­tia­tive that re­sulted in $600,000 in fed­eral and pro­vin­cial fund­ing al­lot­ted to put in the first break­wa­ter. The town and yacht club of the day con­trib­uted an­other com­bined $300,000.

Then the At­lantic Canada Op­por­tu­ni­ties Agency came along with an­other $2.2 mil­lion in fund­ing. The rest is his­tory, as the Lewis­porte Ma­rina has grown to be­come a model de­vel­op­ment for other mari­nas in the prov­ince, and Notre Dame Bay was dubbed the “Caribbean of the North.”

Clarke is pleased with what has been ac­com­plished with the ma­rina de­vel­op­ment, mak­ing it an as­set for the com­mu­nity.

When Clarke left of­fice in 1997 the pop­u­la­tion of Lewis­porte was 4,600 peo­ple. That num­ber has de­clined to where it stands to­day at around 3,460 res­i­dents. She notes there may be more houses in Lewis­porte than there were 20 years ago, but there aren’t as many peo­ple liv­ing in them due to a grow­ing se­nior pop­u­la­tion and fam­i­lies that are smaller in num­bers.

She knows there’s work to be done in Lewis­porte, but still be­lieves in the po­ten­tial for growth.

Look­ing for­ward, she iden­ti­fies there are in­fra­struc­ture needs, es­pe­cially when it comes to roads.

“There’s a lot of work to be done,” she said.

Clarke plans to look into land de­vel­op­ment and how the town can work to have more land made avail­able for res­i­den­tial needs.

Recre­ation is also an area the new mayor would like to dis­cuss.

Those dis­cus­sions will in­clude six coun­ter­parts, five of whom are all new to coun­cil cham­bers.

“We have an ex­cel­lent coun­cil,” she said. “It’s great to have peo­ple with a new vi­sion and in­ter­ests in a va­ri­ety of ar­eas. Every­one brings some­thing dif­fer­ent to the ta­ble.”

Clarke looks for­ward to work­ing with the new coun­cil and town staff.

The mayor ex­tends her ap­pre­ci­a­tion to vot­ers for their con­fi­dence in her to lead Lewis­porte Town Coun­cil for the next four years.

KAREN WELLS/THE PI­LOT

Betty Clarke has been voted back into the mayor’s chair for Lewis­porte Town Coun­cil.

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